Matthew Graybosch
author by choice, techie by necessity

Henry Schmale's Brief Guide to jq, a JSON-parsing shell utility

Henry Schmale has a brief presentation on jq, a shell utility that does for JSON data what sed and grep do for plain text.1 He prepped it for presentation at the Central PA Linux Users’ Group meeting on November 10.2

I had heard of jq before but never really dug into it, but now that I see how versatile a tool it is, I'm looking at my old Google Takeout archive, which has years worth of Google+ posts in JSON format. If I can work out the structure, I could probably put together a shell script that goes through all those JSON files and dumps reasonably sane markdown.

It's not like this site is especially complex, after all. None of the Markdown sources have any YAML frontmatter to worry about, for example.

And if you're interested in more from Henry, here's his website, which isn't as bad as he thinks.


  1. Yes, I know JSON is a plain text data format, but try using sed and grep on a reasonably complex JSON file. Seriously, please do. I'll make popcorn. 

  2. I really ought to prep one myself, but instead of I've been writing When You Don't See Me and going all-in on NaNoWriMo. Maybe one on single-file version control with RCS?