Working with Dictionaries – JSON in Python

In Python, Dictionary is a data structure in which data is indexed by the key value. Therefore in order to access it’s data members the key value is required. When converting data to JSON it is ideal to use dictionary as JSON format support the key-index and value pairing format. In this post, it is mentioned how to achieve dictionary to JSON and JSON to dictionary conversion.


A structure of a simple dictionary is as follow:

sample_dictionary = {'key-1' : 'value-1', 'key-2' : 'value-2' }

There is a function named dict( ) which can be used to create a dictionary.

JSON library

In Python, JSON library is readily available. Main two methods we are using are dumps and loads.


Converts a data structure in this case a dictionary to a JSON string.


This method can be used to convert a JSON string to a dictionary data structure so that it can be accessed within the code using key-values of the indexes.

Study the following example, a dictionary is defined with few levels, termed as nested dictionary. Data of a Tennis match is arranged.

import json

match = {
	'match-name' : 'USA F35 Futures',
	'match-general-info' : 
		{'match-date' : '2018.12.04', 'match-time' : '22:30', 'match-place' : 'Tallahassee'},
	'player-A' : 
		{'name' : 'Random Name A', 'age' : 20, 
			'rankings' : {'local' : 4, 'ITF' : 17, 'results' : 
				{'winner': 35, 'runner-up': 20, 'break-down' :
					{'semi' : 10, 'quarter' : 4, 'R16' : 1}

json_string = json.dumps(match,0)

print ('Data Set in JSON format \n' + json_string)

match_dict = json.loads(json_string)

no_of_semis = match_dict['player-A']['rankings']['results']['break-down']['semi']

print ('Number of semi-final matches the player played : ' + str(no_of_semis) + ' matches')

Note that how the values of the data structure are accessed using nested indexes. This method can be used to manage multi-level data hierarchy but it might be bit difficult to manage as the size of the data structure increases. Another disadvantage is to access the values, it is required to supply the key of the index.


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