brunerd tools summer 2022 updates

Hey there, it’s summer 2022 and I wanted to share some updates on my shell tools for Mac admins.

No breaking changes or anything huge, but some nice incremental improvements all the same. When the JSONPath spec is finalized I’ll give jpt a more considerable under the hood improvement. For now though, I’m pretty happy with tweaking their behaviors to act like you’d expect (print help and exit if no input detected), to get out of your way when you need to debug your scripts (xtrace is now disabled inside them) and to try to understand what you mean when you ask them a question (key path queries now accepted). Because the tools and technologies we make should serve us, not the other way around. I hope these tools can save you time, energy, sanity or all the above!

β€’ jpt the “JSON Power Tool” has been updated to v1.0.2 with all the nice additions mentioned. If you don’t know already jpt can parse, query, and modify JSON every which way. It can be used as both a standalone utility as well as a function to be embedded into your shell scripts, without any other dependencies.

β€’ ljt the “little JSON tool” is jpt‘s smaller sibling weighing in at only 2k. While it lacks the transformational powers of jpt it can easily pluck a value out of JSON up to 2GB big and output results up to 720MB. It has been updated to v1.0.7 because dang it, even a small script can have just as many bugs as the big ones. Sometimes more if you’re not careful!

Both jpt and ljt now accept ye olde NextStep “keypath” expressions to help win over masochists who might still use plutil to work with JSON! 😁 (I kid, I kid!)

β€’ jse, the “JSON string encoder” does this one thing and does it well. It can be used in conjunction with jpt when taking in arbitrary data that needs encoding only. It’s a svelte 1.4k (in minified form) and runs considerably faster that jpt, so it’s ideal for multiple invocations, such as when preparing input data for a JSON Patch document. v1.0.2 is available here

β€’ shui lets you interact with your users with AppleScript but in the comfort of familiar shell syntax! You don’t need to know a line of AppleScript, although it does have the option to output it if you want to learn. Save time, brain cells and hair with shui, while you keep on trucking in shell script. It has been updated to v20220704.

P.S. All these tools still work in the macOS Ventura beta πŸ˜…

ljt, a little JSON tool for your shell script

ljt, the Little JSON Tool, is a concise and focused tool for quickly getting values from JSON and nothing else. It can be used standalone or embedded in your shell scripts. It requires only macOS 10.11+ or a *nix distro with jsc installed. It has no other dependencies.

You might have also seen my other project jpt, the JSON Power Tool. It too can be used standalone or embedded in a script however its features and size (64k) might be overkill in some case and I get it! I thought the same thing too after I looked at work of Mathew Warren, Paul Galow, and Richard Purves. Sometimes you don’t need to process JSON Text Sequences, use advanced JSONPath querying, modify JSON, or encode the output in a myriad of ways. Maybe all you need is something to retrieve a JSON value in your shell script.

Where jpt was an exercise in maximalism, ljt is one of essential minimalism – or at least as minimal as this CliftonStrengths Maximizer can go! πŸ€“ The minified version is mere 1.2k and offers a bit more security and functionality than a one-liner.

ljt features:
β€’ Query using JSON Pointer or JSONPath (canonical only, no filters, unions, etc)
β€’ Javascript code injection prevention for both JSON and the query
β€’ Multiple input methods: file redirection, file path, here doc, here string and Unix pipe
β€’ Output of JSON strings as regular text and JSON for all others
β€’ Maximum input size of 2GB and max output of 720MB (Note: functions that take JSON data as an environment variable or an argument are limited to a maximum of 1MB of data)
β€’ Zero and non-zero exit statuses for success and failure, respectively

Swing by the ljt Github page and check it out. There are two versions of the tool one is fully commented for studying and hacking (ljt), the other is a “minified” version without any comments meant for embedding into your shell scripts (ljt.min). The Releases page has a macOS pkg package to install and run ljt as a standalone utility.

Thanks for reading and happy scripting!