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DSON is a dart library which converts Dart Objects into their JSON representation.

This library was initially a fork from Dartson. Now it contains some differences:

  • Dartson uses custom transformers to convert objects to JSON. This produce faster and smaller code after dart2Js. Instead DSON uses [serializable]() and [built_mirrors]() libraries. This should produce code as fast and small as Dartson transformer.

  • DSON has the ability to serialize cyclical objects by mean of depth parameter, which allows users to specify how deep in the object graph they want to serialize.

  • DSON has the ability to exclude attributes for serialziation in two ways.

  • Using @ignore over every attribute. This make excluding attributes too global and hardcoded, so users can only specify one exclusion schema.

  • Using exclude map as parameter for toJson method. This is more flexible, since it allows to have many exclusion schemas for serialization.

  • DSON uses the annotation @serializable instead @entity which is used by Dartson.

Comparison with other libraries


DSON tutorials


1- Create a new dart project.

2- Add dependencies to pubspec.yaml

  dson: any # replace for latest version

3- Create/edit bin/main.dart or web/main.dart and add the code shown in any of the samples below.

4- Run either pub run build_runner build, or pub run build_runner watch, or pub run build_runner serve in the console

Convert objects to JSON strings

To convert objects to JSON strings you only need to use the toJson function, annotate the object with @serializable and pass the object to the toJson function as parameter:

library example.object_to_json; // this line is needed for the generator

import 'package:dson/dson.dart';

part 'object_to_json.g.dart'; // this line is needed for the generator

class Person extends _$PersonSerializable {
  int id;
  String firstName;
  var lastName; //This is a dynamic attribute could be String, int, double, num, date or another type
  double height;
  DateTime dateOfBirth;

  String otherName;

  String notVisible;

  // private members are never serialized
  String _private = "name";

  String get doGetter => _private;

void main() {

  Person object = new Person() = 1
    ..firstName = "Jhon"
    ..lastName = "Doe"
    ..height = 1.8
    ..dateOfBirth = new DateTime(1988, 4, 1, 6, 31)
    ..otherName = "Juan"
    ..notVisible = "hallo";

  String jsonString = toJson(object);
  // will print: '{"id":1,"firstName":"Jhon","lastName":"Doe","height":1.8,"dateOfBirth":"1988-04-01T06:31:00.000","renamed":"Juan","doGetter":"name"}'

Converting objects to Maps

To convert objects to Maps you only need to use the toMap function, annotate the object with @serializable and pass the object to toMap function as parameter:


Serializing Cyclical Objects

To serialize objects that contains Cyclical References it would be needed to use the annotation @cyclical. If this annotation is present and the depth variable is not set then the non-primitive objects are not going to be parsed and only the id (or hashmap if the object does not contains id) is going to be present. Let’s see next example:


as you can see employee has an address, and the address has an owner of type Employee. If the property id is not present in the object then it is going to take the hashcode value from the object as reference. And finally, the depth parameter passed to serialize function tells serializer how deep you want to go throw the reference. This help us not only to avoid cyclical reference, but to determine what referenced objects should be serialized.

The same applies for lists:


Without the annotation @cyclical the program is going to throw a stack overflow error caused by the serializing of cyclical objects.

Excluding attributes from being serialized

To exclude parameter from being serialized we have two options the first option is using @ignore over the attribute to ignore. However this approach is too global. What I want to say with this is that the attribute is going to be ignored always.

Another way to exclude attributes is adding the parameter exclude to serialize function. In this way we only exclude those attributes during that serialization.


Convert JSON strings to objects

To convert JSON strings to objects you only need to use the fromJson and fromJsonList functions and pass the json string to deserialize and the Type of the object as parameters:


Converting Maps and Lists<Map> to dart objects

Frameworks like Angular.dart come with several HTTP services which already transform the HTTP response to a map using JSON.encode. To use those encoded Maps or Lists use fromMap function.


Extend serializable Objects

To extends objects that are going to be serializable you will need to add the comment:

// ignore: mixin_inherits_from_not_object

This is to advice the analyzer to ignore the error caused by inheriting from an object that is not a mixin. For example:


Serialize/Deserialize immutable objects

To make an immutable class to be able to serialize/deserialize you only need to declare it with a constructor which only contains final parameters. For example:


Be sure the names of the fields and constructor parameters match. If they do not match, then the deserialized object will contain attributes with null value