J-Logic: Logical Foundations for JSON Querying

We propose a logical framework, based on Datalog, to study the foundations of querying JSON data. The main feature of our approach, which we call J-Logic, is the emphasis on paths. Paths are sequences of keys and are used to access the tree structure of nested JSON objects. J-Logic also features "packing" as a means to generate a new key from a path or subpath. J-Logic with recursion is computationally complete, but many queries can be expressed without recursion, such as deep equality. We give a necessary condition for queries to be expressible without recursion. Most of our results focus on the deterministic nature of JSON objects as partial functions from keys to values. Predicates defined by J-Logic programs may not properly describe objects, however. Nevertheless we show that every object-to-object transformation in J-Logic can be defined using only objects in intermediate results. Moreover we show that it is decidable whether a positive, nonrecursive J-Logic program always returns an object when given objects as inputs. Regarding packing, we show that packing is unnecessary if the output does not require new keys. Finally, we show the decidability of query containment for positive, nonrecursive J-Logic programs.
Publication Reference
Jan Hidders, Jan Paredaens, Jan Van den Bussche: J-Logic: Logical Foundations for JSON Querying. PODS 2017: 137-149

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