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Create a JSON editor

In this tutorial, we will create a JSON editor Extension with React and the react-json-view package. Our application will display a JSON file's content and allow users to edit, add or delete properties directly from the editor. When a user finishes editing the JSON, the file will automatically update with the changes.


This tutorial assumes that you have a basic knowledge and understanding of web development and React.

Set up your Repl

  1. Fork the Replit React Extension Template.
  2. Install the react-json-view package with npm install --force react-json-view. The package uses React 17 as a peer dependency but works fine with React 18 as well.

Configure the manifest file

Configure the title and description in public/extension.json (the Extension manifest file).

"name": "JSON Editor",
"description": "A viewer/editor for JSON files, providing code folding and structured editing",
"tags": ["editor"]

Add the fileHandlers property to extension.json and provide a handler for JSON files. This tells Replit that your extension handles a particular file pattern using a page provided by your extension at the handler path. In this case, the handler is /, meaning that Replit shows the page at the root as the handler for all .json files

  "fileHandlers": [
"glob": "*.json",
"handler": "/"

Build the JSON editor

Import the following dependencies in src/App.jsx.

import * as React from "react";
import ReactJson from "react-json-view";
import "./App.css";
import {
} from "@replit/extensions-react";

Remove all the existing code from the App function and a state variable path, which will point to the JSON file your Extension will render.

function App() {
const [path, setPath] = React.useState(null);

return <div>My app</div>;

Initialize the Handshake

Initialize the handshake and derive the status and error properties from the useReplit hook within the App function.

The status property is an enumerated value indicating whether the handshake connection with Replit is loading, ready, or has resulted in an error.

function App() {

const { status, error } = useReplit();


Get the File Path

Use the useReplitEffect hook and set the path state to the extensionPort's file path. This will set the path state once the handshake between Replit and your Extension has been established.

useReplitEffect(async ({ extensionPort }) => {
const filePath = await extensionPort.filePath;

}, []);

Create the File Watcher

You can easily create a file watcher with the useWatchTextFile hook. Call the hook, pass in the file path, and derive content and writeChange from it.

const { content, writeChange } = useWatchTextFile({
filePath: path,

Reflecting file contents

Create a parsedContent React Memo that returns the content file value as parsed JSON. If there is an error parsing it, return null instead.

The React useMemo hook caches a result based on an array of dependencies between re-renders to improve performance. Caching reduces the amount of computing required in a process, ultimately improving performance.

const parsedContent = React.useMemo(() => {
try {
return JSON.parse(content);
} catch (e) {
return null;
}, [content]);

Handle file changes

Create a function which handles changes from the react-json-view editor component. The updated_src property passed into this function is a JSON object.

Stringify the JSON object and then write it to the JSON file using the writeChange function.

Finally, update the setContent state to reflect the contents of the file.

const handleChange = async ({ updated_src: newContent }) => {
const stringified = JSON.stringify(newContent, null, 2);

from: 0,
to: content.length,
insert: stringified,

Build the UI

It's time to start building the UI.

First, handle loading and error states.

function App() {

if (status === "error") {
return <main>
<div className="notice error">{error.toString()}</div>
else if (status === "loading") {
return <main>
<div className="notice">Loading...</div>
else if (status === "ready") {
return <main>Ready</main>

Install the Extension by opening up the Command Bar (cmd/ctrl + k), navigating to Extensions, and selecting From this Repl. The extension should load and display "Ready" almost instantly.

If you open the webview, your extension should load for a few seconds and fail. Extensions should be developed and used within the correct pane rather than the webview.

Loading state

Error state

If both path and content are valid strings, render the editor. If not, tell the user to select a file.

else if (status === "ready") {
return <main>
{path && content ?
style={{ width: '100vw', height: "100vh", padding: "1em" }}
/> :
<div className="notice">
Please select a file

That's it. Now install and load your Extension, and it should work.

Select a file

Editor without CSS

Style your Extension

Right now, the Extension has barely any styles applied to it. To make it look more polished, paste the following into App.css:

body {
margin: 0;
padding: 0;
height: 100%;
width: 100%;
display: flex;
font-family: sans-serif;
background: black;
color: white;

main {
flex-grow: 1;
display: flex;
width: 100%;

.notice {
flex-grow: 1;
align-self: center;
justify-self: center;
text-align: center;
color: white;
font-size: 24px;

Your Extension is now complete! Install it, press the kebab menu on a JSON file in the file tree and then select "Open with JSON Editor" to start editing your JSON files with ease.

See full solution.

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