C++ Specifics

Mapry produces a C++ runtime implementation with a simple interface for de/serializing object graphs from Jsoncpp values.


You need to specify the C++ specific settings in a schema to instruct Mapry how to generate the code. The following points needs to be defined:


indicates the namespace of the generated code.

For example, book::address.


defines the type of the paths in the generated code.

Mapry supports: std::filesystem::path and boost::filesystem::path.


defines the type of the optional properties in the generated code.

Mapry supports: boost::optional, std::optional and std::experimental::optional.


defines the library to use for date, datetime, time and time zone manipulation.

Mapry supports: ctime and date.h (i.e. Howard Hinnant’s date library)


defines the indention of the generated code. Defaults to two spaces and can be omitted.

For example, "    " (four spaces)

Generated Code

Mapry produces all the files in a single directory. The generated code lives in the namespace indicated by C++ setting namespace in the schema.

Mapry generates the following files (in order of abstraction):

  • types.h defines all the graph structures (embeddable structures, classes, object graph itself etc.).

  • parse.h and parse.cpp define the structures used for parsing and implement their handling (such as parsing errors).

  • jsoncpp.h and jsoncpp.cpp define and implement the de/serialization of the object graph from/to a Jsoncpp value.

The example of the generated code for the schema given in Introductory Example is available in the repository.


The following snippet shows you how to deserialize the object graph from a Jsoncpp value. We assume the schema as provided in Introductory Example.

Json::Value value;
// ... parse the value from a source, e.g., a file

book::address::parse::Errors errors(1024);
book::address::Pipeline pipeline;

const std::string reference_path(


if (not errors.empty()) {
    for (const auto& err : errors.get()) {
        std::cerr << err.ref << ": " << err.message << std::endl;
    return 1;

You can seamlessly access the properties and iterate over aggregated types:

std::cout << "Maintainers are:" << std::endl;
for (const book::address::Person& maintainer : pipeline.maintainers) {
        << maintainer.full_name
        << " (address: " << maintainer.address.text << ")"
        << std::endl;


You serialize the graph to a Jsoncpp value (assuming you predefined the variable pipeline) simply with:

const Json::Value value(


The generated code is not header-only. Since there is no standard C++ build system and supporting the whole variety of build systems would have been overly complex, we decided to simply let the user integrate the generated files into their build system manually. For example, Mapry will not generate any CMake files.

Here is an exerpt from a CMakeLists.txt (corresponding to the schema given in Introductory Example) that uses conan for managing dependencies:



Implementation Details


Mapry represents the types defined in the schema as closely as possible in C++. The following tables list how different types are represented in generated C++ code.

Primitive types

Mapry type

C++ type










std::filesystem::path or boost::filesystem::path

(depending on path_as setting)


struct tm or date::local_days

(depending on datetime_library setting)


struct tm or date::time_of_day<std::chrono::seconds>

(depending on datetime_library setting)


struct tm or date::local_seconds

(depending on datetime_library setting)

Time zone

std::string or const date::time_zone*

(depending on datetime_library setting)



Aggregated types (of a generic type T)

Mapry type

C++ type




std::map<std::string, T>

Composite Types

Mapry type

C++ type

Reference to an instance of class T


Embeddable structure T

struct T

Optional property of type T


std::optional<T> or


(depending on optional_as setting)

Graph-specific structures

Mapry type

C++ type

Registry of instances of class T

std::map<std::string, T>


Mapry depends on the underlying JSON library for the representation of numbers. How the library deals with numbers has implications on the ranges and precision of the numbers that you can represent and can lead to unexpected overflows.

While JSON standard does not distinguishes between integers and floats and treat all numbers equally, Jsoncpp indeed distinguishes between the integers (represented internally as 64-bit integers) and floats (represented internally as double-precision floats).

Based on the internal representation, C++ deserialization can represent integers in the range of 64-bit integers (-9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807) and floats in the rage of double-precision ( -1.7976931348623157e+308 to 1.7976931348623157e+308).

However, note that deserialization in other languages might impose stricter constraints. For example, Go does not distinguish between integers and floats when parsing JSON (see Numbers in Go), so the overall range that you can represent is smaller if you need Go and C++ de/serialization to inter-operate.

Time Libraries

Mapry generates the code that uses either the standard ctime library or Howard Hinnant’s date library (date.h) to manipulate the dates, datetimes, times of the day and time zones based on datetime_library in C++ settings section of the schema.

Since ctime does not support a time zone registry, the time zones are parsed as strings and are not further validated. For example, you can specify an incorrect time zone such as Neverland/Magic and the deserialization code will not complain.

On the other hand, since Howard Hinnant’s date library (date.h) supports a registry of IANA time zones, the time zones are in fact checked at deserialization and an error will be raised if the time zone is invalid.

We would recommend you to use Howard Hinnant’s date library (date.h) instead of the standard ctime though it comes with an extra effort of installing the dependenciy. In our opinion, the sophistication, the easy and the clarity Howard Hinnant’s library enforces on date/time manipulations pay off in long term.

The following table gives you a comparison of the generated codes:


ctime: schema and code

date.h: schema and code


ctime: schema and code

date.h: schema and code

Time of day

ctime: schema and code

date.h: schema and code

Time zone

ctime: schema and code

date.h: schema and code


Mapry uses standard std::chrono::nanoseconds to represent durations. According to the standard, this implies that beneath the hub a signed integral type of at least 64 bits is used to represent the count.

Since integral numbers of finite size are used for representation, the generated code can only deal with a finite range of durations. In contrast, Mapry durations are given as strings and thus can represent a much larger range of durations (basically bounded only on available memory space).

In fact, the problem is very practical and you have to account for it when you deal with long or fine-grained durations. For example, a duration specified as P300Y already leads to an overflow since 300 years can not be represented as nanoseconds with finite integral numbers of 64 bits. Analogously, PT0.0000000001 can not be represent either since the precision of the duration goes beyond nanoseconds.

Note also that other languages impose stricter constraints. For example, Python uses microseconds to represent durations (see Durations in Python) and hence you need to restrict your durations to microsecond granularity if both Python and C++ de/serializations are needed.