Making JSON requests within Emacs

I am in the early stages of writing an Emacs major mode for browsing and contributing to sites on the Stack Exchange network, in much the same way as dired and list-packages works, with a few inspirations from magit and org-mode.

The problem is, of course, I have no idea how I would interface Emacs with the SE API (v2.1) in the first place. I've never done anything that involves a network connection within Elisp, although I'm comfortable with the language itself (and have taken more than a few looks at package.el).

I've never worked with JSON, although I'm in the middle of W3C's tutorial on it.

A simple 'hello world' would suffice, possibly along the lines of

(execute-json-query "/info")

The W3C tutorial doesn't seem to go over requests, either. I'll have to do my own research on that.
I really don't have any idea what I'm doing; I've only just started feverishly working on this yesterday afternoon.


  • The problem with other answers is that Stack Exchange API is GZIP'd and url.el shipped with Emacs does not automatically decompress it.

    Take a look at my request.el library which supports automatic decompression (to be honest, I just added the support). Here is an example to fetch the most active question in stackoverflow:

     :params '((order . "desc")
               (sort . "activity")
               (site . "stackoverflow"))
     :parser 'json-read
     :success (function*
               (lambda (&key data &allow-other-keys)
                 (let* ((item (elt (assoc-default 'items data) 0))
                        (title (assoc-default 'title item))
                        (tags (assoc-default 'tags item)))
                   (message "%s %S" title tags)))))

    request.el is well documented, comes with executable examples and is well tested.