On , I learnt ...

How to format JSON into a table with jq and column

You can create tabular data from JSON using jq to generate tab-separated output and column to format.

$ echo sample.json | jq -r '.[] | [.name, .age] | @tsv' | column -t -s $'\t'

Here’s a more involved example using Github’s gh tool to fetch a list of open pull requests:

$ gh pr list --json number,title,author \
    | jq -r '.[] | [ .author.login, "#" + (.number|tostring) + " " + .title] | @tsv' \
    | column -t -s$'\t'
codeinthehole   #450 Add convention on accessing environment variables
LomaxOnTheRun   #449 Move info from Github wiki
codeinthehole   #443 Format all files with `proseWrap=always`
datur           #428 Refactor GraphQL versioning and deprecation Conventions
Dotrar          #427 Add next-page template information
cloverlime      #425 Add advice for creating indexes on big tables
zero4994        #419 Add notes to pycharm guide

I spotted the column tip in this Stack Overflow answer.

Shell alias

The column command is a little awkward due to the way the tab character needs to be escaped. You can create a shell alias to aid future use:

alias tabcolumns='column -t -s$'\''\t'\'''

Here the escaping is even worse but at least you don’t have to type it in every time.

Update: just discovered this isn’t the first time I’ve learnt this…