json_decode returns NULL after webservice call


Question

There is a strange behaviour with json_encode and json_decode and I can't find a solution:

My php application calls a php web service. The webservice returns json that looks like this:

var_dump($foo):
string(62) "{"action":"set","user":"123123123123","status":"OK"}"

now I like to decode the json in my application:

$data = json_decode($foo, true)

but it returns NULL:

var_dump($data):
NULL

I use php5. The Content-Type of the response from the webservice: "text/html; charset=utf-8" (also tried to use "application/json; charset=utf-8")

What could be the reason?

1
57
9/21/2012 11:38:48 PM

Accepted Answer

EDIT: Just did some quick inspection of the string provided by the OP. The small "character" in front of the curly brace is a UTF-8 B(yte) O(rder) M(ark) 0xEF 0xBB 0xBF. I don't know why this byte sequence is displayed as  here.

Essentially the system you aquire the data from sends it encoded in UTF-8 with a BOM preceding the data. You should remove the first three bytes from the string before you throw it into json_decode() (a substr($string, 3) will do).

string(62) "{"action":"set","user":"123123123123","status":"OK"}"
            ^
            |
            This is the UTF-8 BOM

As Kuroki Kaze discovered, this character surely is the reason why json_decode fails. The string in its given form is not correctly a JSON formated structure (see RFC 4627)

64
5/23/2017 12:34:24 PM

Well, i had a similar issue and the problems was the PHP magic quotes in the server... here is my solution:

if(get_magic_quotes_gpc()){
  $param = stripslashes($_POST['param']);
}else{
  $param = $_POST['param'];
}
$param = json_decode($param,true);

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