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In my GeoExt client, I have the following line that retrieves JSON data from a web service into a FeatureStore:

var store = new{
        layer: route_layer,
        fields: [
            {name: "length"}
        proxy: new{
            protocol: new OpenLayers.Protocol.HTTP({
                url: "./php/pgrouting.php",
                format: new OpenLayers.Format.GeoJSON({
                    internalProjection: epsg_900913,
                    externalProjection: epsg_4326

When this code is executed, Firebug reports the error SyntaxError: JSON.parse: unexpected character, even though the JSON returned by the web service is valid (I've confirmed this against The response header has been configured accordingly with the line header('Content-type: application/json',true);.

Anyone who might have encountered this issue before, please assist. I've waded around, but no luck yet.

UPDATE: Sample JSON output is at It's valid JSON, but the error SyntaxError: JSON.parse: unexpected character persists. I've even updated my html page by adding the following line <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8"/> in an attempt to restrict character encoding.

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Could you share your geojson file? – drnextgis Sep 3 '12 at 16:30
Does your attribute data of the feature contain any unicode (non ascii) characters?; If i remember... in php you have to use: header(....); $response = json_encode($your_data); echo $response; ...which doesnt work if you have non ascii characters. – U2ros Sep 4 '12 at 8:52
That's a possibility. I use json_encode() in the php page, but I've realized I haven't specified character encoding in the html page. I'll restrict character encoding to UTF-8 and get back to you. – okello Sep 4 '12 at 12:43
Or simply test the response with a simple hand constructed json string that doesnt contain any non ascii symbols – U2ros Sep 4 '12 at 14:11
Thanks for the pointer, @U2ros. I'll try that out. – okello Sep 4 '12 at 14:28

JSON provided above looks like pretty print json. Does you get response from web server in such formatting form? JSON.parse works with valid string, but pretty print json - is not valid for JSON.parse.

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Thanks, but I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. The server returns the JSON as a string. When it's pasted in jsonlint, it's jsonlint that introduces the indentation. I also thought it would be easier to read when indented like that. But the server returns a continuous JSON string with no indentation whatsoever. – okello Sep 6 '12 at 11:03
Could you share JSON in its original format. – drnextgis Sep 6 '12 at 11:05

Try it in chrome, it will tell you what the character is when I run your data though something to make it a valid string and try to parse it in chrome I get

message: "Unexpected token ↵"

but you said the new lines aren't in the original so that message doesn't apply to you.

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Check if you don't have a BOM (Byte Order Mark) in PHP file, this can break JSON.parse while being invisible in browser console.

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