Working today I ran into an interesting bug. I was using the Zencoder gem to work with their API (I’d protect in the prison showers good) and ran into this error

Psych::SyntaxError: couldn't parse YAML at line 1 column 37

What was odd is that this error came from a JSON parsing line of code inside the zencoder gem. I’m still not 100% sure why the ActiveSupport::JSON.decode call uses a YAML parser but I’m sure I’ll find out later.

So anyways, back to getting your crap running again. From what I gathered, the JSON being returned likely included a special character that Psych freaks out on.

Ruby has a couple YAML parsers, and typically uses Psych. The link above mentions that putting the special characters in double quotes fixes that error for him. In my case, I wasn’t controlling the JSON so that solution was out the window.

The fix for this is to use a different YAML interpreter like so in your config/boot.rb if you are using Rails, or anywhere at the beginning of your ruby project:

require 'yaml'
YAML::ENGINE.yamler = 'syck'
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