How can I print a circular structure in a JSON-like format?

Issue

I have a big object I want to convert to JSON and send. However it has circular structure. I want to toss whatever circular references exist and send whatever can be stringified. How do I do that?

Thanks.

var obj = {
  a: "foo",
  b: obj
}

I want to stringify obj into:

{"a":"foo"}

Solution

Use JSON.stringify with a custom replacer. For example:

// Demo: Circular reference
var circ = {};
circ.circ = circ;

// Note: cache should not be re-used by repeated calls to JSON.stringify.
var cache = [];
JSON.stringify(circ, (key, value) => {
  if (typeof value === 'object' && value !== null) {
    // Duplicate reference found, discard key
    if (cache.includes(value)) return;

    // Store value in our collection
    cache.push(value);
  }
  return value;
});
cache = null; // Enable garbage collection

The replacer in this example is not 100% correct (depending on your definition of “duplicate”). In the following case, a value is discarded:

var a = {b:1}
var o = {};
o.one = a;
o.two = a;
// one and two point to the same object, but two is discarded:
JSON.stringify(o, ...);

But the concept stands: Use a custom replacer, and keep track of the parsed object values.

As a utility function written in es6:

// safely handles circular references
JSON.safeStringify = (obj, indent = 2) => {
  let cache = [];
  const retVal = JSON.stringify(
    obj,
    (key, value) =>
      typeof value === "object" && value !== null
        ? cache.includes(value)
          ? undefined // Duplicate reference found, discard key
          : cache.push(value) && value // Store value in our collection
        : value,
    indent
  );
  cache = null;
  return retVal;
};

// Example:
console.log('options', JSON.safeStringify(options))

Answered By – Rob W

Answer Checked By – Candace Johnson (AngularFixing Volunteer)

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