How to parse JSON string in Typescript? [Answered]

Query explained:

Is there a way to parse strings as JSON in Typescript.
Example: In JS, we can use JSON.parse(). Is there a similar function in Typescript?

I have a JSON object string as follows:

{"name": "Bob", "error": false}

How to parse JSON string in Typescript? Answer #1:

Typescript is (a superset of) javascript, so you just use JSON.parse as you would in javascript:

let obj = JSON.parse(jsonString);

Only that in typescript you can have a type to the resulting object:

interface MyObj {
    myString: string;
    myNumber: number;
}

let obj: MyObj = JSON.parse('{ "myString": "string", "myNumber": 4 }');
console.log(obj.myString);
console.log(obj.myNumber);

Answer #2:

Type-safe JSON.parse

You can continue to use JSON.parse, as TS is a JS superset. There is still a problem left: JSON.parse returns any, which undermines type safety. Here are two options for stronger types:

1. User-defined type guards (playground)

Custom type guards are the simplest solution and often sufficient for external data validation:

// For example, you expect to parse a given value with `MyType` shape
type MyType = { name: string; description: string; }

// Validate this value with a custom type guard
function isMyType(o: any): o is MyType {
  return "name" in o && "description" in o
}

Extension

Create a generic wrapper around JSON.parse, which takes one type guard as input and returns the parsed, typed value or error result:

const safeJsonParse = <T>(guard: (o: any) => o is T) => 
  (text: string): ParseResult<T> => {
    const parsed = JSON.parse(text)
    return guard(parsed) ? { parsed, hasError: false } : { hasError: true }
  }

type ParseResult<T> =
  | { parsed: T; hasError: false; error?: undefined }
  | { parsed?: undefined; hasError: true; error?: unknown }

Usage example:

const json = '{ "name": "Foo", "description": "Bar" }';
const result = safeJsonParse(isMyType)(json) // result: ParseResult<MyType>
if (result.hasError) {
  console.log("error :/")  // further error handling here
} else {
  console.log(result.parsed.description) // result.parsed now has type `MyType`
}

safeJsonParse might be extended to fail fast or try/catch JSON.parse errors.

2. External libraries

Writing type guard functions manually becomes cumbersome if you need to validate many different values.

Answer #3:

If you want your JSON to have a validated Typescript type, you will need to do that validation work yourself. This is nothing new. In plain Javascript, you would need to do the same.

Validation

I like to express my validation logic as a set of “transforms”. I define a Descriptor as a map of transforms:

type Descriptor<T> = {
  [P in keyof T]: (v: any) => T[P];
};

Then I can make a function that will apply these transforms to arbitrary input:

function pick<T>(v: any, d: Descriptor<T>): T {
  const ret: any = {};
  for (let key in d) {
    try {
      const val = d[key](v[key]);
      if (typeof val !== "undefined") {
        ret[key] = val;
      }
    } catch (err) {
      const msg = err instanceof Error ? err.message : String(err);
      throw new Error(`could not pick ${key}: ${msg}`);
    }
  }
  return ret;
}

Now, not only am I validating my JSON input, but I am building up a Typescript type as I go. The above generic types ensure that the result infers the types from your “transforms”.

In case the transform throws an error (which is how you would implement validation), I like to wrap it with another error showing which key caused the error.

Usage

In your example, I would use this as follows:

const value = pick(JSON.parse('{"name": "Bob", "error": false}'), {
  name: String,
  error: Boolean,
});

Now value will be typed, since String and Boolean are both “transformers” in the sense they take input and return a typed output.

Furthermore, the value will actually be that type. In other words, if name were actually 123, it will be transformed to "123" so that you have a valid string. This is because we used String at runtime, a built-in function that accepts arbitrary input and returns a string.

You can see this working here. Try the following things to convince yourself:

  • Hover over the const value definition to see that the pop-over shows the correct type.
  • Try changing "Bob" to 123 and re-run the sample. In your console, you will see that the name has been properly converted to the string "123".

Answer #4:

There is a great library for it ts-json-object

In your case you would need to run the following code:

import {JSONObject, required} from 'ts-json-object'

class Response extends JSONObject {
    @required
    name: string;

    @required
    error: boolean;
}

let resp = new Response({"name": "Bob", "error": false});

Answer #5:

Use app.quicktype.io to safely parse JSON in TypeScript. More on this shortly. JSON.parse() returns type any and is sufficient in the “happy path” but can lead to errors related to type-safety downstream which defeats the purpose of TypeScript. For example:

interface User {
  name: string,
  balance: number
}

const json = '{"name": "Bob", "balance": "100"}' //note the string "100"
const user:User = JSON.parse(json)

const newBalance = user.balance + user.balance * 0.05 //should be 105 after interest
console.log(newBalance ) //but it ends up as 1005 which is clearly wrong

So let quicktype do the heavy lifting and generate the code. Copy and paste the string below in quicktype.

{
  "name": "Bob",
  "balance": 100
}

Make sure to choose TypeScript as the language and enable “Verify JSON.parse results at runtime”

Now we can defensively handle exception (if any) at the time of parsing and prevent errors from happening downstream.

import { Convert, User } from "./user";

const json =
  '{"firstName": "Kevin", "lastName": "Le", "accountBalance": "100"}';

try {
  const user = Convert.toUser(json);
  console.log(user);
} catch (e) {
  console.log("Handle error", e);
}

user.ts is the file generated by quicktype.

// To parse this data:
//
//   import { Convert, User } from "./file";
//
//   const user = Convert.toUser(json);
//
// These functions will throw an error if the JSON doesn't
// match the expected interface, even if the JSON is valid.

export interface User {
    name:    string;
    balance: number;
}

// Converts JSON strings to/from your types
// and asserts the results of JSON.parse at runtime
export class Convert {
    public static toUser(json: string): User {
        return cast(JSON.parse(json), r("User"));
    }

    public static userToJson(value: User): string {
        return JSON.stringify(uncast(value, r("User")), null, 2);
    }
}

function invalidValue(typ: any, val: any, key: any = ''): never {
    if (key) {
        throw Error(`Invalid value for key "${key}". Expected type ${JSON.stringify(typ)} but got ${JSON.stringify(val)}`);
    }
    throw Error(`Invalid value ${JSON.stringify(val)} for type ${JSON.stringify(typ)}`, );
}

function jsonToJSProps(typ: any): any {
    if (typ.jsonToJS === undefined) {
        const map: any = {};
        typ.props.forEach((p: any) => map[p.json] = { key: p.js, typ: p.typ });
        typ.jsonToJS = map;
    }
    return typ.jsonToJS;
}

function jsToJSONProps(typ: any): any {
    if (typ.jsToJSON === undefined) {
        const map: any = {};
        typ.props.forEach((p: any) => map[p.js] = { key: p.json, typ: p.typ });
        typ.jsToJSON = map;
    }
    return typ.jsToJSON;
}

function transform(val: any, typ: any, getProps: any, key: any = ''): any {
    function transformPrimitive(typ: string, val: any): any {
        if (typeof typ === typeof val) return val;
        return invalidValue(typ, val, key);
    }

    function transformUnion(typs: any[], val: any): any {
        // val must validate against one typ in typs
        const l = typs.length;
        for (let i = 0; i < l; i++) {
            const typ = typs[i];
            try {
                return transform(val, typ, getProps);
            } catch (_) {}
        }
        return invalidValue(typs, val);
    }

    function transformEnum(cases: string[], val: any): any {
        if (cases.indexOf(val) !== -1) return val;
        return invalidValue(cases, val);
    }

    function transformArray(typ: any, val: any): any {
        // val must be an array with no invalid elements
        if (!Array.isArray(val)) return invalidValue("array", val);
        return val.map(el => transform(el, typ, getProps));
    }

    function transformDate(val: any): any {
        if (val === null) {
            return null;
        }
        const d = new Date(val);
        if (isNaN(d.valueOf())) {
            return invalidValue("Date", val);
        }
        return d;
    }

    function transformObject(props: { [k: string]: any }, additional: any, val: any): any {
        if (val === null || typeof val !== "object" || Array.isArray(val)) {
            return invalidValue("object", val);
        }
        const result: any = {};
        Object.getOwnPropertyNames(props).forEach(key => {
            const prop = props[key];
            const v = Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(val, key) ? val[key] : undefined;
            result[prop.key] = transform(v, prop.typ, getProps, prop.key);
        });
        Object.getOwnPropertyNames(val).forEach(key => {
            if (!Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(props, key)) {
                result[key] = transform(val[key], additional, getProps, key);
            }
        });
        return result;
    }

    if (typ === "any") return val;
    if (typ === null) {
        if (val === null) return val;
        return invalidValue(typ, val);
    }
    if (typ === false) return invalidValue(typ, val);
    while (typeof typ === "object" && typ.ref !== undefined) {
        typ = typeMap[typ.ref];
    }
    if (Array.isArray(typ)) return transformEnum(typ, val);
    if (typeof typ === "object") {
        return typ.hasOwnProperty("unionMembers") ? transformUnion(typ.unionMembers, val)
            : typ.hasOwnProperty("arrayItems")    ? transformArray(typ.arrayItems, val)
            : typ.hasOwnProperty("props")         ? transformObject(getProps(typ), typ.additional, val)
            : invalidValue(typ, val);
    }
    // Numbers can be parsed by Date but shouldn't be.
    if (typ === Date && typeof val !== "number") return transformDate(val);
    return transformPrimitive(typ, val);
}

function cast<T>(val: any, typ: any): T {
    return transform(val, typ, jsonToJSProps);
}

function uncast<T>(val: T, typ: any): any {
    return transform(val, typ, jsToJSONProps);
}

function a(typ: any) {
    return { arrayItems: typ };
}

function u(...typs: any[]) {
    return { unionMembers: typs };
}

function o(props: any[], additional: any) {
    return { props, additional };
}

function m(additional: any) {
    return { props: [], additional };
}

function r(name: string) {
    return { ref: name };
}

const typeMap: any = {
    "User": o([
        { json: "name", js: "name", typ: "" },
        { json: "balance", js: "balance", typ: 0 },
    ], false),
};

In this post, we learned how to parse JSON in TypeScript.

Hope you learned something from this post.

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