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07 June 2018

Converting JSON to CSV in Javascript

Converting JSON to CSV in Javascript image

Checkout the website: JSON2CSV or the full example.

While searching for a csv2obj javascript library I couldn’t find a good solution, so I decided to write a very minimal csv2obj converter. Let’s start with creating the parser (csv2obj). Because of cross browser support i will try not to use a lot of es5/es6 specific syntax. The following function will do the job. There are some important caveats. The function will, in some cases, try to convert boolean, number and null values to their correct type. This only works if it matches the exact value. For example “null” will be parsed as a null value/object, but “ null” (with a leading space) will not.

    function csv2obj(csv, opt) {
        opt = opt || {};
        var delimeter = opt.delimeter || ',';
        var i, row, rownum, collumNum, lines = csv.split(/\s*\n\s*/);
        var headers = lines[0].split(delimeter);
        for(i = 0; i < headers.length; i++) {
            headers[i] = headers[i].replace(/(^[\s"]+|[\s"]+$)/g, '');
        }
        var ret = [];
        for (rownum = 1; rownum < lines.length; rownum++) {
            row = lines[rownum].split(delimeter);
            ret[rownum - 1] = {};
            for (collumNum = 0; collumNum < headers.length; collumNum++) {
                if (row[collumNum].length > 0 && (!isNaN(row[collumNum]) || row[collumNum] === 'true' 
                    || row[collumNum] === 'false' || row[collumNum] === 'null')) 
                    ret[rownum - 1][headers[collumNum]] = JSON.parse(row[collumNum]);
                else 
                    ret[rownum - 1][headers[collumNum]] = row[collumNum].replace(/(^\s*"*|"*\s*$)/g, '');
            }
        }
        return ret;
    }

The difficult part is writing the serialization function. Objects with grandchildren will be flattened and their names squashed together like this: “child.grandchild” -> “child/grandchild”. It will recursively find all of the children and push them to a queue. The function itself is not recursive! This is important in terms of performance. We will use JSON.stringify as a trick to automatically put double quotes around strings. Lastly we loop through all the rows and join the columns together.

    function obj2csv(obj, opt) {
        if (typeof obj !== 'object') return null;
        opt = opt || {};
        var scopechar = opt.scopechar || '/';
        var delimeter = opt.delimeter || ',';
        if (Array.isArray(obj) === false) obj = [obj];
        var curs, name, rownum, key, queue, values = [], rows = [], headers = {}, headersArr = [];
        for (rownum = 0; rownum < obj.length; rownum++) {
            queue = [obj[rownum], ''];
            rows[rownum] = {};
            while (queue.length > 0) {
                name = queue.pop();
                curs = queue.pop();
                if (curs !== null && typeof curs === 'object') {
                    for (key in curs) {
                        if (curs.hasOwnProperty(key)) {
                            queue.push(curs[key]);
                            queue.push(name + (name ? scopechar : '') + key);
                        }
                    }
                } else {
                    if (headers[name] === undefined) headers[name] = true;
                    rows[rownum][name] = curs;
                }
            }
            values[rownum] = [];
        }
        // create csv text
        for (key in headers) {
            if (headers.hasOwnProperty(key)) {
                headersArr.push(key);
                for (rownum = 0; rownum < obj.length; rownum++) {
                    values[rownum].push(rows[rownum][key] === undefined
                        ? ''
                        : JSON.stringify(rows[rownum][key]));
                }
            }
        }
        for (rownum = 0; rownum < obj.length; rownum++) {
            values[rownum] = values[rownum].join(delimeter);
        }
        return '"' + headersArr.join('"' + delimeter + '"') + '"\n' + values.join('\n');
    }

(Array.isArray is es5 syntax, be sure to polyfill when necessary)

I used the code in this example to build a json2csv/csv2json converter which can be found here.

Full Example:

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