The micro-library of Node.js stream components for creating custom JSON processing pipelines with a minimal memory footprint. It can parse JSON files far exceeding available memory streaming individual primitives using a SAX-inspired API.





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stream-json NPM version

stream-json is a micro-library of node.js stream components with minimal dependencies for creating custom data processors oriented on processing huge JSON files while requiring a minimal memory footprint. It can parse JSON files far exceeding available memory. Even individual primitive data items (keys, strings, and numbers) can be streamed piece-wise. Streaming SAX-inspired event-based API is included as well.

Available components:

  • Streaming JSON Parser.
    • It produces a SAX-like token stream.
    • Optionally it can pack keys, strings, and numbers (controlled separately).
    • The main module provides helpers to create a parser.
  • Filters to edit a token stream:
    • Pick selects desired objects.
      • It can produces multiple top-level objects just like in JSON Streaming protocol.
      • Don't forget to use StreamValues when picking several subobjects!
    • Replace substitutes objects with a replacement.
    • Ignore removes objects.
    • Filter filters tokens maintaining stream's validity.
  • Streamers to produce a stream of JavaScript objects.
    • StreamValues can handle a stream of JSON objects.
      • Useful to stream objects selected by Pick, or generated by other means.
      • It supports JSON Streaming protocol, where individual values are separated semantically (like in "{}[]"), or with white spaces (like in "true 1 null").
    • StreamArray takes an array of objects and produces a stream of its components.
      • It streams array components individually taking care of assembling them automatically.
      • Created initially to deal with JSON files similar to Django-produced database dumps.
      • Only one top-level array per stream is valid!
    • StreamObject takes an object and produces a stream of its top-level properties.
      • Only one top-level object per stream is valid!
  • Essentials:
    • Assembler interprets a token stream creating JavaScript objects.
    • Disassembler produces a token stream from JavaScript objects.
    • Stringer converts a token stream back into a JSON text stream.
    • Emitter reads a token stream and emits each token as an event.
      • It can greatly simplify data processing.
  • Utilities:
    • emit() makes any stream component to emit tokens as events.
    • withParser() helps to create stream components with a parser.
    • Batch batches items into arrays to simplify their processing.
    • Verifier reads a stream and verifies that it is a valid JSON.
    • Utf8Stream sanitizes multibyte utf8 text input.
  • Special helpers:
      • jsonl/Parser parses a JSONL file producing objects similar to StreamValues.
        • Useful when we know that individual items can fit in memory.
        • Generally it is faster than the equivalent combination of Parser({jsonStreaming: true}) + StreamValues.
      • jsonl/Stringer produces a JSONL file from a stream of JavaScript objects.
        • Generally it is faster than the equivalent combination of Disassembler + Stringer.

All components are meant to be building blocks to create flexible custom data processing pipelines. They can be extended and/or combined with custom code. They can be used together with stream-chain to simplify data processing.

This toolkit is distributed under New BSD license.


const {chain}  = require('stream-chain');

const {parser} = require('stream-json');
const {pick}   = require('stream-json/filters/Pick');
const {ignore} = require('stream-json/filters/Ignore');
const {streamValues} = require('stream-json/streamers/StreamValues');

const fs   = require('fs');
const zlib = require('zlib');

const pipeline = chain([
  pick({filter: 'data'}),
  ignore({filter: /\b_meta\b/i}),
  data => {
    const value = data.value;
    // keep data only for the accounting department
    return value && value.department === 'accounting' ? data : null;

let counter = 0;
pipeline.on('data', () => ++counter);
pipeline.on('end', () =>
  console.log(`The accounting department has ${counter} employees.`));

See the full documentation in Wiki.

Companion projects:

  • stream-csv-as-json streams huge CSV files in a format compatible with stream-json: rows as arrays of string values. If a header row is used, it can stream rows as objects with named fields.


npm install --save stream-json
# or: yarn add stream-json


The whole library is organized as a set of small components, which can be combined to produce the most effective pipeline. All components are based on node.js streams, and events. They implement all required standard APIs. It is easy to add your own components to solve your unique tasks.

The code of all components is compact and simple. Please take a look at their source code to see how things are implemented, so you can produce your own components in no time.

Obviously, if a bug is found, or a way to simplify existing components, or new generic components are created, which can be reused in a variety of projects, don't hesitate to open a ticket, and/or create a pull request.

Release History

  • 1.7.3 added an assembler option to treat numbers as strings.
  • 1.7.2 added an error check for JSONL parsing. Thx Marc-Andre Boily!
  • 1.7.1 minor bugfix and improved error reporting.
  • 1.7.0 added utils/Utf8Stream to sanitize utf8 input, all parsers support it automatically. Thx john30 for the suggestion.
  • 1.6.1 the technical release, no need to upgrade.
  • 1.6.0 added jsonl/Parser and jsonl/Stringer.
  • 1.5.0 Disassembler and streamers now follow JSON.stringify() and JSON.parse() protocols respectively including replacer and reviver.
  • 1.4.1 bugfix: Stringer with makeArray should produce empty array if no input.
  • 1.4.0 added makeArray functionality to Stringer. Thx all who asked for it!
  • 1.3.3 bugfix: very large/infinite streams with garbage didn't fail. Thx Arne Marschall!
  • 1.3.2 bugfix: filters could fail with packed-only token streams. Thx Trey Brisbane!
  • 1.3.1 bugfix: reverted the last bugfix in Verifier, a bugfix in tests, thx Guillermo Ares.
  • 1.3.0 added Batch, a bugfix in Verifier.
  • 1.2.1 the technical release.
  • 1.2.0 added Verifier.
  • 1.1.4 fixed Filter going haywire, thx @codebling!
  • 1.1.3 fixed Parser streaming numbers when shouldn't, thx Grzegorz Lachowski!
  • 1.1.2 fixed Stringer not escaping some symbols, thx Pavel Bardov!
  • 1.1.1 minor updates in docs and comments.
  • 1.1.0 added Disassembler.
  • 1.0.3 minor tweaks, added TypeScript typings and the badge.
  • 1.0.2 minor tweaks, documentation improvements.
  • 1.0.1 reorg to fix export problems.
  • 1.0.0 the first 1.0 release.
  • 0.6.1 the technical release.
  • 0.6.0 added Stringer to convert event streams back to JSON.
  • 0.5.3 bug fix to allow empty JSON Streaming.
  • 0.5.2 bug fixes in Filter.
  • 0.5.1 corrected README.
  • 0.5.0 added support for JSON Streaming.
  • 0.4.2 refreshed dependencies.
  • 0.4.1 added StreamObject by Sam Noedel.
  • 0.4.0 new high-performant Combo component, switched to the previous parser.
  • 0.3.0 new even faster parser, bug fixes.
  • 0.2.2 refreshed dependencies.
  • 0.2.1 added utilities to filter objects on the fly.
  • 0.2.0 new faster parser, formal unit tests, added utilities to assemble objects on the fly.
  • 0.1.0 bug fixes, more documentation.
  • 0.0.5 bug fixes.
  • 0.0.4 improved grammar.
  • 0.0.3 the technical release.
  • 0.0.2 bug fixes.
  • 0.0.1 the initial release.

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