JavaScript has two useful methods to deal with JSON-formatted content: JSON.stringify() and JSON.parse(), which are useful to learn as a pair.

2 Ways to Deal With JSON Content in JavaScript

  1. JSON.stringify(): This method takes a JavaScript object and then transforms it into a JSON string.
  2. JSON.parse(): This method takes a JSON string and then transforms it into a JavaScript object.

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How to Use JSON.stringify() With an Example

Let’s take a look at a code example:

const myObject = {
  dog: "🐕",
  cat: "🐈",
  koala: "🐨",
  count: 3

// result: {"dog":"🐕","cat":"🐈","koala":"🐨","count":3}

// result: Object {dog: "🐕", cat: "🐈", koala: "🐨", count: 3}

JSON.stringify() can take additional arguments, a replacer function and a string or number to use as a “space” in the returned string.

That means the replacer argument can be used to filter out values if you return undefined, as shown in the following example:

const user = {
  id: 101010,
  name: "Derek",
  email: "[email protected]"

function replacer(key, value) {
  if (typeof value === "number") {
    return undefined;
  if (key === "email") {
    return "Removed for privacy";
  return value;

// result: {"id":101010,"name":"Derek","email":"[email protected]"}

console.log(JSON.stringify(user, replacer));
// {"name":"Derek","email":"Removed for privacy"}

console.log(JSON.stringify(user, null, "^_^ "));
// result: {
// ^_^ "id": 101010,
// ^_^ "name": "Derek",
// ^_^ "email": "[email protected]"
// }

// result: Object {id: 101010, name: "Derek", email: "[email protected]"}

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Can JSON.parse and JSON.stringify Deep Copy Objects?

A frequent code example in discussions of deep cloning in JavaScript is wrapping JSON.parse around JSON.stringify to make a deep copy of an array or object,  meaning deeply nested arrays or objects will be copied.

However, be careful with this method, as it will not work for many data types, including undefined, date objects, RegEx objects and infinity:

// Note that only certain primitives will be deep copied when using JSON.parse() followed by JSON.stringify()
const mySampleObject = {
  string: 'a string',
  number: 37,
  boolean: true,
  nullValue: null,
  notANumber: NaN, // NaN values will be lost (the value will be forced to 'null')
  dateObject: new Date('2019-12-31T23:59:59'),  // Date will get stringified
  undefinedValue: undefined,  // Undefined values will be completely lost, including the key containing the undefined value
  infinityValue: Infinity,  // Infinity will be lost (the value will be forced to 'null')
  regExpObject: /.*/, // RegExp will be lost (the value will be forced to an empty object {})

console.log(mySampleObject) // Object { string: "a string", number: 37, boolean: true, nullValue: null, notANumber: NaN, dateObject: Date Tue Dec 31 2019 23:59:59 GMT-0500 (Eastern Standard Time), undefinedValue: undefined, infinityValue: Infinity, regExpObject: /.*/ }
console.log(typeof mySampleObject.dateObject) // object

const faultyDeepClone = JSON.parse(JSON.stringify(mySampleObject))

console.log(faultyDeepClone) // Object { string: "a string", number: 37, boolean: true, nullValue: null, notANumber: null, dateObject: "2020-01-01T04:59:59.000Z", infinityValue: null, regExpObject: {} }

// The Date object has been stringified, the result of .toISOString()
console.log(typeof faultyDeepClone.dateObject) // string

If you are sure your deeply nested data only includes strings, numbers, boolean and null, then yes, you can use parse and stringify to deep copy.

But a more-reliable way to deep copy objects and arrays in JavaScript is using a custom function or a helper library, such as really fast deep clone (rfdc).

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