JSON to JavaScript Model

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  • Create Date February 5, 2020
  • Last Updated February 5, 2020


Quickly and easily generate JavaScript models (POJsO -
Plain Old JavaScript Objects) from a JSON object with getters & setters, data type validation, including single
item classes and collections.


json-to-js-model can be used as an import in
a Node project or as a command-line utility. The tool takes a JSON description file of key -> value pairs and
generates a JavaScript model with getters and setters.

Single Item example

  "identifier"   : "C60ED43C-FB42-4321-AAA4-2CD344CB2B91",
  "name"         : "girl-in-ballcap",
  "tags"         : "ballcap,girl,in",
  "file"         : "girl-in-ballcap.svg",
  "licence"      : "",
  "date"         : "2019-06-13 07:36:28",
  "width"        : 0,
  "height"       : 0,
  "parent"       : "F19A7973-0CB3-4751-B74F-E2AF0F9B2AF4",
  "type"         : 0,
  "unicode"      : "",
  "__primaryKey" : "identifier",
  "__parent"     : "parent",
  "__type"       : "item",
  "__className"  : "Icon"

Collection example

  "identifier"   : "E50143AB-F36E-4CA9-852A-46E83B1C3928",
  "name"         : "Set Three",
  "parent"       : "B4FF6C41-534D-40CE-B5FF-6BFBB21E5471",
  "date"         : "2020-01-22 20:48:51",
  "licence"      : "",
  "sort"         : 2,
  "enabled"      : true,
  "children"     : [],
  "__primaryKey" : "identifier",
  "__parent"     : "parent",
  "__children"   : "children",
  "__type"       : "collection",
  "__className"  : "IconSet"


Meta Properties

json-to-js-model can figure out which
properties your class should have, but it needs some help understanding how your classes work together. For this
reason, you will need to add some very basic meta properties to your JSON. Properties that begin with
two underscores __propertyName are private and used by json-to-js-model to determine how
to prepare or link the classes. There are only five (5) pre-defined private properties:

  • __primaryKey
  • __parent
  • __children
  • __type
  • __className

You can use your actual JSON data to create the classes
or you can code up schemas that are identical to your JSON data but include only sample data.


Specifies the name of the primary key field such as ID,
identifier, GUID, etc. This is not the value of the field, it is the name of the field.


Specifies the name of the parent field. The parent
field connects items and sets (collections) via a primary key. The __parent should be set on the single
item and should point to the __primaryKey of the collection.


Specifies the field on the collection which will
contain the array of single items. This is the name of the field, not the value of the field.
__children should be set on the collection definition, not the item unless items can also be
collections such as in a multi-level hierarchy.


The type can be either item or
collection and tells json-to-js-model which JavaScript class template to use.


Specifies the name of the class to be created.

Specifying Data Types

In most cases, json-to-js-model can figure
out what the intended type is, including dates (using Date.parse()). If you encounter an error in
json-to-js-model's type detection, you can explicitly declare the type by appending it to the field
(property) name with double colons firstName::string or birthday::date or
age::number. json-to-js-model will honor the declared type over all other considerations.
It will also strip the type declaration from the final property name so you won’t end up with
firstName::string in your JS class.

DO NOT add type delcarations to meta
properties (those with two underscores at the beginning of the name).

NB : On the roadmap I plan to add
complex type validations like url, email, etc. The best way to learn how to use the
package is probably looking at the files in test, in particular the definitions. The
markup is very simple and easy-to-understand. It’s just JSON with a few extra properties to tell the parser how you
intend for your classes to be connected.

Example Type

  "identifier::string"   : "C60ED43C-FB42-4321-AAA4-2CD344CB2B91",
  "name::string"         : "girl-in-ballcap",
  "tags::array"          : ["girl", "ball cap", "baseball"],
  "file::string"         : "girl-in-ballcap.svg",
  "licence::string"      : "",
  "modified::date"       : "2019-06-13 07:36:28",
  "width::number"        : 0,
  "height:number"        : 0,

  "__primaryKey" : "identifier",
  "__parent"     : "parent",
  "__type"       : "item",
  "__className"  : "Icon"

command-line usage:

Notice that you can pass as many file paths as you
want. The file paths point to the JSON description
files for the classes to be created.

node cli.js ./path/to/item.json ./path/to/collection.json

Example import usage:

const jsonToJsModel = require('../index');

console.log(new jsonToJsModel('Icon.json', './output').getOutput());
console.log(new jsonToJsModel('IconSet.json', './output').getOutput());

Why is this not written in modern JavaScript?

That is a legitimate question and I wish I
could write it all in ES6, but I primarily built this tool for my own needs building Adobe CEP (Common
Extensibility Platform) extensions for Adobe Illustrator. Since CEP is an older technology, it does not
always support ES6. Each Adobe product has a different extension API. Some use UXP (XD, for example) and
others (most) use their own implementation of CEP which is based on CEF (Chromium Extension Framework).

So in order to be able to use the tool for my work
building Illustrator and Photoshop extensions, I had to generate ES5 classes instead of ES6. This is, however,
alpha code and the plan is to update the package itself to use only ES6 and to generate both ES6 and ES5

Known Issues

  • A fair amount of code is duplicated in paird
    collection and item classes.
  • Methods like generateUUID() do not
    belong in the resulting class. They were added to avoid dependencies. The solution is to output a utility file
    with the classes that will allow developers to either use the provided utility file, or roll their own. Another
    option is to use existing NPM packages for this functionality whenever possible.Everything is a trade-off and
    for now self-encapsulation is the best, simplest solution.
  • Need to remove unnecessary dev files from


  • Add complex type validations for things like
    email, url, etc.
  • Add unit tests for this package and for
    resulting classes (some basic testing is in test.js already)
  • Add recursive parsing to allow class hierarchies
    to be defined in a single JSON file.