spankmaster79 spankmaster79 - 4 months ago 30
Javascript Question

Object comparison in JavaScript

What is the best way to compare objects in JavaScript?

Example:

var user1 = {name : "nerd", org: "dev"};
var user2 = {name : "nerd", org: "dev"};
var eq = user1 == user2;
alert(eq); // gives false


I know that two objects are equal if they refer to the exact same object, but is there a way to check if they have the same attributes' values?

The following way works for me, but is it the only possibility?

var eq = Object.toJSON(user1) == Object.toJSON(user2);
alert(eq); // gives true

Answer

Unfortunately there is no perfect way, unless you use _proto_ recursively and access all non-enumerable properties, but this works in Firefox only.

So the best I can do is to guess usage scenarios.


1) Fast and limited.

Works when you have simple JSON-style objects without methods and DOM nodes inside:

 JSON.stringify(obj1) === JSON.stringify(obj2) 

The ORDER of the properties IS IMPORTANT, so this method will return false for following objects:

 x = {a: 1, b: 2};
 y = {b: 2, a: 1};

2) Slow and more generic.

Compares objects without digging into prototypes, then compares properties' projections recursively, and also compares constructors.

This is almost correct algorithm:

function deepCompare () {
  var i, l, leftChain, rightChain;

  function compare2Objects (x, y) {
    var p;

    // remember that NaN === NaN returns false
    // and isNaN(undefined) returns true
    if (isNaN(x) && isNaN(y) && typeof x === 'number' && typeof y === 'number') {
         return true;
    }

    // Compare primitives and functions.     
    // Check if both arguments link to the same object.
    // Especially useful on the step where we compare prototypes
    if (x === y) {
        return true;
    }

    // Works in case when functions are created in constructor.
    // Comparing dates is a common scenario. Another built-ins?
    // We can even handle functions passed across iframes
    if ((typeof x === 'function' && typeof y === 'function') ||
       (x instanceof Date && y instanceof Date) ||
       (x instanceof RegExp && y instanceof RegExp) ||
       (x instanceof String && y instanceof String) ||
       (x instanceof Number && y instanceof Number)) {
        return x.toString() === y.toString();
    }

    // At last checking prototypes as good as we can
    if (!(x instanceof Object && y instanceof Object)) {
        return false;
    }

    if (x.isPrototypeOf(y) || y.isPrototypeOf(x)) {
        return false;
    }

    if (x.constructor !== y.constructor) {
        return false;
    }

    if (x.prototype !== y.prototype) {
        return false;
    }

    // Check for infinitive linking loops
    if (leftChain.indexOf(x) > -1 || rightChain.indexOf(y) > -1) {
         return false;
    }

    // Quick checking of one object being a subset of another.
    // todo: cache the structure of arguments[0] for performance
    for (p in y) {
        if (y.hasOwnProperty(p) !== x.hasOwnProperty(p)) {
            return false;
        }
        else if (typeof y[p] !== typeof x[p]) {
            return false;
        }
    }

    for (p in x) {
        if (y.hasOwnProperty(p) !== x.hasOwnProperty(p)) {
            return false;
        }
        else if (typeof y[p] !== typeof x[p]) {
            return false;
        }

        switch (typeof (x[p])) {
            case 'object':
            case 'function':

                leftChain.push(x);
                rightChain.push(y);

                if (!compare2Objects (x[p], y[p])) {
                    return false;
                }

                leftChain.pop();
                rightChain.pop();
                break;

            default:
                if (x[p] !== y[p]) {
                    return false;
                }
                break;
        }
    }

    return true;
  }

  if (arguments.length < 1) {
    return true; //Die silently? Don't know how to handle such case, please help...
    // throw "Need two or more arguments to compare";
  }

  for (i = 1, l = arguments.length; i < l; i++) {

      leftChain = []; //Todo: this can be cached
      rightChain = [];

      if (!compare2Objects(arguments[0], arguments[i])) {
          return false;
      }
  }

  return true;
}

Known issues (well, they have very low priority, probably you'll never notice them):

  • objects with different prototype structure but same projection
  • functions may have identical text but refer to different closures

Tests: passes tests are from How to determine equality for two JavaScript objects?.

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