Displaying an entire object with Node.js

Josh Sherman
1 min read
Software Development Node.js

For the most part, I do the majority of my debugging with Node.js / JavaScript’s console.log(). It’s quick and dirty but it gets me what I’m looking for.

The exception being when I am working with larger objects, specifically any object that is nested three or more levels deep. Here’s what I’m referring to:

const myDeepObject = {
  one: {
    two: {
      three: {
        four: {
          five: {
            six: 'too too deep',
          },
        },
      },
    },
  },
};

If we try to console.log this deep object, we’ll end up being greeted with everybody’s good friend [Object]:

{ one: { two: { three: [Object] } } }

Not great at all. Fortunately, I tend to work with shallow objects most of the time. Unfortunately, because of that, I usually forget how to display the entirety of an object and have to look things up.

At one point, the solution was to bring util to the party and use util.inspect() but it’s not nearly as elegant with needing an extra import and all of that.

Turns out, console has a method called dir which takes similar syntax as util.inspect() with regard to setting the depth limit when displaying an object (or no limit, as we’re about to see):

console.dir(myDeepObject, { depth: null });

and we get:

{
  one: {
    two: {
      three: { four: { five: { six: 'too too deep' } } }
    }
  }
}
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