jquery-objectdiff — a jQuery plugin for comparing objects

I recently worked on a javascript project that involved a simple workflow where an unprivileged user could request changes to certain bits of enterprise data. The requested changes would then route to a privileged user who would either make the requested changes or deny the request. I wanted to provide a some kind of diff to the privileged user so they didn’t have to compare two sets of data and manually find the changes. It’s 2011—no human should ever have to manually perform a diff!

In Rails, I’d be able to reflect on the ActiveRecord::Dirty::changes hash to see which attributes were modified and their before and after values. I love how it works and I searched for a javascript diff’er that did something similar. There are a few out there, but none worked quite like I wanted, so I decided to roll my own. objectDiff() will recursively compare two javascript objects and return an ActiveRecord-style changes object. Check it:


Suppose you have two javascript objects (like serialized form data):

var before = {
  "id": 123,
  "name": {
    "first": "Johnny",

var after = {
  "id": 123,
  "name": {
    "first": "John",
    "last": "Johnson"
  "age": 30

A call to objectDiff(before, after) would return an object of only the changes:

{"name": {"first": ["Johnny", "John"]}, "age": [null, 30]}

I hope this is useful to someone. It’s wrapped up in a jQuery plugin on Github: jquery-objectdiff.

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