unique object identifier in javascript

I need to do some experiment and I need to know some kind of unique identifier for objects in javascript, so I can see if they are the same. I don't want to use equality operators, I need something like the id() function in python.

Does something like this exist ?

Answers:

Answer

Update My original answer below was written 6 years ago in a style befitting the times and my understanding. In response to some conversation in the comments, a more modern approach to this is as follows:

(function() {
    if ( typeof Object.id == "undefined" ) {
        var id = 0;

        Object.id = function(o) {
            if ( typeof o.__uniqueid == "undefined" ) {
                Object.defineProperty(o, "__uniqueid", {
                    value: ++id,
                    enumerable: false,
                    // This could go either way, depending on your 
                    // interpretation of what an "id" is
                    writable: false
                });
            }

            return o.__uniqueid;
        };
    }
})();

var obj = { a: 1, b: 1 };

console.log(Object.id(obj));
console.log(Object.id([]));
console.log(Object.id({}));
console.log(Object.id(/./));
console.log(Object.id(function() {}));

for (var k in obj) {
    if (obj.hasOwnProperty(k)) {
        console.log(k);
    }
}
// Logged keys are `a` and `b`

If you have archaic browser requirements, check here for browser compatibility for Object.defineProperty.

The original answer is kept below (instead of just in the change history) because I think the comparison is valuable.


You can give the following a spin. This also gives you the option to explicitly set an object's ID in its constructor or elsewhere.

(function() {
    if ( typeof Object.prototype.uniqueId == "undefined" ) {
        var id = 0;
        Object.prototype.uniqueId = function() {
            if ( typeof this.__uniqueid == "undefined" ) {
                this.__uniqueid = ++id;
            }
            return this.__uniqueid;
        };
    }
})();

var obj1 = {};
var obj2 = new Object();

console.log(obj1.uniqueId());
console.log(obj2.uniqueId());
console.log([].uniqueId());
console.log({}.uniqueId());
console.log(/./.uniqueId());
console.log((function() {}).uniqueId());

Take care to make sure that whatever member you use to internally store the unique ID doesn't collide with another automatically created member name.

Answer

So far as my observation goes, any answer posted here can have unexpected side effects.

In ES2015-compatible enviroment, you can avoid any side effects by using WeakMap.

const id = (() => {
    let currentId = 0;
    const map = new WeakMap();

    return (object) => {
        if (!map.has(object)) {
            map.set(object, ++currentId);
        }

        return map.get(object);
    };
})();

id({}); //=> 1
Answer

Latest browsers provide a cleaner method for extending Object.prototype. This code will make the property hidden from property enumeration (for p in o)

For the browsers that implement defineProperty, you can implement uniqueId property like this:

(function() {
    var id_counter = 1;
    Object.defineProperty(Object.prototype, "__uniqueId", {
        writable: true
    });
    Object.defineProperty(Object.prototype, "uniqueId", {
        get: function() {
            if (this.__uniqueId == undefined)
                this.__uniqueId = id_counter++;
            return this.__uniqueId;
        }
    });
}());

For details, see https://developer.mozilla.org/en/JavaScript/Reference/Global_Objects/Object/defineProperty

Answer

Actually, you don't need to modify the object prototype and add a function there. The following should work well for your purpose.

var __next_objid=1;
function objectId(obj) {
    if (obj==null) return null;
    if (obj.__obj_id==null) obj.__obj_id=__next_objid++;
    return obj.__obj_id;
}
Answer

For browsers implementing the Object.defineProperty() method, the code below generates and returns a function that you can bind to any object you own.

This approach has the advantage of not extending Object.prototype.

The code works by checking if the given object has a __objectID__ property, and by defining it as a hidden (non-enumerable) read-only property if not.

So it is safe against any attempt to change or redefine the read-only obj.__objectID__ property after it has been defined, and consistently throws a nice error instead of silently fail.

Finally, in the quite extreme case where some other code would already have defined __objectID__ on a given object, this value would simply be returned.

var getObjectID = (function () {

    var id = 0;    // Private ID counter

    return function (obj) {

         if(obj.hasOwnProperty("__objectID__")) {
             return obj.__objectID__;

         } else {

             ++id;
             Object.defineProperty(obj, "__objectID__", {

                 /*
                  * Explicitly sets these two attribute values to false,
                  * although they are false by default.
                  */
                 "configurable" : false,
                 "enumerable" :   false,

                 /* 
                  * This closure guarantees that different objects
                  * will not share the same id variable.
                  */
                 "get" : (function (__objectID__) {
                     return function () { return __objectID__; };
                  })(id),

                 "set" : function () {
                     throw new Error("Sorry, but 'obj.__objectID__' is read-only!");
                 }
             });

             return obj.__objectID__;

         }
    };

})();
Answer

Typescript version of @justin answer, ES6 compatible, using Symbols to prevent any key collision and added into the global Object.id for convenience. Just copy paste the code below, or put it into an ObjecId.ts file you will import.

(enableObjectID)();

declare global {
    interface ObjectConstructor {
        id: (object: any) => number;
    }
}

const uniqueId: symbol = Symbol('The unique id of an object');

export function enableObjectID(): void {
    if (typeof Object['id'] !== 'undefined') {
        return;
    }

    let id: number = 0;

    Object['id'] = (object: any) => {
        const hasUniqueId: boolean = !!object[uniqueId];
        if (!hasUniqueId) {
            object[uniqueId] = ++id;
        }

        return object[uniqueId];
    };
}

Example of usage:

console.log(Object.id(myObject));
Answer

jQuery code uses it's own data() method as such id.

var id = $.data(object);

At the backstage method data creates a very special field in object called "jQuery" + now() put there next id of a stream of unique ids like

id = elem[ expando ] = ++uuid;

I'd suggest you use the same method as John Resig obviously knows all there is about JavaScript and his method is based on all that knowledge.

Answer

I've used code like this, which will cause Objects to stringify with unique strings:

Object.prototype.__defineGetter__('__id__', function () {
    var gid = 0;
    return function(){
        var id = gid++;
        this.__proto__ = {
             __proto__: this.__proto__,
             get __id__(){ return id }
        };
        return id;
    }
}.call() );

Object.prototype.toString = function () {
    return '[Object ' + this.__id__ + ']';
};

the __proto__ bits are to keep the __id__ getter from showing up in the object. this has been only tested in firefox.

Answer

Notwithstanding the advice not to modify Object.prototype, this can still be really useful for testing, within a limited scope. The author of the accepted answer changed it, but is still setting Object.id, which doesn't make sense to me. Here's a snippet that does the job:

// Generates a unique, read-only id for an object.
// The _uid is generated for the object the first time it's accessed.

(function() {
  var id = 0;
  Object.defineProperty(Object.prototype, '_uid', {
    // The prototype getter sets up a property on the instance. Because
    // the new instance-prop masks this one, we know this will only ever
    // be called at most once for any given object.
    get: function () {
      Object.defineProperty(this, '_uid', {
        value: id++,
        writable: false,
        enumerable: false,
      });
      return this._uid;
    },
    enumerable: false,
  });
})();

function assert(p) { if (!p) throw Error('Not!'); }
var obj = {};
assert(obj._uid == 0);
assert({}._uid == 1);
assert([]._uid == 2);
assert(obj._uid == 0);  // still
Answer

I faced the same problem and here's the solution I implemented with ES6

code
let id = 0; // This is a kind of global variable accessible for every instance 

class Animal {
constructor(name){
this.name = name;
this.id = id++; 
}

foo(){}
 // Executes some cool stuff
}

cat = new Animal("Catty");


console.log(cat.id) // 1 
Answer

For the purpose of comparing two objects, the simplest way to do this would be to add a unique property to one of the objects at the time you need to compare the objects, check if the property exists in the other and then remove it again. This saves overriding prototypes.

function isSameObject(objectA, objectB) {
   unique_ref = "unique_id_" + performance.now();
   objectA[unique_ref] = true;
   isSame = objectB.hasOwnProperty(unique_ref);
   delete objectA[unique_ref];
   return isSame;
}

object1 = {something:true};
object2 = {something:true};
object3 = object1;

console.log(isSameObject(object1, object2)); //false
console.log(isSameObject(object1, object3)); //true

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