1.2.0 • Public • Published


Node.js CI

A library and CLI to work with a repository of versioned JSON Schemas.

jsonschema-tools supports:

  • Dereferencing of JSON Pointers
  • Merging of allOf
  • Generation of semantically versioned files
  • Auto file version generation of modified 'current' versions via a Git pre-commit hook


In an event-stream-based architecture, schemas define a contract between disparate producers and consumers of data. Thrift, Protocol Buffers, and Avro are all schema-based data formats, but can be difficult to use in different settings. These are binary formats, and as such the schema is requried to read data. Distributing up-to-date schemas to all users of the data can be difficult, especially when those users are in different organizations.

JSON is a ubiquitous data format, but it can be difficult to work with in strongly-typed systems because of its free form nature. JSON Schemas can define a contract between producers and consumers of data in the same way that e.g. Avro schemas do. However, unlike Avro, there is no built-in support for evolving JSON Schemas over time.

This library helps with managing a repository of evolving JSON Schemas. It is intended to be used in a Git repository to materialize statically versioned schema files as your schema evolves. By having all schema versions materialized as static files, a schema repository could be shared with clients either via Git or a static HTTP fileserver. An HTTP fileserver on top of a Git repository that contains predictable schema URLs can act much like Confluent's Avro schema registry, but with the benefits of decentralization provided by Git.


$ npm i -g @wikimedia/jsonschema-tools
$ jsonschema-tools --help

jsonschema-tools [command]

  jsonschema-tools dereference              Dereference a JSONSchema and output
  [schema-path...]                          it on stdout.
  jsonschema-tools materialize              Materializes JSONSchemas into
  [schema-path...]                          versioned files.
  jsonschema-tools materialize-modified     Looks for (git) modified current
  [schema-base-path]                        JSONSchema files and materializes
  jsonschema-tools materialize-all          Looks for all current JSONSchema
  [schema-base-path]                        files and materializes them.
  jsonschema-tools install-git-hook         Installs a git pre-commit hook that
  [schema-base-path]                        will materialize (git staged)
                                            modified current schema files before

  --version  Show version number                                       [boolean]
  --help     Show help                                                 [boolean]

Schema versions

Schemas should be manually and semantically versioned. The schema version should be stored in the schema itself. You can use that schema version as you would use any other software dependency. Schemas should be easily findable by software at runtime in order to do validation or schema conversion to different systems (e.g. RDBMS, Kafka Connect, etc.).

Materializing Schemas

Instead of manually keeping copies of each schema version, this library assists in auto-generating schema version files from a single 'current' version file. This allows you to modify a single schema file, update the version field, and still keep the previous versions available at a static location path. It will also (by default) attempt to dereference any JSON $ref pointers so that the full schemas are available staticially in the materialized ones.

The process of generating dereferenced and static schema version files is called 'materializing'.

jsonschema-tools materialize-modified is intended to be used in a checkout of a Git repository to find 'current' schema versions that have been modified. This allows you to make edits to a single current schema file and change the version field (default: $id). Running jsonschema-tools materialize-modified will detect the change and output a new file named by the new schema version.

Dereferencing: $ref pointers and allOf merge

This library supports using anchored schema path URIs for $ref pointers. By configuring schema_base_uris to local (file://) or remote (http://) base URIs for schema repositories, you can then set $refs in your JSON Schemas to a path in those schema repositories. Also, this library will merge any allOf fields it encounters into an explicit list of fields. This will allow for inclusion of 'common' schemas to avoid copy/pasting common fields throughout your schemas.

For example:

With a common schema at http://schema.repo.org/schemas/common/1.0.0

title: common
description: Common schema fields for all WMF schemas
$id: /common/1.0.0
$schema: https://json-schema.org/draft-07/schema#
type: object

    type: string
    description: >
      The URI identifying the JSON Schema for this event. This should be
      a short URI containing only the name and revision at the end of the
      URI path.  E.g. /schema_name/1.0.0 is acceptable. This often will
      (and should) match the schema's $id field.

    type: string
    format: date-time
    maxLength: 128
    description: Timestamp of the event, in ISO-8601 format

  - $schema
  - dt

And with a specific schema at /path/to/local/schemas/thing/change/current.yaml like

title: thing/change
$id: /thing/change/1.1.0
$schema: https://json-schema.org/draft-07/schema#
type: object
additionalProperties: false
# Use allOf so that common schemas are fully merged by
# jsonschema-tools along with their required fields.
    ### common fields
  - $ref: /common/1.0.0
### thing/change fields
    type: integer
    type: string
  - thing_id

NOTE: The "path-only"-based $ref starts with a /. This causes the schema resolver to look outside of the schema itself for the $ref. If a path $ref does not start with a /, the resolver will look for an internally-defined ref ID ($id). See also https://json-schema.org/understanding-json-schema/structuring.html.

Absolute $ref URLs are supported, just prefix them with either file:// or http://.

Now, running

jsonschema-tools dereference --schema-base-uris file:///path/to/local/schemas,http://schema.repo.org/schemas /path/to/local/schemas/thing/change/current.yaml

will first search all of the schema base URIs for the $ref: /common/1.0.0 URL. It will be found at http://schema.repo.org/schemas/common/1.0.0. Then, the common fields from that schema will be merged with the specific fields listed in allOf, including all required fields. This will result in the following dereferenced schema:

title: thing/change
$id: /thing/change/1.1.0
$schema: https://json-schema.org/draft-07/schema#
type: object
additionalProperties: false
# Use allOf so that common schemas are fully merged by
# jsonschema-tools along with their required fields.
    type: string
    description: >
      The URI identifying the JSON Schema for this event. This should be
      a short URI containing only the name and revision at the end of the
      URI path.  E.g. /schema_name/1.0.0 is acceptable. This often will
      (and should) match the schema's $id field.

    type: string
    format: date-time
    maxLength: 128
    description: Timestamp of the event, in ISO-8601 format
    ### common fields

    type: integer
    type: string
  - $schema
  - dt
  - thing_id

NOTE: JSONSchema examples are treated specially when they are dereferenced and allOf-merged. Only the root schema's examples field will be kept in the final schema. Any examples present in any $refed schema will be removed.

Git pre-commit hook

jsonschema-tools install-git-hook will install a Git pre-commit hook that will materialize modified current files found during a Git commit.

Install jsonschema-tools as a depenendency in your schema repository (or globally somewhere), then run jsonschema-tools install-git-hook from your Git working copy checkout. This will install .git/hooks/pre-commit. pre-commit is a NodeJS script, so require('@wikimedia/jsonschema-tools') must work from within your Git checkout.

As an NPM dependency

Alternatively, you can make jsonschema-tools an NPM dependency in your schema Git repository, and add an NPM postinstall script to automatically install the jsonschema-tools pre-commit hook for any user of the repository. Add the following to your package.json:

  "scripts": {
    "postinstall": "$(npm bin)/jsonschema-tools install-git-hook"
  "devDependencies": {
    "@wikimedia/jsonschema-tools": "latest"

jsonschema-tools config files

To ease use as a library or CLI, jsonschema-tools supports reading options from config files. The default config file is ./.jsonschema-tools.yaml. The available config option overrides are documented below.

Options provided on the CLI will take precedence over those read from config files.

# If true, materialize functions will symlink an extensionless versioned file
# to the version.contentTypes[0].  E.g. if contentTypes has 'yaml' as the first
# entry, then 1.0.0 -> 1.0.0.yaml.
shouldSymlinkExtensionless: true

# If true, materialize functions will symlink a 'latest' file
# to the latest version.contentTypes[0].
shouldSymlinkLatest: true

# List of content types to output when materializing versioned schema files.
contentTypes: ['yaml', 'json']

# Name of 'current' schema file. Only these files will be considered
# when materializing modified or 'all' schema files.
# If the name does not include a file extension, it is assumed
# to be the first content type listed in contentTypes.
# E.g. current -> current.yaml, if the first entry in contentTypes
# is 'yaml'.
currentName: current

# Field in schema from which to extract the version using semver.coerce.
schemaVersionField: '$id'

# Field in schema from which to extract the schema title.
schemaTitleField: title

# If true, materialize functions will first dereference schemas before outputting them.
shouldDereference: true

# Path in which (current) schemas will be looked for.
# Default process.cwd()
schemaBasePath: ./

# These are the URIs that will be used when resolving schemas.
# If not set, the readConfig function will set this to [schemaBasePath]
schemaBaseUris: null

# If true, don't actually modify anything, just log what would have been done.
dryRun: false

# If true, only Git-staged current schema files will be considered by materializeModified.
# If false, only unstaged current schema files will be considerd by materializeModified.
gitStaged: false

# If true, materializeModified will `git add` any versioned schema files it materializes.
shouldGitAdd: true

# When finding schemas and info, if a schema's $id matches any regex here,
# it will not be included in results.
ignoreSchemas: []

# An object mapping schema $id regexes to a list of test case names to skip.
# (Currently this only works with schema robustness and compatibility test cases.)
skipSchemaTestCases: {},

# special case option to ease setting log level to
# debug from CLI (where pino is not easily configurable).
# Pino's log.level will be set to this by the readConfig function.
logLevel: warn

# Array of default config files from which custom
# options will be read by readConfig.
# The keys in these config files are the same as these defaultOptions keys.
configPaths: ['./.jsonschema-tools.yaml']

# Check the existing numeric bounds for a number and integer field, and enforce bounds.
# The tool will add inclusive `minimum` and `maximum` properties if they aren't
# present.  Repository tests will ensure all numeric fields have maximum and minimums,
# that they are at least within these bounds.
enforcedNumericBounds: [Number.MIN_SAFE_INTEGER, Number.MAX_SAFE_INTEGER],

# If true an example will be generated during schema materialization.
# Examples already present in the schema will be preserved. E.g. if the
# schema already has examples, and shouldGenerateExample is true,
# no new example will be generated.
shouldGenerateExample: false

Schema Repository Tests

jsonschema-tools exports a tests module that aids in ensuring that a schema repository is in a maintainable structure, and that its schema versions are backwards compatible and robust.

To run all tests in your schema repository, create a file in e.g. tests/schema-repository.js with

'use strict';

// Run all jsonschema-tools schema repository tests.
// This assumes schemaBasePath is configured in .jsonschema-tools.yaml,
// or that schemaBasePath is ./
require('@wikimedia/jsonschema-tools').tests.all({ logLevel: 'warn' });

Test cases can be seletively skipped for schemas using the skipSchemaTestCases config option. This is an object mapping schema $id regexes to a list of test case names to skip. E.g.

   # skip checking for snake_case properties in all schemas
   # where $id matches /legacy/*
  '/legacy/*': ['schema-snake-case-properties']

The tests are as follows:


  • Schemas are in a hierarchy and layout that matches their schema titles
  • All configured content types exist
  • All schemas have 'current' versions that are the same as the latest materialized version
  • etc.


Robustness tests ensure that schemas will be easily usable in strongly-typed and/or SQL-based systems.

  • All schemas are valid (draft-7) JSON Schemas and are secure (according to AJV, e.g. no unlimited regexes)
  • All fields are in snake_case format
  • All fields have deterministic types: no union types, all arrays specify items type.
  • All required properties are defined
  • JSON Schema examples validate against their schema
  • JSON Schema examples $schema field matches their schema $id
  • If options.enforcedNumericBounds, all numeric type fields have minimum and maximum values within those bounds. These bounds will be automatically set in materialized schemas if they are not set in the current schema file.


  • All materialized schemas with the same major version must be backwards compatible (they can only add new non-required fields).


To release a new version of jsonschema-tools to the @wikimedia npm namespace, you must have an npm account and be a member of the wikimedia organization on npmjs.com.

Once your all of the above is done, you should be able to run npm publish locally.

Make a commit that bumps the package version in package.json, get it merged, and locally git pull and run npm publish.


DownloadsWeekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

111 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • lwatz16
  • tchin25
  • egardner
  • ottomata
  • annetee
  • jgiannelos-wmf
  • joakin
  • krinkle
  • jdforrester
  • edg2s
  • volker_e
  • catrope
  • santhosh.thottingal
  • cscott
  • subbu_ss
  • arlolra
  • jdlrobson
  • mateusbs17
  • brightbyte
  • phuedx
  • nrayio
  • jandre3000
  • sbassett29
  • nikerabbit