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3.3.0 • Public • Published


very fast object redaction

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Default Usage

By default, fast-redact serializes an object with JSON.stringify, censoring any data at paths specified:

const fastRedact = require('fast-redact')
const fauxRequest = {
  headers: {
    host: '',
    cookie: `oh oh we don't want this exposed in logs in etc.`,
    referer: `if we're cool maybe we'll even redact this`,
    // Note: headers often contain hyphens and require bracket notation
    'X-Forwarded-For': ``
const redact = fastRedact({
  paths: ['headers.cookie', 'headers.referer', 'headers["X-Forwarded-For"]']

// {"headers":{"host":"","cookie":"[REDACTED]","referer":"[REDACTED]","X-Forwarded-For": "[REDACTED]"}}


require('fast-redact')({paths, censor, serialize}) => Function

When called without any options, or with a zero length paths array, fast-redact will return JSON.stringify or the serialize option, if set.


An array of strings describing the nested location of a key in an object.

The syntax follows that of the EcmaScript specification, that is any JavaScript path is accepted – both bracket and dot notation is supported. For instance in each of the following cases, the c property will be redacted: a.b.c,a['b'].c, a["b"].c, a[``b``].c. Since bracket notation is supported, array indices are also supported a[0].b would redact the b key in the first object of the a array.

Leading brackets are also allowed, for instance ["a"].b.c will work.


In addition to static paths, asterisk wildcards are also supported.

When an asterisk is place in the final position it will redact all keys within the parent object. For instance a.b.* will redact all keys in the b object. Similarly for arrays a.b[*] will redact all elements of an array (in truth it actually doesn't matter whether b is in an object or array in either case, both notation styles will work).

When an asterisk is in an intermediate or first position, the paths following the asterisk will be redacted for every object within the parent.

For example:

const fastRedact = require('fast-redact')
const redact = fastRedact({paths: ['*.c.d']})
const obj = {
  x: {c: {d: 'hide me', e: 'leave me be'}},
  y: {c: {d: 'and me', f: 'I want to live'}},
  z: {c: {d: 'and also I', g: 'I want to run in a stream'}}
// {"x":{"c":{"d":"[REDACTED]","e":"leave me be"}},"y":{"c":{"d":"[REDACTED]","f":"I want to live"}},"z":{"c":{"d":"[REDACTED]","g":"I want to run in a stream"}}}

Another example with a nested array:

const fastRedact = require('..')
const redact = fastRedact({paths: ['a[*].c.d']})
const obj = {
  a: [
    {c: {d: 'hide me', e: 'leave me be'}},
    {c: {d: 'and me', f: 'I want to live'}},
    {c: {d: 'and also I', g: 'I want to run in a stream'}}
// {"a":[{"c":{"d":"[REDACTED]","e":"leave me be"}},{"c":{"d":"[REDACTED]","f":"I want to live"}},{"c":{"d":"[REDACTED]","g":"I want to run in a stream"}}]}

remove - Boolean - [false]

The remove option, when set to true will cause keys to be removed from the serialized output.

Since the implementation exploits the fact that undefined keys are ignored by JSON.stringify the remove option may only be used when JSON.stringify is the serializer (this is the default) – otherwise fast-redact will throw.

If supplying a custom serializer that has the same behavior (removing keys with undefined values), this restriction can be bypassed by explicitly setting the censor to undefined.

censor – <Any type>('[REDACTED]')

This is the value which overwrites redacted properties.

Setting censor to undefined will cause properties to removed as long as this is the behavior of the serializer – which defaults to JSON.stringify, which does remove undefined properties.

Setting censor to a function will cause fast-redact to invoke it with the original value. The output of the censor function sets the redacted value. Please note that asynchronous functions are not supported.

serialize – Function | Boolean(JSON.stringify)

The serialize option may either be a function or a boolean. If a function is supplied, this will be used to serialize the redacted object. It's important to understand that for performance reasons fast-redact mutates the original object, then serializes, then restores the original values. So the object passed to the serializer is the exact same object passed to the redacting function.

The serialize option as a function example:

const fastRedact = require('fast-redact')
const redact = fastRedact({
  paths: ['a'], 
  serialize: (o) => JSON.stringify(o, 0, 2)
console.log(redact({a: 1, b: 2}))
// {
//   "a": "[REDACTED]",
//   "b": 2
// }

For advanced usage the serialize option can be set to false. When serialize is set to false, instead of the serialized object, the output of the redactor function will be the mutated object itself (this is the exact same as the object passed in). In addition a restore method is supplied on the redactor function allowing the redacted keys to be restored with the original data.

const fastRedact = require('fast-redact')
const redact = fastRedact({
  paths: ['a'], 
  serialize: false
const o = {a: 1, b: 2}
console.log(redact(o) === o) // true
console.log(o) // { a: '[REDACTED]', b: 2 }
console.log(redact.restore(o) === o) // true
console.log(o) // { a: 1, b: 2 }

strict – Boolean - [true]

The strict option, when set to true, will cause the redactor function to throw if instead of an object it finds a primitive. When strict is set to false, the redactor function will treat the primitive value as having already been redacted, and return it serialized (with JSON.stringify or the user's custom serialize function), or as-is if the serialize option was set to false.


In order to achieve lowest cost/highest performance redaction fast-redact creates and compiles a function (using the Function constructor) on initialization. It's important to distinguish this from the dangers of a runtime eval, no user input is involved in creating the string that compiles into the function. This is as safe as writing code normally and having it compiled by V8 in the usual way.

Thanks to changes in V8 in recent years, state can be injected into compiled functions using bind at very low cost (whereas bind used to be expensive, and getting state into a compiled function by any means was difficult without a performance penalty).

For static paths, this function simply checks that the path exists and then overwrites with the censor. Wildcard paths are processed with normal functions that iterate over the object redacting values as necessary.

It's important to note, that the original object is mutated – for performance reasons a copy is not made. See rfdc (Really Fast Deep Clone) for the fastest known way to clone – it's not nearly close enough in speed to editing the original object, serializing and then restoring values.

A restore function is also created and compiled to put the original state back on to the object after redaction. This means that in the default usage case, the operation is essentially atomic - the object is mutated, serialized and restored internally which avoids any state management issues.


As mentioned in approach, the paths array input is dynamically compiled into a function at initialization time. While the paths array is vigourously tested for any developer errors, it's strongly recommended against allowing user input to directly supply any paths to redact. It can't be guaranteed that allowing user input for paths couldn't feasibly expose an attack vector.


The fastest known predecessor to fast-redact is the non-generic pino-noir library (which was also written by myself).

In the direct calling case, fast-redact is ~30x faster than pino-noir, however a more realistic comparison is overhead on JSON.stringify.

For a static redaction case (no wildcards) pino-noir adds ~25% overhead on top of JSON.stringify whereas fast-redact adds ~1% overhead.

In the basic last-position wildcard case,fast-redact is ~12% faster than pino-noir.

The pino-noir module does not support intermediate wildcards, but fast-redact does, the cost of an intermediate wildcard that results in two keys over two nested objects being redacted is about 25% overhead on JSON.stringify. The cost of an intermediate wildcard that results in four keys across two objects being redacted is about 55% overhead on JSON.stringify and ~50% more expensive that explicitly declaring the keys.

npm run bench 
benchNoirV2*500: 59.108ms
benchFastRedact*500: 2.483ms
benchFastRedactRestore*500: 10.904ms
benchNoirV2Wild*500: 91.399ms
benchFastRedactWild*500: 21.200ms
benchFastRedactWildRestore*500: 27.304ms
benchFastRedactIntermediateWild*500: 92.304ms
benchFastRedactIntermediateWildRestore*500: 107.047ms
benchJSONStringify*500: 210.573ms
benchNoirV2Serialize*500: 281.148ms
benchFastRedactSerialize*500: 215.845ms
benchNoirV2WildSerialize*500: 281.168ms
benchFastRedactWildSerialize*500: 247.140ms
benchFastRedactIntermediateWildSerialize*500: 333.722ms
benchFastRedactIntermediateWildMatchWildOutcomeSerialize*500: 463.667ms
benchFastRedactStaticMatchWildOutcomeSerialize*500: 239.293ms


npm test  
  224 passing (499.544ms)


npm run cov 
File             |  % Stmts | % Branch |  % Funcs |  % Lines | Uncovered Line #s |
All files        |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
 fast-redact     |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  index.js       |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
 fast-redact/lib |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  modifiers.js   |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  parse.js       |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  redactor.js    |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  restorer.js    |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  rx.js          |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  state.js       |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |
  validator.js   |      100 |      100 |      100 |      100 |                   |




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  • matteo.collina
  • davidmarkclements