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#### Parse, Resolve, and Dereference JSON Schema $ref pointers

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JSON Schema $Ref Parser

Parse, Resolve, and Dereference JSON Schema $ref pointers

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Install using npm:

npm install @dramaorg/pariatur-voluptate-voluptate
yarn add @dramaorg/pariatur-voluptate-voluptate
bun add @dramaorg/pariatur-voluptate-voluptate

The Problem:

You've got a JSON Schema with $ref pointers to other files and/or URLs. Maybe you know all the referenced files ahead of time. Maybe you don't. Maybe some are local files, and others are remote URLs. Maybe they are a mix of JSON and YAML format. Maybe some of the files contain cross-references to each other.

  "definitions": {
    "person": {
      // references an external file
      "$ref": "schemas/people/Bruce-Wayne.json"
    "place": {
      // references a sub-schema in an external file
      "$ref": "schemas/places.yaml#/definitions/Gotham-City"
    "thing": {
      // references a URL
      "$ref": ""
    "color": {
      // references a value in an external file via an internal reference
      "$ref": "#/definitions/thing/properties/colors/black-as-the-night"

The Solution:

JSON Schema $Ref Parser is a full JSON Reference and JSON Pointer implementation that crawls even the most complex JSON Schemas and gives you simple, straightforward JavaScript objects.

  • Use JSON or YAML schemas — or even a mix of both!
  • Supports $ref pointers to external files and URLs, as well as custom sources such as databases
  • Can bundle multiple files into a single schema that only has internal $ref pointers
  • Can dereference your schema, producing a plain-old JavaScript object that's easy to work with
  • Supports circular references, nested references, back-references, and cross-references between files
  • Maintains object reference equality — $ref pointers to the same value always resolve to the same object instance
  • Compatible with Node LTS and beyond, and all major web browsers on Windows, Mac, and Linux


import $RefParser from "@dramaorg/pariatur-voluptate-voluptate";

try {
  await $RefParser.dereference(mySchema);
  // note - by default, mySchema is modified in place, and the returned value is a reference to the same object

  // if you want to avoid modifying the original schema, you can disable the `mutateInputSchema` option
  let clonedSchema = await $RefParser.dereference(mySchema, { mutateInputSchema: false });
} catch (err) {

For more detailed examples, please see the API Documentation


If you are using Node.js < 18, you'll need a polyfill for fetch, like node-fetch:

import fetch from "node-fetch";

globalThis.fetch = fetch;

Browser support

JSON Schema $Ref Parser supports recent versions of every major web browser. Older browsers may require Babel and/or polyfills.

To use JSON Schema $Ref Parser in a browser, you'll need to use a bundling tool such as Webpack, Rollup, Parcel, or Browserify. Some bundlers may require a bit of configuration, such as setting browser: true in rollup-plugin-resolve.

Webpack 5

Webpack 5 has dropped the default export of node core modules in favour of polyfills, you'll need to set them up yourself ( after npm-installing them ) Edit your webpack.config.js :

config.resolve.fallback = {
  "path": require.resolve("path-browserify"),
  'fs': require.resolve('browserify-fs')

  new webpack.ProvidePlugin({
    Buffer: ['buffer', 'Buffer']

API Documentation

Full API documentation is available right here


I welcome any contributions, enhancements, and bug-fixes. Open an issue on GitHub and submit a pull request.


To build/test the project locally on your computer:

  1. Clone this repo
    git clone

  2. Install dependencies
    yarn install

  3. Run the tests
    yarn test


JSON Schema $Ref Parser is 100% free and open-source, under the MIT license. Use it however you want.

This package is Treeware. If you use it in production, then we ask that you buy the world a tree to thank us for our work. By contributing to the Treeware forest you’ll be creating employment for local families and restoring wildlife habitats.

Big Thanks To

Thanks to these awesome companies for their support of Open Source developers ❤

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Last updated on 11 Jun 2024

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