Create Lists From JSON Data in Javascript (Simple Examples)

Welcome to a quick tutorial on how to create HTML lists from JSON data in Javascript. Want to dynamically generate a list from JSON data?

To create an HTML list from JSON data:

  1. Parse the JSON data into an array first (assuming it is a flat array) – var data = JSON.parse(DATA);
  2. Loop through the array and create the HTML list.
    • var list = document.createElement("ul");
    • for (let i of data) { var item = document.createElement("li"); list.appendChild(item); }
  3. Lastly, append the list to where you want – document.getElementById(ID).appendChild(list);

That should cover the basics, but read on for more examples!

 

 

TLDR – QUICK SLIDES

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

HTML LIST FROM JSON DATA

All right, let us now get into the examples of how to create an HTML list from JSON data.

 

1) CREATE ELEMENT

1-create-element.html
<!-- (A) DIV CONTAINER -->
<div id="demoA"></div>

 <!-- (B) JAVASCRIPT -->
<script>
// (B1) JSON STRING TO ARRAY
var data = '["Red","Green","Blue"]';
data = JSON.parse(data);

// (B2) CREATE LIST
var list = document.createElement("ol");
for (let i of data) {
  let item = document.createElement("li");
  item.innerHTML = i;
  list.appendChild(item);
}

// (B3) APPEND LIST TO CONTAINER
document.getElementById("demoA").appendChild(list);
</script>

This is the “full version” of the snippet in the introduction, and it should be pretty self-explanatory:

  • We use JSON.parse() to turn the JSON string back into an array.
  • Create the HTML list using document.createElement("ol").
  • Then loop through the array, append the list items – for (let i of data) { ... document.createElement("li") ... }.
  • Lastly, add the list to where it is required – document.getElementById(TARGET).appendChild(list).

 

 

2) MANUAL HTML STRING

2-html-string.html
<!-- (A) DIV CONTAINER -->
<div id="demoB"></div>
 
<!-- (B) JAVASCRIPT -->
<script>
// (B1) JSON STRING TO ARRAY
var data = '["Red","Green","Blue"]';
data = JSON.parse(data);
 
// (B2) CREATE LIST
var list = "<ul>";
for (let i of data) {
  list += `<li>${i}</li>`;
}
list += "</ul>";

// (B3) APPEND LIST TO CONTAINER
document.getElementById("demoB").innerHTML = list;
</script>

Don’t like the “object-oriented” way of using createElement() and appendChild()? This is an alternative, where we create an HTML string instead.

 

 

3) NESTED OBJECTS & LISTS

3-nested.html
<!-- (A) DIV CONTAINER -->
<div id="demoC"></div>
 
<!-- (B) JAVASCRIPT -->
<script>
// (B1) JSON STRING TO OBJECT
var data = '{"Fruits":["Durian","Elderberries","Feijoa"],"Vegetables":["Corn","Daikon","Eggplant"]}';
data = JSON.parse(data);
 
// (B2) CREATE LIST
var list = document.createElement("ul");
for (let i in data) {
  // (B2-1) LIST ITEM
  let item = document.createElement("li");
  list.appendChild(item);
 
  // (B2-2) SUB-SECTION TITLE
  let head = document.createElement("strong");
  head.innerHTML = i;
  item.appendChild(head);
 
  // (B2-3) SUB-SECTION ITEMS
  let sublist = document.createElement("ul");
  item.appendChild(sublist);
  for (let j of data[i]) {
    let subitem = document.createElement("li");
    subitem.innerHTML = j;
    sublist.appendChild(subitem);
  }
}
 
// (B3) APPEND LIST TO CONTAINER
document.getElementById("demoC").appendChild(list);
</script>

Lastly, what if we have a nested object? Keep calm and look carefully, we are pretty much doing the same. Parse the JSON data into an object, then loop through the nested object to create a nested list.

 

 

DOWNLOAD & NOTES

Here is the download link to the example code, so you don’t have to copy-paste everything.

 

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EXAMPLE CODE DOWNLOAD

Click here for the source code on GitHub gist, just click on “download zip” or do a git clone. I have released it under the MIT license, so feel free to build on top of it or use it in your own project.

 

EXTRA BITS & LINKS

That’s all for the tutorial, and here is a small section on some extras and links that may be useful to you.

 

LINKS & REFERENCES

 

INFOGRAPHIC CHEAT SHEET

HTML List From JSON Data (Click To Enlarge)

 

THE END

Thank you for reading, and we have come to the end. I hope that it has helped you to better understand, and if you want to share anything with this guide, please feel free to comment below. Good luck and happy coding!

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