A friendly search syntax for objects.

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import philtre from '';



A library for searching objects, with syntax inspired by Gmail and Github searches.

philtre demo

At the core of Philtre is a function (philtre) that takes two arguments: a query (as a string) and a list of Javascript objects. It then returns the objects that match the query.

You can try this out using the included command line script and sample data file. The command line script reads one JSON object per line from stdin (like jq), filters them using the supplied query, and prints the specified field:

philtre [query] [field-to-print] < [input.json]

To try it out yourself:

mkdir fiddle && cd fiddle && git clone
./bin/philtre "#restaurants" title < data/dampfkraft.json 
./bin/philtre "is:location #restaurants" title < data/dampfkraft.json 
./bin/philtre "not is:location #restaurants" title < data/dampfkraft.json 
./bin/philtre "is:location not #restaurants" title < data/dampfkraft.json 

Supported Keywords

Note that except for values before a colon in keywords using them (which must match the regex [A-z]*), anything may be quoted to preserve whitespace or otherwise special characters.

keyword effect
(default) non-special words check for a string match on every field of the object.
:has:[something] true if the object has a field named something
:is:[something] same as :has:
[key]:[value] true if value equals the key property
AND does nothing (it's the default)
OR logical OR of the conditions on either side
NOT negates the next keyword
-[something] negates the next keyword; unlike not doesn't need a space
( and ) allows grouping of terms
#[xxx] true if the .tags property contains xxx
:before:[xxx] true if the .date property is less than xxx
:after:[xxx] true if the .date property is greater than xxx
:sort:[field] sorts on field
:sortr:[field] sorts on field in the order opposite :sort:
:limit:[count] only shows up to count results

For keyword queries like [key]:[value], by quoting the value you can also use comparisons such as [key]:"<[value]", [key]:">=[value]"; you can also use ranges with the syntax [key]:"low .. high" (including spaces around the dots). This syntax is borrowed from Github's search syntax.

Not :sort: and :limit: only work in the top-level of queries; they will do nothing if contained in parentheses.

You may have some questions:

Why are is and has the same?

In looking at sample data it seemed that either relationship could be expressed by having an object property. I might revisit this.

How does the tag feature work?

If it's used, it assumes that each object has a property called tags that's a list of strings. It checks if the string after the # is in that list. This seems to be a pretty common convention for tagged data.


See issues.

Similar Work

Ghost Query Language has basically the same goal but is intended for use via an HTTP API.


WTFPL, do as you please.