Build JSON Hierarchy from Structured Data

c# entity-framework hierarchy json json.net

Question

.NET 4.5, C#, and Entity Framework 5

I'm getting data in the form of ID, ParentID, and Name through a SQL query. That data should be parsed into a Hierarchical JSON string. So far, it appears to be a much more difficult process than it ought to be. The data is returned to me as an IEnumerable as I'm using Entity. Now, I think all I need is some kind of recursion, but I'm not sure where to begin. We appreciate any assistance.

Data Comes Back as

id   parentId    name
1    1           TopLoc
2    1           Loc1
3    1           Loc2
4    2           Loc1A

a code

public static string GetJsonLocationHierarchy(long locationID)
{
    using (EntitiesSettings context = new EntitiesSettings())
    {
        // IEnumerable of ID,ParentID,Name
        context.GetLocationHierarchy(locationID);
    }
}

I'd prefer for the outcome to be something along these lines:

{
    "id": "1",
    "parentId": "1",
    "name": "TopLoc",
    "children": [
        {
            "id": "2",
            "parentId": "1",
            "name": "Loc1",
            "children": [
                {
                    "id": "4",
                    "parentId": "2",
                    "name": "Loc1A",
                    "children": [
                        {}
                    ]
                }
            ]
        },
        {
            "id": "3",
            "parentId": "1",
            "name": "Loc2",
            "children": [
                {}
            ]
        }
    ]
}
1
9
10/8/2013 8:48:34 PM

Popular Answer

Put all of your nodes into a dictionary to convert a flat table into a hierarchy. After that, go through the dictionary iteratively, looking up each node's parent and adding it to the parent's children. The only thing left to do is locate and serialize the root from there.

Here is a program to illustrate the strategy:

class Program
{
    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        IEnumerable<Location> locations = new List<Location>
        {
            new Location { Id = 1, ParentId = 1, Name = "TopLoc" },
            new Location { Id = 2, ParentId = 1, Name = "Loc1" },
            new Location { Id = 3, ParentId = 1, Name = "Loc2" },
            new Location { Id = 4, ParentId = 2, Name = "Loc1A" },
        };

        Dictionary<int, Location> dict = locations.ToDictionary(loc => loc.Id);

        foreach (Location loc in dict.Values)
        {
            if (loc.ParentId != loc.Id)
            {
                Location parent = dict[loc.ParentId];
                parent.Children.Add(loc);
            }
        }

        Location root = dict.Values.First(loc => loc.ParentId == loc.Id);

        JsonSerializerSettings settings = new JsonSerializerSettings
        {
            ContractResolver = new CamelCasePropertyNamesContractResolver(),
            Formatting = Formatting.Indented
        };
        string json = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(root, settings);

        Console.WriteLine(json);
    }
}

class Location
{
    public Location()
    {
        Children = new List<Location>();
    }

    public int Id { get; set; }
    public int ParentId { get; set; }
    public string Name { get; set; }
    public List<Location> Children { get; set; }
}

This is the result:

{
  "id": 1,
  "parentId": 1,
  "name": "TopLoc",
  "children": [
    {
      "id": 2,
      "parentId": 1,
      "name": "Loc1",
      "children": [
        {
          "id": 4,
          "parentId": 2,
          "name": "Loc1A",
          "children": []
        }
      ]
    },
    {
      "id": 3,
      "parentId": 1,
      "name": "Loc2",
      "children": []
    }
  ]
}
12
10/8/2013 9:43:32 PM


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