Solution to SignalR error 'Unexpected token in JSON' when parsing event data

I’ve been writing some UI automation tests with Playwright and was trying to parse a SignalR event. Like so:

const imageEvent = JSON.parse(event.payload.toString()) as ImageEvent;

And I got this error:

  1) tests/memealyzer.spec.ts:15:1 › Add Meme Test =================================================

    webSocket.waitForEvent: Unexpected token  in JSON at position 658

      49 |   expect(afterCardCount).toEqual(beforeCardCount + 1);
      50 |
    > 51 |   await webSocket.waitForEvent("framereceived", (event) => {
         |                   ^
      52 |     if (event.payload.indexOf("ReceiveImage") > 0) {
      53 |       const imageEvent = JSON.parse(event.payload.toString()) as ImageEvent;

As you can see from this screenshot:

It looks like a christmas tree is in my JSON. I assumed it was an invalid char added by my code or playwright’s code, etc.

Here’s what it looks like in the debugger:

So, I removed it like so:

const payload = event.payload.toString().replace("", ""); // Remove hidden char


Little did I know that character is a record separator! After I tweeted my code, David Fowler pointed me to this:

Here’s the code that SignalR uses to parse and iterate through the results:

So, instead of removing the char, I now split on it and loop through the results.

  await webSocket.waitForEvent("framereceived", (event) => {
    if (event.payload.indexOf("ReceiveImage") > 0) {
      const imageEvents = TextMessageFormat.parse(event.payload.toString());
      for (let imageEventRaw of imageEvents) {
        const imageEvent = JSON.parse(imageEventRaw) as ImageEvent;
        actualId = imageEvent.arguments[0].Id;
        return true;