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  • From: Ihe Onwuka <ihe.onwuka@gmail.com>
  • To: Peter Flynn <peter@silmaril.ie>
  • Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2017 06:14:40 -0400

Re:  XML vs JSON

JSON is built on two structures:

  • A collection of name/value pairs. In various languages, this is realized as an object, record, struct, dictionary, hash table, keyed list, or associative array.
  • An ordered list of values. In most languages, this is realized as an array, vector, list, or sequence.
These are universal data structures. Virtually all modern programming languages support them in one form or another. It makes sense that a data format that is interchangeable with programming languages also be based on these structures. 

The last sentence in the above definition begs a number of questions. 

1. Does it then follow that a data format should ONLY be based on those 2 structures.
2. If a data format such as XML, or RDF deals has programming language support for the data structures they deal in why should JSON supplant such formats and their usage.
3. A relational database is not a programming language and a relation is neither collection of name/value pairs nor an ordered list. So why should my relational database speak JSON.

And if it is all about universal programming language support for certain data structures why pick a technology that does not offer linked list the most powerful fundamental data structure of all -  as a primitive data structure.

JSON's original intention was overcoming the impedances entailed in working with XML in web development. That makes sense and given that it had very clear purpose at the outset suggests to me that asking when to use JSON instead of XML is asking the wrong question. What should be answered especially in the current climate is when
not to use JSON and that is easy. Don't use for anything they were telling you, you weren't going to need back in 2006-2008 and in my quest to verify that belief I stumbled upon this

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