In Favor of JSON Over XML

We have written before advocating XML over JSON and discussed why they can’t be friends. The times are changing and technologies like XML as well as others like MySQL that have been standards for years have to adapt or fail. It is clear that JSON has taken the top of the food chain.

An article from 2008 writes on the topic of XML and its competitors. In the article it cites the following statistics:

  • xml vs yaml – 66 million
  • xml vs json – 323 thousand
  • yaml vs json – 1 million

The above reflects the fact that the debate of what open data format is best has been around for a significant amount of time and has been highly debated. The current statistics show what format is winning out:

  • xml vs yaml – 506 thousand
  • xml vs json – 2.9 million
  • yaml vs json – 480 thousand

There is significantly more debate about XML and JSON than any other. Looking at results for them individually shows that XML is certainly more discussed than JSON. XML has 1.5 billion whereas JSON has 94 million. That is reflective of the wide spread support of XML combined with its longevity. However, JSON is the leading competitor and the web has nearly unanimously decided to adopt it over XML.

Web developers think in terms of languages like PHP and JavaScript for anything dynamic when it comes to the web. For anything static they think in terms of HTML and CSS. Internet data is almost entirely based on small chunks of data used for dynamic use. Thus, developers are going to be thinking in dynamic terms. JSON format closely resembles the data structures of PHP and JavaScript which they are already familiar with. In this case, using JSON makes perfect sense.

Time will show a continued trend favorable to JSON. There are no alternatives in the world of working with dynamic content in cyberspace. Time will tell how XML will respond, but for now, JSON is in favor.

By Joe Purcell

Joe Purcell is a technology virtuoso, cyberspace frontiersman, and connoisseur of Linux, Mac, and Windows alike.

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