What to use – JSON or XML

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By Vijay Singh Khatri

JSON and XML are both widely used. They both contribute to the task of storing complex data in a format that different Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, and programming languages such as JavaScript, Python, and others can easily understand and read. The importance of this type of technology stems from the fact that data structuring is required for successful data sharing. Nonetheless, despite working toward a similar goal, they operate in different ways. This article compares JSON and XML in order to help you understand how they work and which one you should use. Let’s get right to the point: JSON vs. XML.

What is JSON?

First, let us see what JSON is. The term “JSON” means “JavaScript Object Notation.” It is a file format that utilizes text that humans are capable of reading to stow and transmit data objects that have attribute-value pairs as well as arrays. JSON aids users in stowing data in a sorted and easily accessible way. FYI, it provides a logically accessible set of info that humans can easily read.

What is XML?

Now, let’s take a look at XML. XML is nothing but an extensible markup language to help store data. Users across the world mostly utilise it for data transfer purposes. FYI, this extensible markup language is case-sensitive. XML lets users define markup elements and create custom markup languages. The fundamental unit of an XML language is an element, and an XML file contains an element with the.xml extension.

History of JSON

Needless to say, we must know a couple of things about the history of this file format. So, here are some significant facts regarding the history of JSON:

  1. The man behind defining the JSON file format back in the early 2000s was Douglas Crockford.
  2. In the year 2000, JSON’s official website was made public.
  3. In December 2005, Yahoo! began providing multiple web services in JSON.
  4. In 2013, JSON achieved a huge feat by becoming an Ecma international standard.
  5. The most up-to-date JSON format standard we know today came into being a few years ago – in 2017.

History of XML

Now that we know JSON’s history, it’s time to learn some stuff about XML too. So, here are some facts about XML’s history:

  1. XML comes from the standard generalized markup language (SGML).
  2. In 1970, Charles Goldfarb, Ray Lorie, and Ed Mosher together discovered Geography Markup Language (GML)—the XML grammar specified by OGC.
  3. At Sun Microsystems, the developers started developing XML back in 1996.
  4. XML version 1.0 was made public back in February 1998.
  5. In January 2001, XML media types became the IETF’s proposed standard.

JSON features

Listed below are features offered by JSON to its users.

  • It’s free— First and foremost, the JSON library is an open-source library that people can make use of free of charge.
  • Cleanliness: JSON is known for generating clean, well-suited results that can be read with ease.
  • Zero dependency: The JSON library is self-sufficient and does not rely on some other library for processing.
  • Easy to use: The JSON API is also known for providing a high-level facade that makes things all the more effortless for the user.
  • There is no need to create a map –The JSON API offers its users a default mapping to serialize various objects. So, there’s no need to create
  • Performance: JSON doesn’t consume a lot of memory, which in turn makes it pretty fast. This is why JSON is an ideal choice for large object graphs or systems.

Features of XML

  • No predefined tags – XML tags do not come in a predefined form. You would have to specify your custom tags.
  • Easy to understand – XML’s markup code can be easily understood by a human being.
  • Easy to read and write – The structured format of XML makes it possible to read and write from programs without breaking a sweat.
  • Carries data, not shows it – XML is designed in such a way that it can only carry data yet not permit you to show that data.
  • Extensible markup language Just like HTML, XML is also an extensible markup language.
  • JSON vs. XML – Major dissimilarities

Let us now inform you about the main differences between these two:

  1. The JSON object contains a type, while XML data is typeless.
  2. JSON data can be instantly accessed as JSON objects. On the contrary, XML data requires parsing first.
  3. The majority of web browsers out there support JSON, while cross-browser XML parsing can be a bit problematic.
  4. There are four JSON data types: string, Boolean, array, and number. XML data, on the other hand, should only be a string.
  5. JSON offers no display ability. Contrarily, XML provides the ability to show data as it is a markup language.
  6. Numerous Ajax toolkits support JSON, while Ajax toolkits do not entirely support XML.
  7. In the case of XML, however, developers must write JS code to serialize or de-serialize.
  8. JSON supports UTF-8 encoding only. Contrarily, XML supports many different encodings.
  9. JSON provides no support for comments and namespaces. XML, in contrast, supports comments and namespaces.
  10. JSON is not that safe and secure, while JSON is a better choice regarding security.


Now that we’ve gone over the differences between JSON and XML, you should have a better understanding of how they work and what features they provide. We’re supposed to be crystal clear on one point here. There is no definitive answer as to which is the better option because it varies greatly from person to person. As you can see from the article, JSON supports all browsers, is compatible with most modern programming languages, does not require parsing and provides immediate access, is supported by numerous Ajax toolkits, and so on.

On the contrary, XML complicates cross-browser parsing, does not work well with modern programming languages, requires parsing to access, is not fully supported by Ajax toolkits, and so on.

However, not everything about JSON is good. JSON is not very secure, while XML is more secure than JSON. Also, JSON doesn’t support namespaces and comments, while XML offers namespace and comment support. Plus, JSON only supports UTF-8 encoding, which is in direct contrast to XML, which provides various encoding support. So, it’s hard to declare a winner in the JSON vs. XML battle. Thus, you’ve got to pick the one that best fulfills your needs.

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