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Last Updated: Jul 12, 2024
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Difference Between JSON and XML

Author Kabir Singh
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We all work with data, and we receive enormous amounts of data from web servers. Using languages like JSON and XML, we can easily fetch data from the web server. JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and XML (eXtensible Markup Language) are two widely used formats for data interchange on the web. Both are human-readable, and platform-independent, and allow for the structuring of data, but they have distinct characteristics and use cases. JSON, known for its simplicity and ease of use with JavaScript, is often preferred in modern web development for its lightweight structure.

Difference Between JSON and XML

What is JSON?

JavaScript Object Notation can be defined as a lightweight format for data interchange, and it is entirely language-independent. Being based on the JavaScript programming language, it is easy to understand and generate.

Example : 

{"Ninjas":[
    { "firstName":"Kabir", "lastName":"Singh" },
    { "firstName":"Rahul", "lastName":"Kumar" },
    { "firstName":"Rohit", "lastName":"Oberoi" },
    { "firstName":"Samuel", "lastName":"Smith" }
]}

What is XML?

Extensible Markup Language can now be defined as a language designed to carry data rather than display data. This can be said as a language that defines a set of rules that can be used to encode documents in a specific format readable by both humans and machines.

<Ninja>

    <Ninja>

        <firstName>kabir</firstName> <lastName>singh</lastName>

    </Ninja>

    <Ninja>

        <firstName>Rahul</firstName> <lastName>Kumar</lastName>

    </Ninja>

    <Ninja>

        <firstName>Rohit</firstName> <lastName>Oberoi</lastName>

    </Ninja>

    <Ninja>

        <firstName>Samuel</firstName> <lastName>Smith</lastName>

    </Ninja>

</Ninja>

Since we have seen JSON and XML, Now let’s see the differences between both of these:

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Differences between JSON and XML

ParameterJSONXML
SyntaxLightweight, uses key-value pairsHierarchical, uses tags and attributes
ReadabilityMore readable due to simpler syntaxLess readable due to verbose syntax
Data TypesSupports fewer data types (string, number, boolean, array, object)Supports a wide range of data types (string, number, boolean, array, object, date, etc.)
Namespace SupportNot supportedSupports namespaces for defining scope
ParsingFaster parsingSlower parsing, especially for large documents
UsagePreferred for web APIs and data interchange in JavaScript-based applicationsUsed in various industries including web services, document storage, configuration files, etc.
Schema SupportNo built-in schema supportSupports schema validation with XML Schema Definition (XSD)
CommentsNot supportedSupports comments within the markup
Example{"name": "John", "age": 30}<person><name>John</name><age>30</age></person>

Now let us also have a look at some similarities between JSON and XML.

Also see, Difference Between Analog and Digital Computer

Similarities between JSON and XML

So the shared similarities between JSON and XML are as follows : 

  • Both of these are self-readable
  • Both of them are hierarchical. 
  • Both can be parsed and used by several programming languages.
  • Both can be fetched with an XMLHttpRequest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is JSON better than XML?

When we consider readability, then JSON is better, but as a whole, we can say that XML is more potent than JSON.

When should I use JSON over XML and vice versa?

Use JSON for lightweight data interchange in web APIs and JavaScript-based applications due to its simplicity and ease of use. Choose XML for more complex data structures, schema validation, and interoperability with legacy systems.

Can JSON and XML be used together?

Yes, JSON and XML can be used together in a hybrid approach called JSON/XML hybrid, where each format is used for different parts of the data interchange process, allowing for flexibility and interoperability between systems.

Why did JSON replace XML?

JSON replaced XML in many web applications due to its lightweight syntax, faster parsing, and better compatibility with JavaScript. JSON's simplicity and ease of use made it a preferred choice for web APIs and data interchange in modern web development.

Conclusion

In this article, we went through the differences between JSON and XML. Understanding the distinctions between JSON and XML is crucial for effective data interchange and system interoperability. While JSON offers simplicity, speed, and compatibility with JavaScript-based applications, XML provides a robust framework for complex data structures and schema validation. 

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