Filename extension: .json
Developed by: Douglas Crockford
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JSON, which stands for JavaScript Object Notation, is a lightweight data-interchange format that is easy for humans to read and write, as well as for machines to parse and generate. Conceived by Douglas Crockford in the early 2000s as a part of the JavaScript language and inspired by the need for stateless server-to-browser communication without browser plugins, JSON has become a favored format for web APIs and config files, surpassing other data exchange formats like XML.

How JSON Works

JSON is built on two structures: a collection of name/value pairs (often realized as an object, record, struct, dictionary, hash table, keyed list, or associative array) and an ordered list of values (known as an array, vector, list, or sequence). It uses a text format that is completely language-independent but uses conventions that are familiar to programmers of the C-family of languages, including C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python, and many others. These properties make JSON an ideal data-interchange language.

Usage in Software

Software and platforms across various domains utilize JSON for storing and exchanging data. Web services and APIs often send data in JSON format for its lightweight nature and ease of integration into web applications. Configuration files for modern software systems and development tools also frequently employ JSON, favoring its simplicity and readability. Major browsers support JSON parsing and serialization directly in JavaScript, making web development processes more streamlined.

Alternatives to JSON

While JSON is popular, there are several alternatives based on specific use cases and preferences. XML was once the de facto data interchange format but is generally more verbose than JSON. YAML is another alternative that emphasizes ease of human readability, often used for config files. CSV is a simpler format commonly used for tabular data. For binary data interchange, formats like Protocol Buffers, Thrift, and Avro offer efficiency in both size and speed for serialization and deserialization over the wire.

Understanding JSON and its alternatives aids in choosing the right tool for data interchange based on project requirements, performance considerations, and team familiarity.

Supported converters for JSON files

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