opinion

JSON vs. XML: An Adult Perspective

Stephen Yagielowicz

Webmaster Central’s recent addition of JSON support to its leased content services has brought the use of this technology to the forefront of adult, but what are the benefits?

“Compelling and dynamic content is an essential component for generating revenue with adult entertainment websites,” states a Webmaster Central spokesperson. “How that content is delivered is equally important, since a growing number of porn fans are now using mobile devices to connect to the Internet.”

Some experts say that browser scripting is easier when using JSON, especially when pushing server-side data to clients.

Thus, having leased content that supports mobile and tablet ready formats is vital — and an application that may be more suited to JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) than to extensible markup language (XML) for gateway integration.

Let’s take a closer look:

According to JSON.org, the technology is a lightweight data-interchange format that is easy for humans to read and write and for machines to parse and generate. A subset of the JavaScript programming language, JSON is a text format that is completely language independent but uses conventions that are familiar to programmers of C-type languages, including JavaScript and Perl.

XML and JSON can do pretty much the same thing.

Although XML is a well established format that boasts mature toolsets and is more readily readable by humans than are many other code formats, including JSON, working directly with it when inserting data into HTML pages via JavaScript can be cumbersome — still, its openness and proven reliability keep it in favor.

But JSON has growing support due to some substantial advantages.

Some experts say that browser scripting is easier when using JSON, especially when pushing server-side data to clients, such as in Webmaster Central’s example. JSON code is also much more streamlined than XML, making typical HTML documents load faster.

JSON can also be parsed more efficiently and may be used to get around the security restrictions found in JavaScript’s same-source policy, when JSON files are imported as a <script> tag. This makes working with third-party content from different domains much easier, but care must be taken to vet content partners before allowing this level of access — there is a reason that JavaScript and other technologies prevent such code execution.

Although the superiority debate continues and the benefits are occasionally negligible from using one technology over the other, most observers today, including Ben from Ajaxian, believe that the bottom line is that JSON, combined with JavaScript, is better at delivering dynamic content than is XML.

“JSON is a better fit for web services that power web mashups and AJAX widgets due to the fact that it is essentially serialized JavaScript objects, which makes it [a better fit for] client side scripting, which is primarily done in JavaScript. That’s it,” Ben opined. “XML will never fit the bill as well for these scenarios without changes to the existing browser ecosystem which I doubt are forthcoming anytime soon.”

Take a look at how your site uses XML and see if JSON will improve the process — the cross-domain scripting advantages alone may make it well worth your while.

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