XML vs JSON: 12 Must-Know Facts

  • Both JSON and XML can receive data from a web server.
  • Both JSON and XML break down complex data into a human-readable format to various APIs and programming languages.
  • JSON is extended from JavaScript, while XML has been derived from SGML.
  • JSON is smaller than XML because its serialized syntax has less redundancy.
  • XML has the starting and ending tags, while JSON doesn’t use an end tag
  • JSON can be used only on UTF-8 encoding, whereas XML supports many encoding formats.
  • JSON is less secure in data storage, while XML has well-structured security for all its data.
  • Both JSON and XML can be parsed to construct an object described by the string.
  •  JSON used data interchange in its formatting while XML used markup language 
  • XML is extended to Numerous languages, including XHTML, RSS, Atom, and KML.
  • Both JSON and XML are open and free formats.
  • The latest XML version is 1.1 (2nd ed.), released on September 29, 2006.

Both Extensible Markup Language (XML) and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) are designed to share data across web servers easily. Although they use different programming languages, they are powerful and actively used by many companies globally. However, depending on the file you need to format, some key differences may lead to you selecting XML or JSON.

For instance, it will be easy to format files using JSON because it is fast and user-friendly. It has type variables, meaning you can easily specify your objects’ text, numbers, and dates. It would be best to avoid XML when creating files because it has a complex schema system. Therefore, you may find a lot of errors in your document. On the other hand, if you need to transfer a file created on images, charts, or graphs, XML will work best because JSON only supports text-type and number-type data. 

Therefore, it will be best to clearly understand which file formatting tool between XML and JSON will work effectively depending on your tasks. Read on to find detailed information between XML vs. JSON.

XML vs json: Side by Side Comparison 

XMLJSON
What it isThe markup language used in data exchange that is divided with a string of commands and a tag structure for easy transmission of dataThe data format that is written in JavaScript and is language-independent
Primary UseStore, transmit, display, and create formats for dataUsed to transfer data across web applications
NameExtensible Markup LanguageJavaScript Object Notation
Conceived19962000
Initial ReleaseFebruary 1998April 2001
Influential DevelopersTim Bray, Jean Paoli, Eve Maler, Francoi Yergeau, Michael Sperberg-McQueen, John W. CowanDouglas Crockford, Chip Morningstar
Open SourceYes Yes
Written inMarkup LanguageData Interchange
Technical CommitteeISO/IEC 19503:2005(en)ISO/IEC 21778:2017, RFC 8259
Technologies InfluencedStock trading, Electronic Banking, Online retail stores, integrating company systems File configuration, games, text editors, API
Derived  fromSGMLJavaScript

Summary of XML VS JSON

XML: The Complete History

Extensible Markup Language (XML) was an extension of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SMGL) designed in the 1970s by a team of computer experts led by Charles Goldfarb. SMGL was a powerful tool, but many people found its long process of formatting, transferring, and maintaining data was tedious. For this reason, XML was introduced to enable web developers to set up their sites and update them quickly. However, it’s not as fast as JSON. 

XML is used to store, transmit, display, and create formats for data, while JSON is used to transfer data across web applications.

Before the introduction of XML in 1998, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) was an application that was intended to improve data display. HTML is still preferred by many people in data presentation but can not be reliable in storing and securing created file formats. Therefore, XML was developed as a serialization tool in that it can perfectly perform the role of SGML and HTML. 

Both XML vs. JSON was designed to format human-readable and Machine-readable data. But the difference is the type of format. XML uses tag structure and Markup language. XML tags carry data encoded according to the specification of XML standards. The XML schema defines the data on XML tags and validates them if it adheres to basic XML rules. This means the data must be well-formed inside the tag structure to be meaningful. 

Several XML schemas have been developed to help define XML-based languages. Specific grammatical rules govern the schema systems. The document must contain only properly encoded legal Unicode characters, and the start-tag and end-tag must match exactly. Web developers have created application programming interfaces (APIs) to better process XML data. Many document formats developed by programmers using XML syntax, including RSS, Atom, Office Open XML, OpenDocument, SVG, and XHTML. These documents must be structured under the elements declared in the Document Type Definition (DTD).

XML is much more secure in storing data than JSON. It has improved its communication system using SOAP and XMPP to ensure information is transferred using any variation of a physical quantity. The communication protocol defines the rules, syntax, and semantics that must be followed to transmit information effectively. Also, it provides synchronization of communication, ensuring smooth data transmission and a possible error recovery method if a piece of information is lost. 

Committing an error while using XML is common because of its complex syntax. The texts not validated in any created XML document are automatically excluded as they are not readable to XML. Therefore, a policy referred to as “draconian error handling” was created to allow web developers to report errors and stop further document processing. 

JSON: Used in Much More Than data display

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) was created by Douglas Crockford at his company State Software in 2000-2001. It is designed to be a text-only format for storing and exchanging data. JSON can quickly transfer data between computers because the text-only format is small, making it better than XML. Its speed has made JSON vastly popular for robust data that needs to be accessed by JavaScript programs or other types of software. The fact that several international standards such as  ISO/IEC 21778:2017 and RFC 8259 are using JSON is a clear indication of its dominance. 

You can easily create a JSON file because it only requires the properties and values of the data you want to create. Its syntax is extremely brief, unlike that of XML, and the information in a JSON object can easily be parsed into longlist data in any programming application. 

JSON objects are strings that are much easier to create documents than XML. Its properties are defined and then given values. JSON also supports numbers, other JSON objects, arrays, Booleans (see the biography of George Boole), and null values. However, functions, dates, and other data types are not defined.

Both JSON and XML formats are created to display human-readable data to web pages. However, JSON is very effective because it can be written in any text editor and viewed in any file viewer that opens text files. Once they are saved, JSON files can be accessed by programs written in numerous languages using language-specific parsing functions to retrieve and store data.

An example of JSON programming language

XML vs. JSON: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

XML Pros:

  • XML separates can be used to retrieve data from HTML
  • XML has a simple platform change procedure
  • XML is more secure in storing documents
  • It has an error reporting policy
  • Allow formatting of images, graphs, and other documents. 

XML Cons:

  • XML schema is complex and hard to understand
  • It requires a processing app
  • It is largely because of its long tag structure
  • Users cannot create their tags
  • No intrinsic data type support

Jsons Pros:

  • It can run on all browsers
  • JSON is easy to understand 
  • It does Not have complex syntax
  • You can use JSON on all JavaScript framework
  • Most recent technologies support JSON

JSON Cons:

  • It lacks the namespace support
  • JSON is not very secure in storing data
  • Limited development in tool support

From the pros and cons above, we have a deeper look at which is better. Although XML and JSON are similar in most cases, JSON will be the best choice for any complex work you perform. First, you can transfer files much faster using JSON than XML. JSON file sizes are smaller because it’s only text-type and is organized without empty tags, displaying clear texts. You can also create objects faster because much of the properties are already defined, and the process is not complicated. Another boost on JSON is its compatibility with all web browsers; thus, you can use any platform online.

Up Next…

XML vs JSON: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is XML better than JSON?

Although the answer solely depends on the kind of task you want to perform. Many web developers have given credit to JSON because of its speed and easy syntax. Unlike complicated XML schema, JSON has well-defined properties enabling you to create error-free objects. Additionally, JSON format is compatible with all JavaScript frameworks; hence, you can select your favorite.

What is the difference between JSON and XML?

  • JSON is based on JavaScript language, while XML is extended from SMGL. 
  • JSON uses data interchange as its type of format while XML uses the markup language its type of format
  • JSON does not support namespace, whereas XML provides support for namespaces
  • Jsons files are easy to read and write, while XML documents are challenging to create, read and understand.
  • JSON does not have tags while XML as starting and ending tags
  • Jsons does not provide support for comments, while XML supports comments
  • JSON only supports UTF-* encoding while XML can support multiple encoding
  • Jsons supports array, whereas XML does not support an array
  • JSON file security is not strong, while XML has a strong data security 
  • JSON is a way of representing objects, while XML uses markup language together with tag structure to represent documents.

Is JSON replacing XML?

Since JSON was released, major web companies have shifted from XML. These firms are seeking serve-to-serve communication, which JSON supports. Almost all web developers want to create a website using the request-response protocol (RPC), which AJAX provides from JavaScript file formats.

Is JSON more compact than XML?

JSON is a more compact format than XML because it is faster and smaller. JSON is lighter because it requires fewer characters to format a file, unlike, XML requires many properties in order to create a document. 

Which is easier: XML or JSON?

JSON is much easier than XML because it’s parsed into a defined JavaScript object. Therefore, many properties are provided, and a user only needs to insert a few characters. Also, JSON does not restrict users with hard rules while creating a file; hence, it’s much quicker to design an object.

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