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JSON Defined

Data is king. But knowing how to work with a variety of data has become even more important. Programmers, developers, and IT professionals need to transfer populated data structures from any language to formats that are recognizable by other languages and platforms. JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is the data-exchange format that makes this possible.

JSON has become popular as a data format for developers because of its human-readable text, which is lightweight, requires less coding, and processes faster.

JSON data types and examples

JSON can be used in JavaScript programs without any need for parsing or serializing. It is a text-based way of representing JavaScript object literals, arrays, and scalar data.

JSON is relatively easy to read and write, while also easy for software to parse and generate. It is often used for serializing structured data and exchanging it over a network, typically between a server and web applications.

At the granular level, JSON consists of data types.

  1. String
  2. Number
  3. Boolean
  4. Null
  5. Object
  6. Array

String

A string in JSON is composed of Unicode characters, with backslash (\) escaping.

Example

{ "name" : "Jones" }
	

Number

A JSON number follow JavaScript’s double-precision floating-point format.

Example

{
  "number_1" : 210,
  "number_2" : 215,
  "number_3" : 21.05,
  "number_4" : 10.05
}
	

Boolean

Boolean values are either designated as true or false. Boolean values are not surrounded within quotes and are treated as string values.

Example

{ "AllowPartialShipment" : false }
	

Null

Null is an empty value. When there is no value to assigned to a key, it can be treated as null.

Example

{ "Special Instructions" : null }
	

Object

JSON object data type is a set of name or value pairs inserted between {} (curly braces). The keys must be strings and should be unique separated by comma.

Example

{
  "Influencer" :   { "name" : "Jaxon" ,  "age" : "42" ,  "city" ,  "New York" }
}
	

Array

An array data type is an ordered collection of values. In JSON, array values must be of type string, number, object, array, Boolean, or null.

Example

{

"Influencers" :   [ 
{
 "name" : "Jaxon", 
 "age" : 42, 
 "Works At" : "Tech News"
}

{
 "name" : "Miller", 
 "age" : 35
 "Works At" : "IT Day"
}

] 
}
	

Now that JSON and its data types have been identified and described, let’s explore how they can be used.

Top use cases for JSON

JSON Tutorial

Explore the new functionality for working with JSON documents stored in Database.

JSON Use Cases

1.  Generating a JSON object from user-generated data

JSON is perfect for storing temporary data. For example, temporary data can be user-generated data, such as a submitted form on a website. JSON can also be used as a data format for any programming language to provide a high level of interoperability.

2.  Transferring data between systems

A website database has a customer’s mailing address, but the address needs to be verified via an API to make sure it’s valid. Send the address data in JSON format to the address validation service API.

3.  Configuring data for applications

When developing applications, each application needs the credentials to connect to a database as well as a log file path. The credentials and the file path can be specified in a JSON file to be read and available.

4.  Simplifying complex data models

JSON simplifies complex documents down to the components that have been identified as being meaningful by converting the process of data extraction to a predictable and human readable JSON file.

Why JSON is popular with developers

JSON has gained momentum in API code programming and web services because it helps in faster data interchange and web service results. It is text-based, lightweight, and has an easy-to-parse data format requiring no additional code for parsing. For web services, the need to return and display a lot of data makes JSON the ideal choice.

JSON Developer’s Guide

Explore the new functionality for working with JSON documents stored in Database.

Access the Developers Guide

What is a document database?

A document database is a type of nonrelational database designed to store, retrieve, and manage document-oriented information. Rather than having a schema defined upfront, document databases allow for storing data in collections consisting of documents. NoSQL databases and JSON databases are types of document databases.

Document databases are often popular among developers because they store data in a document-model format (semi-structured) rather than relational (structured). Document databases offer more flexibility, because developers don’t have to plan out the schemas ahead of time and they can use the same format they’re using in their application code. This means the careful planning of a SQL database isn’t as necessary, which makes document databases useful for rapidly evolving schemas, which can be common in software development. But this can come at the cost of speed, size, and specificity.

What is a JSON document database?

Applications that use different JSON data types and JSON-oriented query language can interact with data stored in a JSON document database. The JSON document database also provides native support for JSON.

Characteristics that define a JSON document database:

  • A JSON document database is a nonrelational database designed to store and query as JSON documents
  • JSON data in the database is textual, but the text can be stored using data type BLOB, VARCHAR2, CLOB, or binary JSON data type in 21c
  • Accessing JSON data stored in the database is similar to accessing other database data, including using OCI, .NET, and JDBC
  • JSON data in a JSON document database can be stored, indexed, and queried without any need for a schema that defines the data

Working with a JSON document database

As stated earlier, JSON s a lightweight data transfer format that has set the standard for document exchange. Let’s take a look how to store and manage JSON data in a JSON document database.

Storing JSON data

Storing JSON data in a JSON document database makes use of columns whose data types are VARCHAR2, CLOB, BLOB, or binary JSON data type in 21c. The choice of which to use is usually determined by the size of the JSON documents. Storing JSON data in the database using standard SQL data types means that JSON data can be manipulated like any other data type.

Managing JSON data

JSON data can be managed and manipulated with tables in a JSON document database, regardless of the data type, The choice of which table to use is typically motivated by the size of the JSON documents. One of the features of Database is being able to easily replicate tables that have columns using JSON data.

JSON document database use cases

A native JSON document database gives developers the ability to view, create, and ultimately know more.

Not only are the customers in a database identified as names and addresses, their respective attributes can be assigned as values and appear in arrays for personalized product recommendations and more compelling engagements.

The effectiveness of JSON data depends solely on the database powering it.

Applications with more personalized experiences Deliver engaging personalized customer experiences and provide real-time recommendations on multiple digital properties.
Content and catalog management Develop content management and product catalog services that handle a wide variety of attributes and metadata.
Integrated IoT applications Create integrated applications for clickstream, monitoring, logging, and sensor systems to process millions of inserts and retrievals per second, generating new insights without compromising data accuracy.

JSON data and an autonomous database

A JSON document database not only offers native support for JSON data types; it also allows for easy migrations, low-code development, and no changes in schema when it comes to storing and managing. What if there was a way to make use of the benefits of JSON in a serverless environment? A cloud document database makes it simple to develop JSON applications with automated provisioning, scaling, and repairing while delivering 99.995% availability.

Watch an introduction to Oracle Autonomous JSON Database.