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What is JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)

JavaScript Object Notation, or JSON for short, was designed to help store information in an organized, easy-to-access manner. As a scripting language it's human-readable. This greatly simplifies the process of working with large data collections. Through its logical structure, JSON is easy for machines to parse and generate. This has allowed a number of advancements to the way data is transmitted between servers and web applications.

Originally derived from JavaScript, JSON was first specified and popularized by Douglas Crockford. Borrowing from the JavaScript Standard ECMA-262 3rd edition, Crockford began the development of JSON in 1999. Although completely language independent, JSON does include text conventions that are similar to those used in C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python and more. It is this crossover that makes JSON such an ideal candidate for data-interchange.

With more and more websites powered by AJAX, it has become increasingly important that a site be able to load data asynchronously. This means that page elements are rendered in the background in real-time with no perceptible delays or page loading. Due to the popularity of social media, many sites now seek to feature content produced offsite, by other sites like Flickr or Twitter. Although these sites provide an RSS feed allowing their content to be imported, there's a problem. AJAX only allows server-side requests from the same domain that it's hosted on. JSON addresses this issue.

In terms of compatibility, JSON is able to interact with a wide variety of different programs. Developed to allow for more efficient communication between server and web application, many of these programs are browser-related. All of the major web browsers including Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari, and more support the ongoing development and use of JSON. Due to it being based on, and sharing many characteristics with JavaScript; JSON can be used in nearly every scenario that Java is applicable.

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