JSON vs XML: What’s the Difference?

Popular formats for parsing. Benefits of JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and XML. What is their syntax and what they look like.

JSON vs XML: What’s the Difference?

When to use JSON vs XML? What is difference between XML and JSON with example?

Apart from HTML, pictures, and videos on the site must be transmitted and displayed various information. To transfer information both for the integration and for websites we use certain data formats. JSON and XML are used for receiving and sending data from a web-server.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a simple data exchange format based on the JavaScript programming language. It uses human-readable text to transmit data objects.

Syntax Example:


{«firstName»:«Lev», «lastName»:«Tolstoy»},

{«firstName»:«Anna», «lastName»:«Karenina»},

{«firstName»:«Aleksey», «lastName»:«Vronsky»},


What is better – JSON vs XML? It depends. If you are working with Python JSON vs XML – JSON is preferred.

JSON syntax rules

JSON vs XML simple syntax:

  • The data is specified in pairs with the name/value separated by a colon “firstName”: “Lev”.
  • Data is separated by commas “firstName”: “Anna”, “lastName”:”Karenina”
  • The curly brackets holds the object 

{“firstName”: “Lev”, “lastName”: “Tolstoy”},

  • Square brackets contain arrays 

Benefits of JSON

JSON vs XML more advantages:

  • Less gab and more action

XML requires opening and closing tags, and JSON uses name/value pairs clearly defined “{“and”}” for objects, “[“and”]” for arrays, “,” (comma) to separate the pair, and “:” (colon) to separate the name from the value.

  • Size matters

With the same information volume, JSON is considerably smaller, which means faster transfer and processing.

  • Proximity to JavaScript 

JSON is a subset of JavaScript, so the code for its analysis and packaging fits a JavaScript code.


XML is a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. But the more information (attachments, comments, tag variations, etc.) in XML, the harder it is to read.

XML stores data in a text format. This allows you to store, transfer, and exchange data independently of software and hardware. XML simplifies the extension or updating to the newest OS, applications or browsers without losing data.

Syntax Example:


XML syntax

Although JSON format vs XML is easier to compose, XML syntax is not too complex:

  1. The entire XML document must have a root element.
  2. All tags should be closed (or a self-closing tag).
  3. All tags must be correctly attached.
  4. Tag names are case-sensitive.
  5. Tag names cannot contain spaces.
  6. Attribute values should appear in quotes (“).
  7. Attributes may not have an attachment (as opposed to tags).
  8. The gap is retained.

XML benefits

Reasoning about JSON vs XML, we see that XML has the following benefits:

  • Support for metadata

One of the biggest advantages of XML is that we can place metadata into the tags in the form of attributes. In JSON the attributes will be added as other member fields in the data representation, which can NOT be desired.

  • Browser visualization

Most browsers display XML in a readable and organized form. The XML tree structure allows users to naturally curtail separate tree elements. This feature will be particularly useful when debugging.

  • Support for Mixed Content

A good way to use XML is to be able to transfer mixed content within the same payload of data. This mixed content is clearly differentiated by different tags.

JSON vs XML difference

For clarity, let’s define the similarities and differences between XML and JSON.

Text formats which are:

  • readable;
  • have a  hierarchical structure;
  • can be used in many programming languages;
  • can be obtained by using XMLHttpRequest.

Generalizing JSON vs XML difference and difference between JSON and XML web services:

eXtensible Markup Language
JavaScript Object Notation
Language Text format
Represents data elements Used for objects representation
No direct array support Supports text and numeric data types, arrays and objects
Uses opening and closing tags Does not use closing tags, but instead uses  brackets (curly and square)
Supports the namespace Does not support namespaces
More secure Less secure
Supports the comments Does not support the comments
Independent data format which supports different encodings A data interchange language  is independent which only supports UTF-8 encoded text files