more json and java

My post yesterday was actually intended to be a placeholder where I was planning to include a build of Douglas Crockfords Java JSON library that I have been using on some recent projects. However, I seemed to get carried away while writing and, as you can see, ended rabbiting on more than I intended. The result of this was that by the time I got to the end of it, I could no longer see where my original point fitted in to the discussion.

For the record, there are other Java JSON libraries (, and to name two) but these are way way way too complicated for a simple application, and/or also have far too many dependences. The files in the jar file included at the end of this post work out the box, no need for other libraries.

So, anyway, today I thought I may as well get round to putting this jar file up on this site . This is not something that you can’t get elsewhere but I wanted it easily available for ME. Also, if like me, you are happy just to get a jar file, and really don’t want the hassle of building the (small) library, then you can just get it from this ere blog; at the time when I built this I could only seem to find the source, hence why I thought I may as well build it myself and host it. The javadoc for the code can be found at and the link to the Java jar file I created can be downloaded using this link. If anyone has any issues with me hosting it then let me know and I will take it down, otherwise enjoy it.

Java JSON Library jar file

json is where it’s at

Well people I must say that I have come to LOVE JSON quite a bit in the last few months. Having used in on several projects both in work and in play.

However, not so long ago, I used XML for my configuration and data passing needs. I have always pretty much hated (YES! I said it in public) XML. Everything you do with it just seems loooooooong and verbose; a bit like the applications that (over)use it.

I mean we could just abandon structure altogether in a document and save time by not tagging anything, but where does that get us? Nowhere I imagine. It’s nice to have structure, just not an overwhelming amount that XML provides, especially when you only need it for are some simple config files, or sending messages between processes. XML is especially wasteful of space when you have a rather large file with a structure like below, multiplied by 10,000:


The above is data basically representing a list of choices, in strict order, for a person with id 1. So, person 1 prefers person 8 to person 3, person 3 to person 4 etc. To me it was better than what people used before XML, and let me tell you is still used now, which is:

1 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 13 17 18 19

Yes this is simple, clean and has no “spare” characters being used. However, when you have a problem with person number 7868, it makes debugging a little harder. It also makes changing person 7868’s prferences also very difficult.

With JSON this can be done as follows:

{ 'id' : 1,
  'prefs' : [1,3,4,5,6,7,9,10,11,13,17,18,19]}

It just sits as a very nice compromise between the latter schools of thought. I realise that this may seem very specific but I’m certain that it’s true in general. Not only is it less verbose, it is also easy to integrate with JavaScript on the client side of any web app, and for me with a little nurturing JavaScript is gonna be where it is ALL at it a few years time.

So the next time you go to use XML in a project, have a think first and see if JSON is your new friend.