The two most common data formats on the web are JSON and XML. They are both used to store data in a structured format, but they have some key differences.


What is JSON?

JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is a syntax for storing and exchanging data and used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML. JSON is a text format that is language independent, meaning, you can open and parse the content of it in any programming language.

Here is an example of JSON documents:

    "message": {
        "to": "John",
        "from": "Bob",
        "heading": "Reminder!",
        "body": "Don't forget me this weekend",

AnyAPI uses JSON as a data exchange format, an example is our Free Currency Exchange API which accepts JSON payloads and return responses in JSON:

  "lastUpdate": 1640131200,
  "base": "EUR",
  "rates": {
    "EUR": 1,
    "USD": 1.1301,
    "JPY": 129.08,
    "BGN": 1.9558,
    "INR": 85.407,
    "PHP": 56.772,
    "SGD": 1.5422,
    "THB": 38.13,
    "ZAR": 17.9668

What is XML?

XML is a markup language that is used to encode documents in a format that is both human-readable and machine-readable. It is commonly used to create applications that can be run on a variety of devices.

Think of XML as a database management system that is used to store and retrieve data. You can use this elegant markup language to store key/values where each value can be a nested data structure. XML documents can be opened and edited in most modern IDEs and it is usually fairly easy to understand for most people.

Following is an example of an XML payload:

    <body>Don't forget me this weekend</body>


JSON and XML are both data formats that are used to store data in a structured format. JSON is a newer format that is used more often than XML, but both formats are still used by developers.

JavaScript Object Notation or JSON easily read and write by humans. JSON supports data types such as arrays, strings, integers, objects, and Booleans. JSON is easy to parse in JavaScript whereas XML documents need to be parsed before you can use them in your JavaScript program.

XML supports data types such as strings, integers, and Booleans but arrays are not natively supported. XML is a self-descriptive markup language that is commonly used to define application configs.