[Json] JSON irritants

Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com> Wed, 03 August 2016 05:18 UTC

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From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2016 22:17:36 -0700
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Subject: [Json] JSON irritants
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I have recently been doing an unreasonable amount of JSON work, what with
editing the drafts here, helping design AWS’s CloudWatch Events service
[1], and now working on an interesting JSON DSL that with any luck will
decloak later this year.

I have encountered the following irritants:

1. When hand-editing JSON, it is unreasonably difficult to get the commas
right.
2. When using JSON numbers, the sender *always* knows whether integers or
floats are intended, but there’s no way to communicate this information.
3. There is no timestamp literal.

Then I realized that the comma is not necessary to the grammar, it’s only
there for JavaScript compatibility.  Bah.  Anyhow, here’s the example
object from RFC7159:

   {
     "Image": {
         "Width":  800,
         "Height": 600,
         "Title":  "View from 15th Floor",
         "Thumbnail": {
             "Url":    "http://www.example.com/image/481989943",
             "Height": 125,
             "Width":  100
         },
         "Animated" : false,
         "IDs": [116, 943, 234, 38793]
       }
   }

Here’s a version with a couple more fields and the irritants removed:

  {
     "Image": {
         "Width":  i800
         "Height": i600
         "Title":  "View from 15th Floor"
         "Thumbnail": {
             "Url":    "http://www.example.com/image/481989943"
             "Height": i125
             "Width":  i100
         }
         "Location": {
             "Latitude": f49.399673
             "Longitude": f-123.508437
         }
         "Animated" : false
         "Capture Time": @2016-08-01T18:15:00Z
         "IDs": [i116 i943 i234 i38793]
       }
   }


I thought of a friendly acronym and bought a domain name and wrote an I-D
too, but I thought it might be polite and useful to test the waters here,
example first.

[1]
http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonCloudWatch/latest/DeveloperGuide/CloudWatchEventsandEventPatterns.html