This page will cover the following to help you better understand the key differences between JSON and BSON:
BSON (which stands for Binary JSON) is a binary-encoded serialization format that supports additional data types and is natively supported only by MongoDB™. Hypothetically, BSON can be more efficient than JSON in terms of network transmission, but Couchbase, which uses JSON as its primary data format, actually outperforms MongoDB™ for many practical workloads. Also, BSON’s complexity and limited compatibility with other systems can limit its usefulness in some contexts.
What is JSON?
Because JSON is lightweight, it is efficient to transmit over a network, which is important for web-based applications that need to transfer data quickly. JSON’s user-friendly format allows it to be easily understood and edited by developers and non-developers alike. And because it’s easy for machines to parse and generate, JSON can be easily integrated into a wide range of programming languages and platforms, making it a versatile and widely adopted format for exchanging data.
JSON data is represented as key-value pairs, similar to a dictionary or hash table in other programming languages, which makes it easy for developers to understand and use in their programs. By representing data as key-value pairs, JSON provides a flexible and intuitive way to organize and access data. The key-value pair structure also makes it easy to map data to objects in various programming languages, which is useful for integrating data between different systems.
JSON supports a wide range of data types, including strings, numbers, arrays, and objects, which makes it a flexible and versatile format for representing data. This flexibility makes JSON an excellent tool for exchanging data between different systems and programming languages, and it allows developers to use JSON in a wide range of applications, from simple data storage and retrieval to complex data processing and analysis.
What is BSON?
BSON is a binary-encoded serialization format that is more compact than raw JSON, and more efficient for storing data or transmitting over a network.
BSON supports additional data types that are outside of standard JSON, such as binary data and date types. By supporting data types beyond the strings, numbers, and arrays supported by JSON, BSON can more accurately represent complex data structures and types. This increases the complexity of the format, which can make it more difficult to work with in certain contexts. There is also a greater risk of compatibility issues when exchanging data between systems that do not fully support BSON’s additional types.
MongoDB is currently the only database system that natively uses BSON as its storage format. Because BSON was developed specifically for MongoDB, it’s optimized for their unique architecture and data model, and MongoDB is able to provide support for complex data types. But because BSON is not widely supported outside of MongoDB, its usefulness is limited in some contexts, mainly when interoperability with other systems is a top priority.
Main differences between JSON and BSON
Binary vs. text: BSON is a binary-encoded format, whereas JSON is a text-based format. This means that BSON is compact for transmitting over a network, while JSON is human-readable and easier to work with in various contexts.
Supported by: BSON is natively supported only by MongoDB. JSON, on the other hand, is widely supported and can be used with distributed database systems, programming languages, and platforms.
Footprint: In some situations, BSON documents can be larger than equivalent JSON documents because they include additional metadata and type information that is not present in JSON. This can impact transmission times and storage requirements, especially for large datasets. Both BSON and JSON can benefit from compression.
Complexity and compatibility: BSON is more complex than JSON, making it difficult to work with in certain contexts. Developers may need to learn new data types and encoding/decoding methods to work with BSON effectively. Compatibility issues may also arise when exchanging data between systems that do not fully support BSON’s additional types.