programming code

How to Learn JSON: JavaScript Object Notation for Beginners

To learn JSON, you will need to understand what the programming language is used for, and follow some essential steps to make sure you’re learning it correctly. If you are into web development, programming, or creating web applications, then this JavaScript-based language will complement your existing skills.

To some, it may seem pointless to learn JSON as well as JavaScript. But, JSON is actually a quicker, more cost-effective way to transfer data than JavaScript.

Below, we’ll take a look at how JSON achieves this, and how to make JSON work for you.

What Is JSON?

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JavaScript Object Notation, or JSON, is a lightweight format used to store data and transmit it between websites and browsers. Any JavaScript object can be converted into JSON text, then sent to a server. 

The opposite is also true, so no complicated translations are required when sending JSON text or JavaScript objects. JSON is also a great tool for web developers and designers because it is both human-readable and machine-readable. 

What Is JSON Used For?

JSON’s main use is to transmit data in web applications. For example, it can be used anytime data needs to be sent from a server to a client so that it can be displayed on a webpage.

Is It Used for Programming?

JSON is not really a programming language. It can be more accurately described as a language-independent data format. JavaScript, one of the most widely-used programming languages out there, is closely related to JSON. Think of JSON as a means for transferring data. 

Transferring Data and Information

JSON’s structure makes it an effective way to serialize and send information. Its two main data structures are ordered lists and collections of names and values. JSON is supported by a range of programming languages, so it is a very valuable tool for transferring data.

Other Uses of JSON

JSON has become an industry-standard because it uses less data overall, is easy to read, and can create domain objects quickly. It reduces costs and increases programming speed. It also uses a map data structure, which makes its data organization super simple to understand.

Learn JSON: Step-by-Step

If JSON is unfamiliar to you, don’t worry. We have put together a simple guide to set you on the right path. Follow these five steps if you want to become an expert in JSON.

1. Understanding JSON Syntax

When learning a foreign language, you will start with basic words and grammar. Similarly, you must learn the syntax of JSON before you can begin to apply it. JSON’s syntax is taken from JavaScript, so they share some similarities, such as listing data in name-value pairs, and placing values in commas, curly braces, and square brackets.

2. JSON Data Types

Next, you should learn about JSON’s different data types and their values. This will involve learning the definitions for a string, an object, an array, a boolean, a null, and more. Tackling these basics before you sign up for a course in JSON will make the class much easier. Check out some of the free tutorials below for more details on these data types.

3. Take a JSON Course

Some courses will give you training in JavaScript and JSON at the same time, which can be very useful. There are all kinds of JSON courses, from introductory to advanced. Some last just 11 minutes, while some take four weeks to complete.

Students can also research coding bootcamps and degrees in fields such as computer science if they want to learn more about JSON.

4. Gain Expert Knowledge

Once you have completed a course and have started using JSON for your projects, you can focus on gaining more advanced knowledge. For example, you can look into JSONP, which is a method for sending data that circumvents any possible cross-domain issues. 

You can also check out extensions such as BSON, which is the binary form of JSON used to transfer more complex data.

The Best JSON Courses and Tutorials

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Learn JSON in no time by signing up for an online course.

Below is an excellent range of courses and online tutorials for those just starting to learn JSON. We have also included some advanced options in case you feel you are ready to take the next step. 

JSON Lesson

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 4 minutes
  • Cost: Free

This simple video tutorial about JSON provided by Real Python is a great starting point. It will introduce you to serializing, teach you how to transfer JSON data with Python, and will also cover how to use JSON with Python objects.

Intro to JSON

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 66.5 hours
  • Cost: Varies

The W3Schools website offers many suggestions about how you can use JSON to improve your workflow. In the resources on the site, you can read all about syntax, data types, strings, objects, and arrays. The website also has tutorials and examples you can use to practice your JSON skills.

JSON Processing with Java EE

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Cost: Varies (First month free)

This LinkedIn Learning course consists of a one-hour lesson and comes with a certificate of completion. In it, you will explore Java Enterprise Edition with a JSON-Processing API, learn how to query and parse JSON data, and will study object models, streaming models, and JSON structure.

JavaScript JSON and AJAX Explained

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Cost: Varies

This Udemy course is for web developers looking to use AJAX and JSON-formatted data to boost their JavaScript capabilities. It contains a total of 16 lectures and five articles.

Android Basics: Networking

  • Where: Online
  • Time: About 5 weeks 
  • Cost: Free

This self-paced Udacity course is just one part of an Android Basics Nanodegree program offered by Google. To take this course, you must be up to speed on the topics covered in the previous courses on Android for Beginners and Multiscreen Apps. In this course, you will learn JSON parsing, HTTP networking, threads, and parallelism. 

JSON Crash Course

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 11 minutes
  • Cost: Free

This quick video tutorial created by Free Code Camp and available on YouTube is a great introduction to JSON. It clearly explains JSON and its syntax, and provides examples. This tutorial is great for beginners who want to learn to code for free.

API Documentation with JSON and XML

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Cost: Varies

This intermediate course offered by Lynda focuses on application programming interface (API) documentation techniques. In it, you will learn about structured data, markdown, documentation, and how to structure data documentation.

Using JavaScript, jQuery, and JSON in Django

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 66.5 hours
  • Cost: Varies

In this Future Learn course, you will get examples of how JavaScript relates to JSON. You will learn how to manipulate the document object model (DOM), and will study valuable debugging techniques.

JSON Course

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 15 days
  • Cost: Varies 

This online Elysium Academy course lasts 15 days and covers JSON fundamentals, through live seminars and labs. To take this class, you must have a basic knowledge of JavaScript. The class also comes with a certificate of completion.

JavaScript, jQuery, and JSON

  • Where: Online
  • Time: 4 weeks
  • Cost: Varies

You can take this online University of Michigan course either through the university itself, or through the partnership the school has with massive open online course provider Coursera. To take it, you must meet several prerequisites, including experience in building web applications, particularly with PHP, and in building databases.

Is Learning JSON Right for You?

Learning JSON is right for you if you are starting a career in tech as a programmer or want to become a web developer working with JavaScript. We hope this guide has given you an idea of what JSON does, and has helped you find a course with which to learn it.

If you want to learn more about programming, check out these articles on how to become a data scientist and possible coding bootcamp scholarships you can get.

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