YAML vs. JSON: What’s the Difference?


YAML and JSON are both popular data serialization languages. Both have similar functions and features that allow us to present data objects and structures using a simple syntax. See YAML vs JSON head to head and understand where the advantages and disadvantages lie.

YAML Example

    -   app:  user-authentication
         port:  9000
         version: 1.0

JSON Example

   microservices: [
      app: “user-authentication”,
      port: 9000
      version: “1.0”

YAML and JSON Advantages Comparison

YAML has a very simple and compact syntax that uses indentation to denote structures.

Support scalars (number, string, boolean) and collections (map, set, pairs, and sequence).

YAML has the ability to process complex data types and structures.

YAML has the comment and anchors feature that allows users to create comments with # symbol and anchor with the & symbol.
JSON syntax is compact, simple, readable for humans with limited markup

JSON has faster parsing by systems and languages.

JSON can be used throughout most systems and languages.

JSON has many active communities, therefore documentation can easily be found.
YAML vs JSON Advantages

YAML and JSON Disadvantages Comparison

YAML syntax allows frequent errors.

YAML has no breakpoints.

YAML declarative makes debugging difficult.

YAML complex data structures cause the parsing process to be slow.

YAML has fewer communities in comparison to JSON which makes the documentation are relatively small.
JSON only allows limited data types (strings, numbers, JSON object, array, boolean, and null).

JSON does not accept comments, attributes, and namespace.

JSON does not support complex configuration.
YAML vs JSON Disadvantages

Use Cases

YAML and JSON are used throughout the technology and software landscape, in many capacities as well as some of the same. YAML typically is used for configuration files for common frameworks. JSON, on the other hand, is often seen for internal communication between applications. Both have uses in the OpenAPI world.

More Information

Check out our Language Features page to learn more about YAML, or check out Examples!

%d bloggers like this: