YUI Theater — Douglas Crockford: “The JSON Saga”

By YUI TeamAugust 11th, 2009

Douglas Crockford of Yahoo!

At the July 27 meeting of the Bayjax group, hosted here at Yahoo!, we had a lineup of terrific speakers. The first of the Bayjax talks — Douglas Crockford’s “The JSON Saga” — is now available on YUI Theater, available in high definition with a full transcript on the YUI Theater site.

Here’s a taste of what Douglas has to say in this new talk, which covers the invention of JavaScript Object Notation as a data format and its popularization and standardization.

We found [JSON] worked really well. It was extremely effective for the thing that we invented it for — being browser server communication — but we also used it a lot for inter-server communication. Our platform scaled hugely, so we could have lots and lots of boxes, and they needed to be kept in sync, and we found JSON was perfect for sending messages between the servers. We also used JSON to implement a simple database, so we just have keys, and for each key we’d store some JSON data. It made it really efficient for storing stuff and getting it back. We liked it a lot, and we tried to convince our customers that it was good. Our customers said: well, we hate it, because we’ve never heard of it. Some of our customers said: oh, I wish you’d told us this six months ago, because we just decided to go with XML, so we can’t consider anything else now. And some of the people we talked to said: it’s not a standard, so we can’t use it. I said: it is a standard, it’s a subset of ECMA 262. They said: no, that’s not a standard. OK. So in order to use this, I had to declare that this is a standard. So that’s what I did. I decided it’s going to be a standard from now on. So I bought JSON.org.

It’s a great story, and of course Douglas is a fantastic storyteller, so consider it to be an hour well spent.

Thanks again to the Bayjax team and to Gonzalo Cordero for helping to bring the event to Yahoo!.

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  1. Great video. I loved the bit about IBM at the end :P

  2. Great stuff – not only gives you some background and information, but also shows you how to approach designing something that has to be portable and useful.
    I really enjoyed the IBM bit as well (although – I can’t use JSlint for evil :/)

  3. In this talk you mentioned “JSONT language”. Is it the same as http://goessner.net/articles/jsont/ or did you mean something different? Thank you in advance for the clarification.

  4. Yes, I was talking about Stefan Gössner’s JSONT.