I'm an old school guy who has been working mostly in enterprise software environments, which means using XML for data integrations, besides, RSS used to be the man. The first generation of Twenity (Twitfluence) was using XML feeds, and this blog is using mostly RSS for fetching entries from other sources. XML was the standard we all spoke, very cute and readable, but on the other hand, not so easy to parse. At that time, this fact didn't represent such a major problem, since a few more lines of code took care of everything. But today is a different situation.
It was Twitter who first started dropping support for XML, which annoyed the hell out of me. I had to start rewriting things for JSON. This turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened, since JSON seems to be loved by everyone. It's super easy to use with jQuery, but since I'm a server-side type of a guy, it's even more important that it's cleverly integrated into asp.net. Fetch the data, store it, do crazy shit with it.
JSON is serializable into a .net object with a single line of code. Create the class with parameters compliant with the the specific JSON structure, serialize the response string into that class, and everything automagically works. Piece of cake, unlimited opportunities. Take Twitter for example:
Make the basic Tweet class:
public class Tweet
public string id_str;
public string text;
Create the request to access a tweet (funny, the hardest thing to do):
string url = "http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/show/274508827146215424.json";
HttpWebRequest request = (HttpWebRequest)HttpWebRequest.Create(url);
request.Method = "GET";
WebResponse response = request.GetResponse();
StreamReader reader = new StreamReader(response.GetResponseStream());
string jsonResponse = reader.ReadToEnd();
Which will return something like this (play here):
"created_at": "Fri Nov 30 13:42:59 +0000 2012",
"text": ""Facebook knows what we say, Google knows what we think",
Serialize the response string into an object:
Tweet tweet = new Tweet();
tweet = js.Deserialize<Tweet>(jsonResponse);
Pretty neat. Since I've started using JSON, mashups have become easier than ever to make. With one of our latest projects, we've integrated our application with Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Flickr. For breakfast! XML may have its advantages, but for such things, JSON is simply the greatest. All hail the new lord!