Difference between BSON and JSON

Several modern apps use the data transmission and storage formats BSON and JSON, which are both widely used. Both BSON and JSON are built on key-value pair formats, despite the fact that they differ in a number of important aspects. Developers must be aware of the differences between BSON and JSON in order to choose the best format for their application.

In this tutorial, the similarities and differences between BSON and JSON, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, will be covered. We will also go through how to convert between the two formats and provide examples of when each format is most suited for a particular use case.

What is JSON?

A lightweight data-exchange format called JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is used to send and store structured data. It is frequently used in web applications to communicate data between a server and a client and is based on a subset of the JavaScript computer language.

Like a dictionary or associative array, JSON data is displayed as key-value pairs. The values can be strings, numbers, booleans, arrays, or other JSON objects, whereas the keys are always strings.

Here is an illustration of a basic JSON object −

{ "name": "John", "age": 30, "city": "New York" } 

The values for the keys "name," "age," and "city" in this example are "John," "30," and "New York," respectively.

Advantages of JSON

  • Lightweight and simple to read − JSON is a simple format that is simple for both machines and people to read and write. It is more streamlined for data transmission via networks than other formats like XML because of this.

  • Language-independent − JSON can be used with any programming language because it is a language-independent format.

  • Handles nested data − JSON is ideally suited for describing complicated data since it enables nested data structures.

Disadvantages of JSON

  • Limited data types − JSON only supports a small number of data types, including string, number, boolean, array, and object. Because to the lack of support for more sophisticated data types like dates, binary data, and regular expressions, it might be challenging to represent some sorts of data.

  • No built-in support for schema validation − JSON does not allow schema validation. This means that it is difficult to guarantee that the data follows a particular structure or format.

  • Absence of comments − Unlike XML, JSON lacks a built-in mechanism for adding comments to the data structure. Developers may find it challenging to describe the data's structure to others and to document the data as a result.

What is BSON?

BSON (Binary JSON) is a serialisation format for JSON-like documents that uses binary encoding. BSON expands JSON by adding new kinds for representing 32-bit and 64-bit integers as well as extra data types for binary data, dates, and timestamps.

When it comes to data storage and transfer, especially when working with big amounts of data, BSON is intended to be more effective than JSON. Whether stored on disc or sent over a network, BSON requires less space than JSON because it is binary-encoded.

MongoDB, a well-known NoSQL database, uses BSON as its main data storage format. In comparison to using JSON alone, BSON enables MongoDB to store and retrieve data more effectively, which enhances performance and scalability.

BSON is still used in many applications where effective data storage and transfer are vital, even if it has not gained as much popularity as JSON. This is especially true when it comes to NoSQL databases like MongoDB.

Advantages of BSON

  • Binary encoding − Because BSON is a binary-encoded format, it is smaller than JSON and takes up less room in memory and on disc. Large amounts of data can be stored and sent more effectively as a result.

  • Support for more data types − BSON extends JSON to support extra data kinds that JSON does not natively offer, such as binary data, dates, and timestamps. BSON is hence more adaptable and more suited for particular applications.

  • Simple to parse − Because BSON is intended to be simple to parse and create, it is an excellent option for applications that need to process huge amounts of data fast and effectively.

Disadvantages of BSON

  • Restricted compatibility − BSON may not be compatible with all programming languages and frameworks because it is not as extensively supported as JSON.

  • Not human-readable − BSON is not human-readable, which might make debugging and troubleshooting more challenging than with JSON.

  • Complexity − BSON is more complicated than JSON, which can make it more challenging for some developers to work with.

Difference between JSON and BSON

The following table highlights the major differences between JSON and BSON −



JavaScript object notation is called JSON.

Binary JavaScript Object Notation is known as BSON.

It is a standard file format type.

It is a binary file format type.

Basic data types like strings, integers, Booleans, and null are included in JSON.

Date, timestamp, and several extra data types are included in BSON.

Data is stored in JSON format by databases like AnyDB, Redis, etc.

BSON is the format used to store the data in MongoDB.

JSON uses less space compared to BSON.

When compared to JSON, BSON takes up more room.

Comparatively speaking, it is slower than BSON.

In contrast to BSON, it is quicker.

It is employed for data transmission.

It is employed for data storage.

It uses a quicker encoding and decoding method.

Its encoding and decoding processes are faster.

The entire content of the JSON file must be read if we wish to read any specific data.

In BSON, the concept of indexes is utilised, which skips all text that is not being used.

As JSON is already readable by humans, parsing is not necessary.

Since machines can easily parse it, it needs to be parsed.

JSON combines objects and arrays, where an object is a set of key-value pairs and an array is a list of components in an ordered list.

The binary encoding method offers some further details, such as the string's length and the subtypes of the objects. The additional data types provided by BSON above JSON are BinData and Date.


In conclusion, there are some similarities and important differences between the widely used data exchange formats JSON and BSON.

BSON is a binary-encoded format that is more effective and supports additional data types, including dates and binary data. It is widely used with NoSQL databases like MongoDB. On the other hand, the lightweight, linguistically neutral JSON format is straightforward to read and write and is ideal for transferring data over networks.

Updated on: 19-Apr-2023


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