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JSON Compare: Why Structured is better than line-by-line

Jun 03 2024

JSON Compare: Why Structured is better than line-by-line

JSON is a structured format, yet the majority of free tools and packages for managing JSON objects address comparison line by line. These tools often return false positives when comparing JSON and most completely fail as they use a line-by-line approach. None offer a solution to the highly complex problem of Merge. However, one alternative, DeltaJSON, offers both an API to build into your apps and a GUI to help analyse your JSON.

The DeltaJSON API understands the object structure and nature of the data in each object. Therefore, the analysis is far more accurate at finding change as it compares objects regardless of where they are in the file, which confuses simple line-by-line comparisons. Using sophisticated algorithms to analyse and process the objects allows DeltaJSON to return an accurate result from even the most complex data in seconds.

This approach is most evident when handling arrays, as data can often move in the array, which can lead to false positives with more straightforward tools. Particularly when subsets of data are held using arrays within an array the comparison result from DeltaJSON is accurate and cannot replicated with any alternative. There are multiple options for configuration of each type of operation and how arrays are handled can be managed as ordered or unordered depending on your object.

It is important to be able to configuration the operation to get the best result with your objects. The API allows specific adaptation of the operation depending on the structure of your object. The compare operation for instance provides control over array processing, and content can be compared as whole text or individual words. With Merge, in addition to the compare configuration options, there is also priority given to the A or B document being merged, and the option to set which document content should be used for resolution. Finally, Patch and Graft offer control over the resolution and direction of operation.

Many developers use the compare or merge operation in data migration and integration workflows as a step to reduce or find errors in data prior to committing. Another use of the result file, which can be processed inline as an object, is to create an update process removing the need to clear down data and re-import, as the update is significantly smaller and can be executed in a fraction of the time.

Other use cases include Content Management Systems version control and Quality Assurance for content workflows. However, one of the most interesting aspects is cloud configuration where complex infrastructure managed by JSON is vital to up time and reliability of service provision. DeltaJSON can be used to detect, report and fix configuration changes, managing version control of infrastructure configuration for aspects such as service permissions and infrastructure provisioning.

DeltaJSON is an interesting tool for managing JSON objects which can be built into your code using the REST API. The service is available for free or as a simple annual subscription, with the Professional tier unlocking merge, patch and graft operations together with options for configuration. For simple or complex objects accuracy is important when building into code, and once you start using DeltaJSON you will see a need for its functionality across your applications.

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