Advantages and Disadvantages of YAML over XML and JSON
If you are new to YAML, let’s see what is YAML. This will make easy to understand all the disadvantages and advantages of YAML over XML and JSON.
What is YAML?
YAML is a data serialization language just like JSON and XML. It uses indentation format to define the structure.
In the given example, you can see the indentation used to define the block in YAML code.
It has indentation format just like Python. If you have any experience of working with Python, you might be aware of indentation. They use a consistent number of spaces to define the block of the structure.
There are so many alternatives to YML as serialization language. Some are XML and JSON. These are the most popular and widely used.
There is also CSV file format. You may have seen this file standard while importing and exporting contacts to your smartphone. [Related Read: How to read CSV file in Python Program?]
What are the uses of YAML and other Data Serialization Language?
- Importing and exporting data to and from the server.
- Configuring application with a single file. These files specify the configuration parameter and its corresponding values.
- Transferring data between two different components of the application.
- Intermediate data storing.
There are certain advantages of using YAML over XML and JSON. And this is the reason, nowadays, many programmers are using YAML over XML and JSON.
Advantages of YAML:
- In YAML, there is no extra delimiter is used. So it is the lightweight than XML and JSON.
- YAML, not using delimiter also makes the reading light and simple. (I am not sure if you agree with this point. Because many geeks find it easier to read the data in content delimiter or tags separate those.)
- YAML makes the data understanding easy. So it is useful in case of configuration.
- YAML has a wide variety of uses and popular for. It can be used for configuration, then from transferring data to storing intermediate data.
- YAML is the superset of JSON. You heard it right. Whatever valid JSON code you have, it will be parsed by YAML compiler. So choosing YAML over JSON for your project you have one advantage. You can parse both JSON and YAML code with the single parser (YAML parser).
Why are more programmers not using YAML?
YAML has not popular as expected. Each serialization standard has their own comfortability with other programming languages.
There is some obvious reason. Let’s talk about it.
Disadvantages of YAML:
- There are so many applications those are already build using XML or JSON, so it hard for a developer to replace this with YAML.
For instance, I am developing a plugin for the existing project which uses XML. I would like to use XML in the plugin. So it will be easy for me to merge plugin with an existing project.
- Talking about the popularity, XML has much more matured ecosystem than YAML.
- There are extra precautions while writing YAML code. Even if you mismatch single space while indentation, your code can stop working.
- There are many ways to represent data in YAML and make data hierarchy. So it is complex for processing. So JSON and XML has better performance than YAML.
YAML is data serialization standard which uses indentation. So there are some advantages of YAML that comes with it. There are also some disadvantages of YAML. Some developers find it difficult to use for its complex indentation formatting.
If you are developing a new project from the scratch, you can give a thought for choosing any of the serialization languages. It will priorly depend on your prior development use cases and your comfortability.