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The iPhora Journey - Part 4 - JSON is King - The Why

The iPhora Journey - Part 1 - Reimagining Domino

The iPhora Journey - Part 2 - Domino, the Little Engine that Could

The iPhora Journey - Part 3 - Creating an Integrated UI Framework

The iPhora Journey - Part 4 - JSON is King - The Why


JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) was defined by Douglas Crockford in early 2000s as a data exchange format that grew out of JavaScript. JavaScript code can in fact be structured as JSON data, and even the HTML DOM can be represented as JSON data (more about that in a future blog).




JSON has now become the dominant data exchange format, superseding XML. It provides data exchange between the server and JavaScript-based clients, including web browsers, and it is also used in web services and web hooks. It is not only readable by humans but it is also lightweight. Databases such as MongoDB and RavenDB use JSON as the data storage format, and there are a number of derivatives, such as BJSON, a binary version of JSON used in MongoDB.

More and more companies are relying on either cloud-based or external web services to operate their business, and 99% of all web services rely on JSON. So the importance of being able to process, store, and manipulate JSON is essential for any web application server. When we started this journey, the only thing in Domino that supported JSON was the ReadViewEntries call (with OutputFormat=JSON), and that was it.

As part of our quest to reimagine Domino, we wanted to have Domino behave like a modern web application server, specifically, a JSON-based NoSQL database platform, similar to MongoDB. Note that Domino has many advantages over competing database technologies. A Domino document can be up to 2 GBbyte in size, while MongoDB has a limit of 16 MBytes. Domino also supports master-to-master replication and has a more robust and more granular data security model. So we had to figure out how to send, receive, and store JSON data in Domino.

Another factor in our decision to transform Domino into a JSON-based NoSQL platform was portability. At the time, it was not clear how much longer Domino would be supported by IBM (a question that was happily resolved when HCL acquired Domino), so we needed a design approach the was platform agnostic. Again, a JSON-based NoSQL design (one that was API-driven) would achieve that. It would have separation between user interface and data store, making it much easier to move to an alternative data store if necessary.

We decided to break this part into two posting since it was getting too long. So, tomorrow, The iPhora Journey - Part 4 - JSON is King - The How. 


The iPhora Journey - Part 4 - JSON is King - The Why

The iPhora Journey - Part 3 - Creating an Integrated UI Framework

The iPhora Journey - Part 2 - Domino, the Little Engine that Could

The iPhora Journey - Part 1 - Reimagining Domino

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The iPhora Journey - Part 4 - JSON is King - The How

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