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<Serializing Data - JSON vs. Protocol Buffers ⁄ >

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JSON and Protocol Buffers are two methods for serializing data, primarily used for lightweight server-client and inter-server communication. In this post we are having a look at the performance of the latest Protocol Buffers (version 2.2.0) compared to JSON, using Java on a G1 Android phone and Python with CJSON and SimpleJSON on a typical Linux system.

* JSON serializes data using UTF-8 / 16 / 32 encoding, with turn-key libraries for most programming languages. Any data structure can be serialized with JSON, although binary data (such as an image) has to be encoded with an algorithm like Base64 before.

* Protocol Buffers is an open-source project developed by Google and released under the BSD license. It uses a binary encoding which makes the serialized data a bit smaller and does not require binary data to be encoded before. The data-structures have to be described before serialization by creating a .proto file, compiling it with protoc and including the header files in the project. The libraries from Google are available for Java, Python and C++, with third party implementations for most other programming languages.

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