JSON-LD has reached the status of being an official "Recommendation" of the W3C. JSON-LD provides yet another way for web developers to add structured data into web pages, joining RDFa.The W3C documentation says, "JSON is a useful data serialization and messaging format. This specification defines JSON-LD, a JSON-based format to serialize Linked Data. The syntax is designed to easily integrate into deployed systems that already use JSON, and provides a smooth upgrade path from JSON to JSON-LD. It is primarily intended to be a way to use Linked Data in Web-based programming environments, to build interoperable Web services, and to store Linked Data in JSON-based storage engines." This addition should be welcome news for Linked Data developers familiar with JSON and/or faced with systems based on JSON.
SemanticWeb.com caught up with the JSON-LD specfication editors to get their comments...
Manu Sporny (Digital Bazaar), told us, "When we created JSON-LD, we wanted to make Linked Data accessible to Web developers that had not traditionally been able to keep up with the steep learning curve associated with the Semantic Web technology stack. Instead, we wanted people that were comfortable working with great solutions like JSON, MongoDB, and REST to be able to easily integrate Linked Data technologies into their day-to-day work. The adoption of JSON-LD by Google and schema.org demonstrates that we're well on our way to achieving this goal."
Markus Lanthaler (Graz University of Technology), added, "For a long time developers had to decide between building a Web API or publishing (typically read-only) Linked Data. With JSON-LD we went to great lengths to create a practical solution bridging that gap. For the first time ever it is now possible to build idiomatic, JSON-based Web APIs that integrate seamlessly into the Linked Data cloud based on standardized technologies."
Gregg Kellogg (Kellogg Associates) weighed in with, "JSON-LD offers a great opportunity to move forward, for those who have been thinking of getting involved in Linked Data. JSON is the language of the new web and is part of the DNA of the web for a generation of developers. Allowing that data to be interpreted unambiguously provides a standards-compliant path for creating APIs that describe themselves. Applications will be able to configure themselves to a JSON-LD based API without being written specifically for each new service. Universal, idiomatic, developer friendly: JSON-LD."
How to start and what's next?
Among the resources for developers who want to get to work with the new standard is JSON-LD.org, which features links to documentation articles and presentations, specification documents, and a playground to try out JSON-LD code:
Lanthaler also gave us a peek into some of what developers can expect next, saying, "We are already working on pushing this standardization of Web APIs even further by working on Hydra, a lightweight vocabulary to create hypermedia-driven Web APIs. By specifying a number of concepts commonly used in Web APIs it enables the creation of generic API clients." He added that "[We are]... collaborating with the Schema.org community on the actions proposal."