Introduction to JSON and RESTful Web Services

This article provides a brief overview of web services and JSON, as well as how GoAnywhere MFT utilizes them to automate the processing of data.

What exactly is a web service?

A web service is any piece of software that makes itself available over the internet. Computers use web service APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to communicate with one another.

Okay, so what is a RESTful Web service?

REST (Representational State Transfer) is a messaging architecture used by many web service APIs. REST is a flexible architecture, with guidelines and support for multiple standards, such as HTTPS, JSON, and XML.

This article focuses on JSON, a popular data format for its flexibility and ease of use.

JSON Formatting

JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation, a lightweight, minimal data format used for storing and transporting data. JSON is most often used to send data from a server to a web page or application. The fundamentals of the format are easy to understand.

Key/Value Pairs

JSON is a text-only format and can be written in any programming language. JSON data is written in key/value pairs. Key/value pairs consist of a field name (in double quotes), followed by a colon, followed by a value.

Example:
"firstName":"Kathy"

In the example above, “firstName” is the key and “Kathy” is the value.

JSON Objects

A JSON object is a collection of key/value pairs. The key/value pairs are written inside curly braces.

Example:
{"firstName":Kathy","lastName":"Harris"}

A JSON object may contain any number of key/value pairs.

JSON Arrays

JSON arrays are a collection of associative JSON objects contained inside of square brackets.

Example:
"employees":[
  {
    "firstName":"Kathy",
    "lastName":"Harris"
  },
  {
    "firstName":"James",
    "lastName":"Smith"
  },
  {
    "firstName":"Mary",
    "lastName":"Jones"
  }
]

In the example above, “employees” is the name of the JSON array. The array contains three objects – the first and last names of three employees.

Using GoAnywhere MFT to get the Most out of RESTful Web Services and JSON.

GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer can connect to RESTful web services for transferring or manipulating JSON and other data formats. The GoAnywhere Project Designer allows administrators to quickly automate complex, multipart web service procedures through an intuitive drag and drop interface. For example, a Project can be created in GoAnywhere that connects to a web service, retrieves JSON formatted data, and then insert that data into a database without any coding required. GoAnywhere can automate these tasks on a scheduled basis, saving you time and money.

The following JSON tutorials demonstrate how to create this automation in GoAnywhere. Download a free trial of GoAnywhere to try it yourself.

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