JSON is the de facto standard for consuming and producing data via web, mobile and IoT services. JSON provides developers with a great deal of simplicity and flexibility, and in some cases it may be more practical to store data as JSON documents in a database.
JSON documents required a NoSQL database in the past – a document database to be specific. However, NoSQL databases sacrificed transactions, data integrity and reliability (and a powerful query language) in order to deliver greater simplicity and flexibility.
That was then. This is now. You can use a relational database for JSON documents, and you no longer have to choose between relational and JSON. You can create hybrid data models comprised of structured and semi-structured data, and enjoy the benefits of JSON without sacrificing the advantages of a relational database (e.g., transactions and SQL).
MariaDB Enterprise includes SQL functions for creating and querying JSON documents. You can not only extend relational data with JSON documents; you can create JSON documents from rows or create rows from JSON documents. It’s up to you.
Let’s consider a couple of e-commerce examples. The first involves product catalogs where every product has a name and price, yet different product types may have different attributes. You could create a separate table for every product type, but that’s not very flexible. It would be a lot easier to create a single table with columns for name (VARCHAR) and price (DECIMAL), and a separate column for attributes (JSON). A second example involves shopping carts where purchases may be stored as structured data with a fixed schema, but shopping carts can be stored as semi-structured with JSON documents. Using MariaDB Platform, you can join customer profiles to purchases and/or shopping carts regardless of the format!
By introducing SQL functions for JSON, developers can now use a single database for both structured and semi-structured data – and administrators don’t have to worry about losing transactions, data integrity and reliability. It’s the best of both worlds!
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