Why does the JSON file not accept comments?

What’s the role of JSON in data exchange? As a system developer, have you ever tried to insert a comment in a JSON file? Why does the JSON file not accept comments? Developers and systems operators are faced with these salient queries that beg for an in-depth understanding.

In fact, the challenge with JSON disallowing comments is a well-known issue in the development world. Many authoritative platforms such as Stack Overflow and Github have various threads discussing this problem, solidifying its existence in the real world. As such, the thought of proposing an enhancement to JSON to include comments seems like a reasonable step forward. The rationale behind this proposal stems from the argument that comments can aid in the understanding and debugging of code, a utility that JSON currently lacks.

In this article, you will learn about the peculiar situation of JSON and its apparent disfavor for comments. Although JSON’s design is inherently non-interactive and meant for data exchange rather than programming, we examine how this design decision impacts developers, especially in terms of code understanding and debugging.

Moreover, we will delve into the potential solutions to this problem, both from an individual developer’s standpoint and a systemic perspective. We aim to explore how comments can make JSON more user-friendly and the overall implication it will have in the coding world.

Definitions and Meanings Behind JSON File’s Resistance to Comments

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a human-readable data format that’s used to transmit data objects involving key-value pairs. Its simplicity and adaptability have made it a preferred format for data interchange.

The reason why JSON files don’t allow comments is historical and intentional. JSON is primarily a data interchange format. Therefore, it doesn’t need comment capability as it’s only supposed to transmit data, not intrstructions or annotations.

In addition, omitting comments in JSON reduces complexity and lessens chance for parsing errors. This allows JSON to fulfill its primary function of efficient, error-free data transfer.

To Unveil the Mystery: Why JSON is Allergic to Comments

The Critical Purpose of JSON

JSON, which stands for JavaScript Object Notation, is one of the most popular data interchange formats. Its primary goal is to provide a simple and effective medium for servers to exchange data with web applications. Part of the reason for its widespread acceptance is its simplicity and ease of use, which is coupled with its compactness and efficiency. Unlike HTML, XML, or other markup languages, JSON is devoid of any extraneous features that are not directly related to data storage. This explains why the JSON file format does not support comments.

However, the lack of comment support in JSON isn’t the result of an oversight, but a well-reasoned, deliberate decision. JSON’s creator, Douglas Crockford, has designated JSON primarily as a data interchange format. User annotations and comments, while they can provide context, are technically not raw data.

Uniformity and Parsing

One of the most important aspects of JSON is its ease of parsing. JSON parsers are programmed to understand standard JSON syntax and nothing more. This ensures that the same JSON file can be read, written, and understood uniformly by various programming languages across several platforms. By their nature, comments are often inconsistent and subjective, which can bring an unwelcome amount of complexity to a parser programming.

Also, by not allowing comments, JSON can maintain its lightweight nature. Comments can take up a significant amount of space in a file that could otherwise be used to store valuable data.

  • Uniform parsing: Comments can result in parsing irregularities, undermining the universal applicability of JSON.
  • File size: Comments add to the size of a JSON file, which contradicts its nature as a lightweight data format.
  • Data integrity: User-added comments could potentially modify or distort the raw data, which could in turn lead to misleading interpretations.

By prioritizing consistency and simplicity, JSON files serve as an impeccable data transfer tool. JSON’s design philosophy highlights that comments, though useful in many programming and markup languages, are not essential for raw data interchange. Thus, the eradication of the comment feature from JSON files illuminates Douglas Crockford’s commitment to data integrity and the universal compatibility of JSON. It helps guarantees that the data transferred in a JSON file remains unchanged, regardless of where it originates from and where it is read. This form of disciplined minimalism has ultimately secured JSON’s place as a cornerstone of modern web technology.

An Unexpected Turn: Decoding JSON’s Distaste for Embedded Annotations

A Befuddling Enigma: Why No Space for Disputes in JSON?

Is it not intriguing how JSON, a language so flexible, refuses to entertain comments? The key idea behind its design is in concatenation. Yes, concatenation. That simple but powerful concept applies linear structure to programming, making JSON a popular, highly readable, and quick language. Since it’s a data exchange layout, not a programming language, there is no necessity for it to hold comments. Furthermore, unifying concatenated strings removes ambiguity and increases efficiency when communicating between server and web application.

Navigating the Core Concern

The crux of JSON’s disputations is its inflexibility to accommodate comments. Its rigid structure do not allow it to include them. Instead, JSON insists on embracing simplicity and efficiency above all else. Here’s why: comments are considered metadata and, in JSON, every character and word should have data value. The lack of comments implies no dead space, delivering maximum data value. And such prescriptive, clear structure – though vexing for some – guarantees error-free data, preventing miscommunication between client and server. Moreover, concerns such as comments potentially being misused to hold critical data, or causing confusion about usage when transferred between different developers or teams, are mitigated.

Adopting the JSON Model: Demonstrative Practices

Looking for ways to circumvent this ‘no-comments’ predicament in JSON? The key is to be clever rather than confrontational. Create objects or keys with comments inside as a best practice. This not only adds clarity for the developer but bends to conform with JSON’s unyielding rule. A more radical approach: use ‘_comment’ as a key with the comments as its value. This cleverly smuggles your comments into the JSON file, but beware! JSON parsers tend to ignore such keys or fail to interpret them at all. Another practice: consider separate documentation. Often, rather than cramming comments into the data file, valuable details are better presented in the API documentation, thus honoring good programming habits and JSON’s singularity.

Behind Closed Codes: JSON’s Inexplicable Aversion to Comments Explained

Thought-Provoking Question: Is JSON Really Infallible?

Every programmer’s life is inevitably intertwined with JSON, JavaScript Object Notation. It has grown from its humble beginnings in the early 2000s to become an indispensable tool in data interchange. While its structure is seen as simple and efficient, one curiosity about JSON often stirs discussion. Why doesn’t JSON support comments?

Douglas Crockford, the creator of JSON, deliberately left out comment support when designing JSON to keep it simple and unambiguous. However, it has sparked a debate as some believe, this omission sidelines an integral part of coding – using comments for clarity and understanding code.

Dilemma: The Ubiquity of JSON vs Its Aversion to Comments

From an outsider’s perspective, this question may seem trivial. However, that is far from the truth. In programming, comments serve as a means to add clarity to a piece of code. They provide essential information to those reading the code, giving insights into what a particular piece does, how it fits into the overall program architecture, and sometimes provide indications for future development directions as well.

Crockford’s decision to omit comment support from JSON is based on his belief that data should be as bare as possible. Never should data include directives or annotations as they can lead to misinterpretation and manipulation. From this perspective, the exclusion of comments from JSON makes sense. However, it leads to a conundrum when JSON is used in configurations files in development frameworks— a scenario where comments can be exceedingly valuable.

Effective Ways to Maneuver Around JSON’s ‘No Comments’ Policy

Despite JSON’s aversion to comments, experienced programmers have found workarounds. One of these methods is to utilize a separate README file accompanying JSON to provide essential notes or remarks, though this isn’t as seamless as having comments available in the JSON file itself.

Another workaround is to use another data interchange format that supports comments, such as YAML (Yet Another Markup Language). Whilst YAML is human-friendly and supports comments; the trade-off is its complexity, as it has many more features than JSON. This option, however, defeats JSON’s goal of simplicity.

Finally, and most pragmatically, developers can implement “comment” objects as part of the JSON data structure. This method of commenting doesn’t deviate from JSON’s simplicity and unambiguousness, as these “comments” become part of the data itself. In other words, adding a “comment” key and corresponding value may seem odd, but is an entirely valid method of overcoming JSON’s restriction.

In conclusion, the exclusion of comment support from JSON might seem an odd design choice to some, and rightfully so. However, it is grounded in ensuring that the format remains straightforward and clear. Despite this, there are several workarounds to this dilemma, ultimately demonstrating the resilience and adaptability of the programming community.


One may ponder, isn’t it curious that JSON, a widely used data format, doesn’t support comment functions? This limitation is often brought up in conversations revolving around its overall efficiency. While JSON’s syntax is derived from JavaScript, it doesn’t inherit the full range of functionalities such as the nifty ability to insert comments. The primary reason behind its simplicity is its primary responsibility – to transfer data between a browser and server effectively. By excluding comments, JSON stays lightweight and efficient in performing its primary function. Thus, the dearth of commenting ability in JSON might be more of a strategic choice than a design limitation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the principle reason JSON files do not support comments?
A: JSON, as a data format, is focused on data interchange and simplicity. The absence of comments is part of the design choice to keep the format as minimal as possible.

Q2: Does the absence of comments in JSON impose issues with documentation?
A: Yes, it can create difficulties. Without comments, developers could struggle to add explanations or descriptions to code parts within JSON files.

Q3: Are there any workarounds to include comments in JSON files?
A: While JSON itself does not support comments, programmers can utilize tools like JSONC or JSON5, which are supersets of JSON that allow comments.

Q4: Why was the simplicity factor chosen over the ability to comment within JSON files?
A: Simplicity often leads to better compatibility and accessibility. JSON was developed to be a simple, language-independent format that could be used across various languages and platforms.

Q5: Can JSON files include instructions or metadata in a different way apart from comments?
A: Yes, while comments are not permissible, one can include metadata or instructions as additional key-value pairs within the JSON file, which would be essentially part of the data itself.