Architecting, installing and maintaining your SAS environment

JSON vs. YAML - Which do you prefer?

SAS Employee
Posts: 112

JSON vs. YAML - Which do you prefer?

As many of you know, both YAML and JSON are common formats for specifying data structures in files.  There are many examples of each on the Web, as well as a plethora of utilities that convert from one format to the other.  SAS is currently weighing the benefits of each format for certain utility files which will be generated by SAS administrative tools, edited by users, and fed back into other SAS administrative tools.


In some cases, the choice is straightforward (e.g., Ansible's use of YAML for SAS Viya deployment).  In other cases, it's not as clear cut.  As such, SAS is interested in any experience/opinions you have on the use of one or the other when specifying/editing data structures, especially in the context of administrative work.



Thanks in advance for any/all input.

Super Contributor
Posts: 276

Re: JSON vs. YAML - Which do you prefer?

Hi Mark,


I personally prefer single language approach, this allows me to

- Fully learn the specifics of the chosen language

- Have a consistent approach to manage and maintain associated files

- Have a single Tool to edit and manipulate the files

- Have smoother knowledge transfer/sharing experience with new admin staff


SAS Administrators are constantly being asked/demanded to learn new technology with every new release of SAS, and while it might be a good thing for some, it's overwhelming for the majority, and in some cases can be hiring nightmare!


IT Administrators don't like complexity, and most high maintenance software, ends up poorly managed, and results in unsatisfied user experience, and in-turn it reflects badly on the vendor and it's technology.


Just my cents,

Ahmed Al-Attar   

Super User
Posts: 9,888

Re: JSON vs. YAML - Which do you prefer?

Most configuration files that SAS already uses are XML. So the choice for me is a very simple one: use XML. If that's not possible, use XML, and keep XML as a third option.


As a SAS admin, I already have to deal with

  • SAS data step code
  • SAS procedure specifics
  • SAS config file syntax
  • UNIX shell scripting
  • HTML
  • Javascript
  • Java code in .jsp
  • XML in many SAS configuration files
  • apache config syntax

Unnecessarily adding another markup language will be considered as some kind of insult.

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SAS Employee
Posts: 61

Re: JSON vs. YAML - Which do you prefer?

[ Edited ]

I've found JSON a little simpler to follow. Mostly because constructs like lists use things I expect from programming languages I've used in the past. Another things is I've always had difficulty managing the mix up of tabs and space in Python and I'm sure YAML will have similar issues when the number of documents and number of people working with them rises. Suppose its one of those things where personal preference comes into it a lot, probably entirely. They both appear to be perfectly good at serialising data structures with very little overhead.

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