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JSON vs. XML in Automotive Retail Systems Integration

Like everything else, system integration in auto retail is taking a more modern path

For auto retail to succeed, manufacturers (OEMs) and dealers need assured methods of exchanging all kinds of data: vehicle, parts, customer information, warranty claims, sales and operational data, and more.  

Over the previous decades, data exchange evolved from occurring solely between OEM IT systems and the dealer management systems (DMS) over closed/proprietary systems leveraging pre-XML technology to using largely XML data formats and SOAP web services.  

Today, it’s not just the DMS.  There are an increasing number of auto tech providers with applications providing both common services like CRM, niche services like tire tread analysis and supporting the shift to digital retailing.  With the proliferation of providers, the data formats and communication protocols have diversified.

JSON delivers an uppercut to XML

Increasingly, these modern auto tech companies seek modern API approaches, and aren’t natively using XML or other outdated data formats.  According to simple analysis of an index of APIs, JSON has out-trended XML in recent years by a factor of 5.  Why?  Compared to XML, JSON:

  • Is less verbose
  • Is faster compared to XML’s verbosity and large file sizes
  • Is more intuitive / human readable
    • JSON uses a map vs. XML tree, with key value pairs that are easier to interpret (ex. ‘invoiceID’->’12345’)

Likewise, the more dynamic nature of REST, as well as its ability to send plain text, JSON, XML and others, makes it a favored communication protocol over SOAP.

That leaves a real challenge: modern auto tech companies need to forge integrations with legacy systems using XML and other data formats.  Even with attempts by organizations like STAR to define data standards for XML, many adopting organizations have, in reality, implemented “proprietary” versions of the standards.

Find out how Motive Integrator eXchange (MIX) has solved the proprietary and legacy API format problem with its industry APIs.  MIX allows modern applications to connect once, and gain access to multiple, back end systems that use diverse, and sometimes legacy formats.  Contact us to find out more.