This is AWESON!
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This is AWESON!!!

JSON is so... XML.

The instant that someone decides to add a schema language, it's already too late.

AWESON (arrays with extra stuff object notation) is superior in every way.

This is an AWESON document!

See, easy as pie.

AWESON Javascript

We have a reference implementation in JavaScript. Get it.

npm install aweson



AWESON has two basic types: strings and arrays.


A string can include any unicode character. AWESON is always UTF-8 encoded.

The easy way to create a strings is to just include the string. Any whitespace at the start and end (but not the middle) is conveniently ignored for you.

This is an example string, and a valid document.

The only restriction is that you don't use one of our reserved characters in an unquoted string. These are ', <, >, and ". (Well, a single quote is ok, if it's not the first character.)

You can quote strings using a single quote ' character, one at the start, another at the end. Within a string, two single quotes in a row are replaced by a single quote. Other AWESON characters are just fine.

'Don''t worry, a quoted string can include AWESON characters: <>"'''

Strings that appear next to each other separated by whitespace are concatenated.

' splitting onto two lines is nice.'

This includes unquoted strings.

'which only makes sense'
for the very last string of the set
since unquoted strings are a little indiscriminate


Arrays are the only complex type in AWESON. Elements of arrays are both ordered (I'd like to see you invent a serialization format that didn't order elements of anything) and named.

If you are accessing array elements using indexes, these start at whatever number your library decides to use.

Arrays start and end with two (two == more AWESON) angle brackets.

Names for elements are enclosed in a single pair of angle brackets. Names are strings.

A simple array with three elements called a, b, and c looks like:

  <a>Value A
  <b>Value B
  <c>Value C

Naming elements is optional, just drop the opening angle bracket and you don't have to provide a name.

> First value > 2nd > third

Of course, array values can be arrays, so it's turtles all the way down.



AWESON ignores space, tab and new line characters if they appear at the start or end of a bare string and everywhere it makes sense to do so.


Just put stuff into your whitespace using double quotes (") to mark the start and end of a comment.

"this is a comment" this is a value "and this is another comment"

The trick to note here is that a comment terminates an unquoted string, safely.

You can use comments and whitespace in names too.

<< <alice "not alice again!"> some value >>


Q: Why invent another serialization format?
A: Why not?

Q: What about numbers?
A: Learn to love parseInt() (or your number parser of choice). One reason we didn't specify a numeric format is that we don't need to worry about conventions like what radix your number system uses. Parsers also don't have to worry about how many bits to use in representing your stinking numbers.

Q: How do I represent a null value?
A: Don't.

Q: Why is this better than JSON again?
A: Fewer types. The syntax is easier to type. Comments.

Q: Your braces don't match!
A: Oh, you mean the whole optional name thing? Get over it.