Understanding URL Formatting in JSON and JSON+LD

In the world of web development, data formatting is key. A common format used to structure data is JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) and its derivative, JSON+LD (JSON for Linking Data). Both are lightweight data exchange formats that are easy for humans to read and write, and easy for machines to parse and generate.

A common question I get from our users is about URL formatting within JSON and JSON+LD. Specifically, why does a URL look like “https:\/\/www.example.com\/page\/” instead of the more familiar “https://www.example.com/page/”?

Escaping characters in JSON and JSON+LD

The answer lies in the way JSON and JSON+LD handle certain characters within strings. In these formats, certain characters must be “escaped”. This means that they are represented by a special sequence of characters, rather than in their usual form.

For example, in JSON and JSON+LD, the forward slash (“/”) is represented as “\/”. This is why you will see URLs formatted with extra backslashes in our JSON+LD code.

Why escape characters?

Escaping is used to ensure that data is parsed and processed correctly. Without escaping, certain characters could be misinterpreted by the system reading the data. For example, the forward slash is used in closing tags in HTML. If not escaped, a forward slash within a string could potentially cause problems with HTML parsing.

How will this affect my URLs?

When this JSON or JSON+LD data is processed by a search engine or other application, these escape sequences are correctly interpreted and the URL is displayed in its familiar form. For example, “https:\/\/www.example.com\/page\/” will be interpreted and displayed as “https://www.example.com/page/”.

Further reading

For more information on JSON and JSON+LD syntax, including the need to escape certain characters in strings, see the official JSON website or the Mozilla Developer Network’s JSON syntax page.

I hope this post has helped clear up any confusion about URL formatting in JSON and JSON+LD. As always, if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.