How to Use JSON Data Fields in MySQL Databases

How to Use JSON Data Fields in MySQL Databases

MySQL 5.7+ InnoDB databases and PostgreSQL 9.2+ support JSON document types in a single field. Learn how to use JSON Data Fields in MySQL Databases. We explore the MySQL 8.0 JSON implementation in more detail.

MySQL 5.7+ InnoDB databases and PostgreSQL 9.2+ support JSON document types in a single field. We explore the MySQL 8.0 JSON implementation in more detail.

My article “SQL vs NoSQL: The Differences” noted that the line between SQL and NoSQL databases has become increasingly blurred, with each camp adopting features from the other. MySQL 5.7+ InnoDB databases and PostgreSQL 9.2+ both directly support JSON document types in a single field. In this article, we’ll examine the MySQL 8.0 JSON implementation in more detail.

Note that any database will accept JSON documents as a single string blob. However, MySQL and PostgreSQL support validated JSON data in real key/value pairs rather than a basic string.

Just Because You Can Store JSON …

… it doesn’t follow you should.

Normalization is a technique used to optimize the database structure. The First Normal Form (1NF) rule governs that every column should hold a single value — which is clearly broken by storing multi-value JSON documents.

If you have clear relational data requirements, use appropriate single-value fields. JSON should be used sparingly as a last resort. JSON value fields can’t be indexed, so avoid using it on columns which are updated or searched regularly. In addition, fewer client applications support JSON and the technology is newer, so it could be less stable than other types.

That said, there are good JSON use cases for sparsely populated data or custom attributes.

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