I have a project (in production) that a part of it is generating HTML from JSON object normally we use Microsoft SQL Server only as our main database. but when it comes to this part some team members suggest working with a NoSQL database as we are going to handle JSON data for both retrieval and querying. others replied that will add complexity and we will lose SQL Servers' Unit Of Work which will break the Atomic behavior, and they suggest to continue working with SQL Server since it supports working with JSON. If you have practical experience using JSON with SQL Server, kindly share your feedback.

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Software Engineer III ·

I agree with the advice you have been given to stick with SQL Server. If you are on the latest SQL Server version you can query inside the JSON field. You should set up a test database with a JSON field and try some queries. Once you understand it and can demonstrate it, show it to the other developers that are suggesting MongoDB. Once they see it working with their own eyes they may drop their position of Mongo over SQL. I would only seriously consider MongoDB if there was no other SQL requirements. I wouldn't do both. I'd be all SQL or all Mongo.

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Principal Software Engineer at Accurate Background·

I think the key thing to look for is what kind of queries you're expecting to do on that JSON and how stable that data is going to be. (And if you actually need to store the data as JSON; it's generally pretty inexpensive to generate a JSON object)

MongoDB gets rid of the relational aspect of data in favor of data being very fluid in structure.

So if your JSON is going to vary a lot/is unpredictable/will change over time and you need to run queries efficiently like 'records where the field x exists and its value is higher than 3', that's a great use case for MongoDB.

It's hard to solve this in a standard relational model: Indexing on a single column that has wildly different values is pretty much impossible to do efficiently; and pulling out the data in its own columns is hard because it's hard to predict how many columns you'd have or what their datatypes would be. If this sounds like your predicament, 100% go for MongoDB.

If this is always going to be more or less the same JSON and the fields are going to be predictably the same, then the fact that it's JSON doesn't particularly matter much. Your indexes are going to approach it similar to a long string.

If the queried fields are very predictable, you should probably consider storing the fields as separate columns to have better querying capabilities. Ie if you have {"x":1, "y":2}, {"x":5, "y":6}, {"x":9, "y":0} - just make a table with an x and y column and generate the JSON. The CPU hit is worth it compared to the querying capabilities.

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Yves Basquet
Yves Basquet
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January 29th 2022 at 6:38AM

Hi Blacknight. If your single motivation is to store JSON, don't bother and continue with SQL Server.

When it comes to MongoDB, the true power is getting out of the standard relational DB thinking (a MongoDB collection is very different to a SQL Server table).

It takes a while to shift, but when you have and you realise the power and freedom you get (to basically store the data in the most adhoc form for your need), you'll never go back to SQL Server and relational.

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TwoBySea

Software Engineer III