Structural engineering is levelling up with the digital age, thanks to the use of cutting-edge tools and technology to streamline and optimize the design, analysis and construction process. From programming languages and scripts to APIs, and computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) software, the use of digital tools is enhancing collaboration, communication and efficiency.

Digitization is quickly becoming a game-changer in the structural engineering world, allowing for better collaboration, improved accuracy and efficiency, and the ability to design and analyze structures in ways that were never before possible. One of the most practical tools to facilitate digitization in projects is JSON. It is used in structural engineering as a format for storing and transmitting data between different systems and software programs.

What is JSON?

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a lightweight data-interchange format that is easy for humans to read and write and easy for machines to parse and generate. It is based on a subset of the JavaScript Programming Language, Standard ECMA-262 3rd Edition – December 1999. JSON is a text format that is completely language-independent but uses conventions that are familiar to programmers of the C family of languages, including C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Perl, Python, and many others.

A JSON data is composed of key-value pairs, where the keys are strings and the values can be of different types like string, number, boolean, array and also other JSON object. JSON is often used to transmit data between a server and a web application, or between different parts of a web application. It is also used to store data in NoSQL databases, such as MongoDB and Couchbase.

Why JSON is the Go-To Choice for Data Exchange

One of the main benefits of JSON in structural engineering digitization is that it allows for the efficient sharing and integration of data between different tools and software programs. This is particularly important in BIM projects, where different teams and stakeholders need to share and exchange data in a consistent and standardized way. BIM and other structural engineering software programs often use their own proprietary data formats, but JSON can be used as a neutral format that allows data to be easily shared between different programs, enabling the seamless exchange of data, such as architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing data, between different BIM software, this way increasing collaboration and information sharing.

Another benefit of JSON in structural engineering digitization is that it is easy to read and write, making it simple to create and modify data. This can be particularly useful when working with a team of engineers and architects who are using different software programs.

JSON can also be used to store and transmit information about the digital twin of a structure, allowing for the monitoring and simulation of the building performance, enabling proactive maintenance and reducing costs. This data can include information about the size, shape, and strength of structural elements, as well as information about the materials used to construct them.

These advantages outperform other similar tools currently used in projects, such as IFC (Industry Foundation Classes). IFC is also a data format used in BIM for the exchange of information between different software programs. It is developed and maintained by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI), and is widely used in the construction and engineering industry. IFC is a data format that is specifically designed for the building and construction industry. It is an open data model that defines a common data format for BIM and provides a standardized way of representing building components and their relationships. It is a more complex data formate, while JSON, on the other hand, is a lightweight data interchange format that is designed to be easy for humans to read and write, and easy for machines to parse and generate. JSON is used to exchange data between different systems, typically over the internet, and it is supported by many programming languages.

Examples of JSON Applications

Here are a few examples of how JSON could be used in structural engineering:

Storing and transmitting information about the physical properties of building materials:

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Storing and transmitting information about the structural elements of building materials:

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Keep in mind that these are just examples and in practice the JSON data will be much more complex and have more properties, it also depends on the software used to generate the data. The idea behind these examples is to give you an idea of the kind of information that can be stored and transmitted using JSON in structural engineering.

SkyCiv Embraces JSON for Seamless Data Integration

SkyCiv provides a number of API endpoints for interacting with its platform. JSON is used in the SkyCiv API to facilitate the exchange of data between different tools and software programs. The SkyCiv API allows users to create, retrieve, update, and delete data about structures, members, nodes, loads, and supports, among other things. SkyCiv’s API uses JSON to pass data back and forth between the client and server. This allows developers to create their own custom applications and scripts, or to integrate SkyCiv into existing workflows and systems. For example, a developer could use the SkyCiv API to automate the analysis and design of structures, or to create a custom interface for interacting with SkyCiv.

For example, when creating a new structure in SkyCiv using the API, the client will send a POST request with a JSON payload containing the structure data, such as structure name, structure type, units, members properties, node properties, loads and supports. The SkyCiv server will then parse the JSON data and create the structure in the system.

Overall, JSON is an important part of the SkyCiv API, allowing users to easily exchange data between different systems and tools and facilitating the integration of SkyCiv into existing workflows.

Here are a few examples of how JSON can be used in the SkyCiv API:

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In short, JSON is the ultimate wingman for your structural engineering digitization projects! Its versatility and user-friendliness make it a no-brainer. With JSON on your side, sharing and integrating data between different tools and software is a breeze, ultimately elevating your project’s game and making the whole process smoother than ever before.

Negar Kamali US API Manager
Negar Kamali
US API Manager
M.Sc (Civil), PhD (Computational Mechanics)