What is JSON-RPC (Remote Procedure Calls)?

Developers who seek opportunities for working with JSON would have come across the JSON-RPC protocol. How is this RPC protocol helpful for your needs? Knowledge of JSON and JavaScript is essential for developing faster websites alongside enabling the internet to work efficiently. In addition, skills in JSON and JavaScript are essential for offering high-performing blocks in websites alongside enhancing user experience.

The knowledge JSON remote procedure call also provides the assurance of development on blockchain. You must understand the answers to “What is JSON-RPC format?” for working with web3, Bitcoin and Ethereum. In addition, it also offers a detailed impression of the significance of the JSON remote procedure call for distributed computing and interactions with EVM or Ethereum Virtual Machine. JSON remote procedure call or RPC is commonly used for the Ethereum blockchain. It helps in defining data structures on the Ethereum blockchain.

The introduction to a JSON RPC tutorial also reflects how it can help define the rules for processing data structures in the blockchain network. JSON remote procedure calls are independent of transfer channels, thereby enabling their uses for interaction with ETH nodes across HTTP or sockets. The following discussion offers an introductory guide on JSON remote procedure calls and their working.

What is JSON?

Before reflecting on the functions of JSON RPC API, you must understand JSON itself. The number of API protocols worldwide has continued escalating with the arrival of new APIs, and JSON RPC is one of the popular examples. It has evolved as one of the good choices of developers for creating feature-rich and faster websites. What is JSON, and how does it make the RPC unique? JSON or JavaScript Object Notation serves recurring disruptions in data until you can find improved ease of processing. Based on the roots of JavaScript, JSON offers many strings, Boolean variables, objects, and null characters for understanding the data elements in JSON.

JSON facilitates the effective breakdown of the data with detailed mapping into manageable structures. As a result, the data can be subject to easy processing routines for different programming languages. Therefore, you can consider JSON as a resource without any language barriers. Created by Douglas Crockford in 2000, JSON can support server communication and web application development.

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Definition of JSON-RPC

The best way to answer “How does JSON-RPC work?” would focus on its definition. JSON is a lightweight data exchange format that structures data in a format that ensures easier transfer. Based on the JavaScript syntax, JSON can represent data types such as numbers, arrays, nulls, strings, Booleans and objects. Many popular programming languages feature libraries that can help read and write JSON structures. With the help of JSON, you can enjoy faster and more flexible data interchange ensuring smoother operations.

You can define JSON-RPC as the continuation of JSON with the inclusion of a remote procedure call facility. Interestingly, it is a popular choice among globally popular protocols for facilitating remote procedure calls. At the development level, JSON remote procedure calling protocol ensures the task of defining selected data structures in the case of selected applications. JSON RPC is comparatively new and features a considerably narrower scope. For example, you have restricted command sets, deployment scenarios and flexibility. On the other hand, it is the ideal option for developers to achieve faster and uncomplicated development benefits. The limitations could serve as an advantage for developers in the case of simple use cases.

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Why Would Developers Use JSON RPC?

The limitations of JSON RPC indicate that developers must refrain from choosing the protocol. However, it is a popular choice for blockchain developers as the limitations work wonders in simple use cases. Developers opt for JSON RPC over REST APIs for various reasons. You can find answers to “What is JSON-RPC used for?” by reflecting on the distinct functionalities of JSON RPC. First, it can help define data processing constraints for a concerned network. The lightweight design and faster processing also ensure that JSON RPC is an effective choice for beginning data transfer through Ethereum nodes.

The JSON RPC API does not rely on the mode and method of transport, thereby enabling the use of HTTP and sockets for interactions with blockchain. Therefore, it is an effective choice for developing Ethereum-based solutions relying on blockchain technology. In addition, JSON RPC has come up with two distinct specifications: JSON RPC 1.0 and JSON RPC 2.0. The JSON RPC 1.0 does not feature utility in certain cases, such as a lack of error-message explanations and name parameters.

However, JSON RPC 2.0 resolved the setbacks in the previous version by introducing a client-server approach. Interestingly, version 2.0 emphasized on introduction of dependency on transport means. Some plausible improvements in version 2.0 included the trimming of fields and the addition of named parameters. Without any ID for notifications, the JSON RPC protocol sends only the result or error message as the response. On top of it, JSON-RPC 2.0 also features additional extensions along with messages explaining the details of the errors.

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Understanding Remote Procedure Calls

The explanations for a JSON RPC example would be understood only when you know about remote procedure calls. So, first, you need to understand the concept of remote procedure calls in distributed computing and how it works. RPC points to the process a computer program follows for executing a subroutine or procedure in a distinct location, referred to as address space. The remote addresses spaces point at the other computers involved in the network.

The programmer needs to code remote procedure calls just like local procedure calls. Programmers can ensure coding flexibility for the subroutine, irrespective of the local or remote deployment. You would not find any prominent differences in coding RPCs for local and remote interactions. Most importantly, the programmer does not have to indicate whether one needs to implement RPC remotely or locally.

RPCs or remote procedure calls represent a type of inter-process communication. You can find responses to “How does JSON-RPC work?” by evaluating how RPCs work. Remote procedure calls rely on mechanisms offered by operating systems to help the processes manage shared data independently. Each process occupies distinct address spaces, classified into virtual and physical categories. Processes in the same machine or physical space as the host machine would feature unique virtual address spaces. The processes are associated with specific addresses, even if the physical address is the same. On the other hand, processes in separate host locations would occupy different physical spaces.

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How Does RPC Work?

The basic outline of “What is JSON-RPC format?” only reflects on the request-reply or request-response process. You should note that the process happens between the different addresses occupied by processes. The addresses are ‘servers’ or ‘clients.’ You can understand how RPC works by identifying the client and server relationship. In the case of an RPC, the client is the entity starting a remote procedure call. The client starts the remote procedure call by sending a request message to the servers. Servers must execute the procedure using specific parameters and send back a response to the client.

Interestingly, the “How does JSON-RPC work?” answers revolve around the client-server model. The back-and-forth interaction between clients and servers establishes a promising explanation for the working of JSON RPC protocol. Let us dive deeper into the client-server interaction, the foundation of JSON RPC. The inter-protocol communication mechanisms could be asynchronous or synchronous. The synchronous and asynchronous processes serve as foundations of JSON-RPC and its applications in the form of Ethereum JSON RPC for working with smart contracts, Ethereum Virtual Machine and Solidity. Client-server interactions involve clients as the callers and servers as the executors. RPCs employ the client-server interaction by using the request-response system to exchange messages.

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Best Practices for Using JSON RPC

The basic highlights of JSON RPC and its working provide the ideal foundation for understanding how to use the protocol. However, remote procedure calls can be difficult when you don’t learn from a JSON RPC example use case. The fundamentals of client-server interaction could serve as a brief overview of what you can achieve with JSON RPC. On the other hand, it is important to identify how to use the remote procedure call tool to your advantage. For starters, it is important to note that the functions of JSON RPC depend on the dispatch of client requests to servers. In this case, clients could refer to software that works for receiving a request for a consolidated method from a remote system.

The parameters you enter in the client must communicate with the remote system in the object format or an array. The remote system would send different data outputs to the request source depending on the JSON RPC API version. All the interactions through JSON RPC are combined and organized through the support of JSON itself. The request by a client in JSON RPC use cases would refer to the call to the remote method, and it would feature three distinct elements. Here is an outline of the distinct functions of the elements in the JSON remote procedure call method.

  • The method is the string used for calling a method and involves a collection of reserved names featuring the ‘rpc’ prefix.
  • The Params element in the JSON RPC request could be an array or an object, with the parameter’s value that must be carried ahead. It is important to note that JSON RPC does not invoke params for each call.
  • Another important element in the JSON-RPC request would be the ID, which is a non-fraction or string number. The request is deployed regularly to maintain the balance between requests and responses. The ID is automatically removed when there is no response to a request.

The working of the JSON RPC protocol would also draw attention to the server’s actions in the client-server interaction model. For example, servers must send back the verified response for all requests. Therefore, the next phase of working JSON RPC would involve the following three components.

  • The server response’s first and most crucial part is the result. It is the major part of the response featuring the data returned by the invoked method. Another common representation for the result is JSON-stat, which would be absent in the event of an error.
  • The error is the second important part of the server response and comes into existence in case of problems when you invoke the process. It is important to note that code and message are essential aspects of the error message.
  • The final highlight in the server response points at the response ID, which identifies the request for which the response is given. In the case of situations that don’t demand any response, the JSON RPC example would emphasize notifications, which indicate that a request does not have any response ID.

Advantages of JSON-RPC

The most crucial part of an introduction to JSON RPC is to emphasize advantages offered by the protocol. For example, you can leverage the impressive benefits of faster development time alongside seamless information exchange. In addition, developers can capitalize on improved API performance alongside simpler management tasks to achieve better efficiency. With the array of significant benefits to improve developer experience, JSON RPC is a must-have for every blockchain and web3 developer.

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Final Words

Developers working on blockchain and web3 applications must deal with the complications of interactions with blockchain networks. Rather than depending on APIs, JSON RPC can serve flexible routes for ensuring significant value advantages for developers. The answers to “What is JSON RPC format?” with an explanation of JSON and RPC and their working prove how it can offer desired benefits. In the long run, JSON RPC can simplify interoperability while also enabling the addition of new functions in web3 apps. Learn more about JSON RPC and pursue your projects in web3 with the assurance of performance and efficiency.

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*Disclaimer: The article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide any investment advice. Claims made in this article do not constitute investment advice and should not be taken as such. 101 Blockchains shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this article. Do your own research!

This article was originally reported on 101 Blockchains.