jQuery 1.4 and Malformed JSON

Today, we released jQuery 1.4, a mostly backward compatible release with a few minor quirks. One of these quirks is that jQuery now uses the native JSON parser where available, rejecting malformed JSON.

This probably sounds fine, except that by malformed JSON, we mostly mean:

{foo: "bar"}

Because this is valid JavaScript, people have long assumed it was valid JSON, and a lot of hand-coded JSON is written like this. Thankfully, JSON automatically generated by Rails does not have this problem, so most of you guys should not have an issue here.

If you have server-side JSON that can't be quickly fixed in the transition to jQuery 1.4, you can use the compatibility plugin, which tries to patch a number of small incompatibilities, or you can use this workaround:

$.ajax({url: "/url", 
  dataType: "json",
  success: function(json) {
    // do something with json

// becomes

$.ajax({url: "/url",
  dataType: "text",
  success: function(text) {
    json = eval("(" + text + ")");
    // do something with JSON

Essentially, this is what jQuery used to do to evaluate JSON, so with these small changes you can get the old behavior.

Again, though, you should probably be modifying your busted server-side code to stop sending malformed JSON!