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XML Parsers: DOM and SAX Put to the Test

Before making the important decision to purchase an XML parser, look at the results of Steve Franklin's test of a selection of both DOM- and SAX-based parsers.


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ML is becoming increasingly popular in the developer community as a tool for passing, manipulating, storing, and organizing information. If you are one of the many developers planning to use XML, you must carefully select and master the XML parser. The parser—one of XML's core technologies—is your interface to an XML document, exposing its contents through a well-specified API. Confirm that the parser you select has the functionality and performance that your application requires. A poor choice can result in excessive hardware requirements, poor system performance and developer productivity, and stability issues.

I tested a of selection of Java-based XML parsers, and this article presents the results while discussing the performance issues you should consider when selecting a parser. Your software's performance hinges on your choosing the right one.

Performance Issues
Because XML is a standardized format, it offers more developer and product support than proprietary formats, parsers, and configuration and storage schemes. Your XML project also will be easier to manage if you keep it simple. If possible, write interface code in only one or two languages (e.g., Java or C++), using as few APIs as possible (DOM, SAX, XML, and perhaps JAXP).



Minimizing technologies sounds good in theory, but it can't be done without effective tools. What makes a tool effective? Depending on the project, the following attributes can:

  • Stable specifications
  • Commercial vendor support
  • Adequate performance
  • Adequate API features


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