SAX and whitespace (was Re: Problems with whitespace and msxml)

David Megginson ak117 at
Fri Jan 2 20:46:48 GMT 1998

Tim Bray writes:

 > SAX must pass all whitespace in the document, without exception,
 > through to the application.  This is the only remotely conformant
 > behavior.  The mark-insignificant-WS stuff only is possible in
 > the case you're validating, and users of SAX surely do not expect
 > a validating-processor underneath.  -Tim

I would like to avoid making any assumptions about what sort of parser
is underneath.  Ælfred, for example, does not validate, but it does
read the content models and does distinguish ignorable whitespace.  In
fact, unless I'm mistaken, the four major Java-based XML parsers --
NXP, Lark, MSXML, and Ælfred -- _all_ use a DTD if present, and are
all capable of distinguishing ignorable whitespace.

With that in mind, would it be conformant behaviour for SAX to report
ignorable whitespace as regular character data when the parser
underneath is using the DTD (and, say, supplying defaulted attribute

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117 at
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins at

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