Partial XML Processors (was Re: JavaScript parser update and Questions)

Paul Prescod papresco at
Sat Jan 17 17:57:27 GMT 1998

Peter Murray-Rust wrote:
> It's common for compilers to say "sorry, this
> expression is just too complicated for me to deal with - you'll have to
> break it up a bit". 

Compilers for which languages? I mean I'm familiar with error messages
like "This compiler doesn't support this language feature *yet*" and
"this tool does not support that optional langauge feature" but a
message like "this tool chooses not to support a required feature" is
quite foreign to me. Such a tool simply has a bug in it.

> The WG has (I think rightly) said that there should not be conformance
> levels  in XML. [For those not familiar with SGML, there are a large number
> of different options, many of which are not supported by many parsers.]
> But I suspect there will be a number of tools which don't support the whole
> spec - this is a neutral statement. And there will be a number of documents
> that don't use the whole functionality of XML - this is also a neutral
> statement.  We have frequently talked about the Desperate Perl Hacker
> writing tools which are sufficient to process a class of XML documents, but
> not all.
> I can see convergence between these activities.

The Desperate Perl Hacker is not trying to get at the structure of the
XML document. They are working with it as a more or less "flat" text
file. They are not trying to create an XML processor in the PR sense.
Let's call what they do "XML massaging". In most cases, these tools will
not even work with documents conforming to DTDs that they are not
familiar with. The described JavaScript processor is in a very different
range of tool.

 Paul Prescod
"You have the wrong number."
"Eh? Isn't that the Odeon?"
"No, this is the Great Theater of Life. Admission is free, but the 
taxation is mortal. You come when you can, and leave when you must. The 
show is continuous. Good-night." -- Robertson Davies, "The Cunning Man"

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as:
To (un)subscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
(un)subscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list