ANNOUNCEMENT: Proposed SAX Revisions

David Megginson ak117 at
Fri Mar 20 15:42:52 GMT 1998

The draft version of the Simple API for XML (SAX) came out just over
two months ago, and it has proven far more successful than I expected
-- hundreds of developers have downloaded the Java interface, four of
the six Java-based XML parsers now contain native SAX drivers (I have
written temporary drivers for the other two), and many people are
designing applications built around SAX.

After two months' experience with the draft interface, however, users
have discovered four serious omissions in the original design:

1) there is no standard way to read an XML document from an input

2) there is no way to obtain contextual information (system id, line
   number, etc.) for reporting application errors;

3) there is no way to obtain external identifiers for an attribute of
   type NOTATIONS or ENTITIES when more than one notation or entity
   name is provided; and

4) there is no way to distinguish between recoverable and
   unrecoverable errors, as required by the XML REC.

People have also rightly complained that the AttributeMap interface is
too complicated.  I have put together a web page containing my
suggestions for revisions to fix these problems and generally to clean
up the SAX interface; you will find the proposed revisions at the
following URL:

If you are interested in SAX, either as a parser writer or as an
application writer, please take a few minutes to read through this web
page.  I will look forward to receiving your comments, corrections,
and suggestions.

All the best,


David Megginson                 ak117 at
Microstar Software Ltd.         dmeggins at

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