SAX Future (was Re: Oracle XML)

Michael Kay M.H.Kay at
Fri Nov 13 10:18:08 GMT 1998

-----Original Message-----
From: david at <david at>
To: XML Developers' List <xml-dev at>
Date: 12 November 1998 15:35
Subject: SAX Future (was Re: Oracle XML)

>Richard Anderson writes:
> > For interest, have there been any developments of a 'lower level'
> > SAX to expose DTD info too ?
>We've talked about it -- I need to be convinced that there is a big
>enough demand for that (it would be useful only for very specialised
>applications).  I think that the following for SAX 1.0 are probably
>higher priorities:
My view:

- I think it is time to start talking about SAX 2.0
- I think David's list of requirements captures the main points
- I think we should get DTD info in while we're about it, though it can be
an optional feature
- I'd add two more features: (a) an option to ask the parser not to break
character data except at element boundaries. This is because it's so easy
currently to write applications that are wrong because they rely on a parser
behaviour that the SAX interface doesn't guarantee. (b) a "parser manager"
to provide control of which parser is used. (This of course is a bit of
software not just an interface! - I'll offer the parser manager in SAXON as
a starter; it should be extended to allow a pile of parser filters to be

I think we can manage compatibility as follows:
- We design 2.0 so that an application that conforms to SAX 1.0 also
conforms to SAX 2.0
- A standard wrapper round a SAX 1.0 parser should enable it to conform to
SAX 2.0, providing null/default implementations of the new features where
necessary. (E.g. the response to the question "are you a validating parser?"
is "maybe").

Mike Kay

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