There is no *best* SAX-conformant parser, but...

David Megginson david at
Wed Sep 16 15:36:47 BST 1998

Usha_R2 at writes:

 >  I want to use the SAX method for parsing my XML files.  Can
 > anybody please tell me which is the best SAX conferment parser
 > written in Java.  I want the parser to be ONLY a SAX conferment
 > parser i.e. it should not be both DOM & SAX conferment. I need this
 > since for my application size is very important issue.

There is no single best parser, because every Java-based parser can be
measured on at least six different axes:

1. Size
2. Speed
3. Feature set (i.e. external entity support, extra character encodings)
4. Error reporting (and overall conformance)
5. Legacy-browser compatibility (i.e. Netscape 3.0)
6. Licensing policy (free, GPL, non-commercial only, etc.)

Since you're worried about size, Microstar's AElfred
( is probably your best choice, since it weighs in
at only about 26K uncompressed, or around 14K in a compressed JAR.
I'd recommend that you always develop with more than one parser,
however -- with SAX, it's easy to swap parsers, and you can take
advantage of a parser with fully-conformant error reporting (like
James Clark's XP) for verification before you distribute to the
clients using AElfred: AElfred will always accept correct XML, but it
will not always tell you when something's wrong.

Isn't it nice to have too many tools to choose from, when the life of
the XML 1.0 REC can still be measured in months?

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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