recursion in XML parser

Didier PH Martin martind at
Wed Apr 14 16:16:15 BST 1999

Hi David,

Hmm -- they are somewhat slower than Expat, but that's because they're
running tight code loops in a virtual machine.  Still, when I was
testing AElfred on a 166MHZ Pentium NT box back in late 1997, it could
parse about 1MB/second with a good VM and a JIT, and the other good
XML parsers are comparable in speed.

Granted, Expat (with memory-mapped I/O) is about 10 times as fast as
the faster Java-based XML parser, but that's a very misleading figure:
in fact, the actual parsing usually occupies only a small amount of
the time required for XML processing -- most of the time is usually
taken up by your code that actually does something with the XML.

Let's assume, then, that XML parsing occupies 10% of your
application's overhead.  Even if you could build a parser that is
1000% faster, you'd still gain only 9% in actual execution speed.

I think that nobody would argue that Java has a lot of virtues that
certainly speed of not one of them. To take your numbers David, If that part
of the application is 10 times faster than any Java parser and that the app
itself is 10 times faster also. The overall throughput is therefore 10 times
faster. Which, in certain circumstances is what's required. We would then
have an apps with a 10 times faster throughput. The state of the art for
Java may change in the future as soon as other players like HP, Novell and
IBM bring to the table their own technology and that Java would finally have
the same competitive environment as other languages have. This could be
beneficial for the language evolution as more brains think on how to improve
the performances.

Didier PH Martin
mailto:martind at

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