SAX/C++ vs. SAX2

David Megginson david at
Fri Dec 3 18:22:56 GMT 1999

I'd like to hear what others think on this issue.  There was some
interest in SAX2 when I posted my alpha interfaces a few months back
(most notably, but not exclusively, from David Brownell), but it was
hardly a tidal wave.  On the other hand, I am noticing a building
pressure from implementors to get something out in C++.

I can think of a few reasons that the world might desperately be
waiting for SAX2:

1. To get some kind of standard Namespace support (or at least a way
   to tell whether a parser has Namespace support built in).

2. To query parser features in general.

3. To get at the stuff that SAX 1.0 doesn't report, like comments,
   CDATA boundaries, and DTD declarations.

I think that there is a real need for #1, since many other specs (XSL,
XML Schema, RDF, XHTML, etc.) are built on top of Namespaces.  I think
that #2 would make life a fair bit easier for library developers, but
it's not as critical (Simon St-Laurent will be grateful, though).

I have a lot of trouble with #3, though.  There are a few specialized
fields where this stuff isn't just syntactic fluff (repositories and
editing tools spring immediately to mind), but in general, very, very,
very few real-world XML applications need to know about anything but
elements, attributes, and character data -- witness the recent SML

I'm very interested in hearing other opinions.  Having a standard
streaming interface stimulated a lot of development of reusable Java
XML processing components, and I'd like to see the same thing happen
in C++, but I need to hear what other people think the priorities
should be.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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