Roll-Your-Own Parsers (was: Re: What Clean Specs Achieve)

Bill la Forge b.laforge at
Thu Feb 11 05:09:36 GMT 1999

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl at>
>If we could work with parser layers rather than parsers, this might become
>a lot easier to manage.  We could just turn on the parts we need and turn
>off the ones we don't. 

We've been continuing our effort to add filters to MDSAX and in the process
ran into a small problem--the runtime was loading all the filters specifiec in the context
boot document. The next release fixes this, so that only the filters actually being
used get loaded. 

Anyway, the point here is that a reasonable approach to dynamic configuration
should give you a very small footprint when only selected features are used.
This in contrast to a does-everything monolithic parser. And as the specs 
mature, it seems likely that the larger companies represented at the W3C
have no reason at all to keep the specs small and lightweight--cumbersom
specs nicely eliminates much of the competition! 

So it seems the choice is clear... expect your parsers to grow till they have more
features than MS Word, or take a configurable approach which allows the developer
to select the capabilities necessary for the job at hand.


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