Streams, protocols, documents and fragments

David Megginson david at
Thu Feb 25 13:43:15 GMT 1999

Mark Birbeck writes:

 > > More importantly, you don't want to have to parse an entire document
 > > just to find out where it ends because that forces your system into
 > > linear processing -- on a busy server, it is absolutely necessary to
 > > be to isolate the documents/packets quickly and pass them off to
 > > separate threads (or even separate boxes) for parsing and processing.
 > You may be able to *parse* parts of the document before the entire
 > document has completely arrived, but it is surely wrong to *process* the
 > document because you don't yet know if it's well-formed or valid. Some
 > of the parsing you did in one process might be invalidated as the result
 > of another process.

I think that there's a bit of confusion here -- we're talking about
receiving multiple documents in the same stream.  My claim is that you 
wouldn't want to have to do XML parsing to determine where one
document ended and the next began, even if there weren't markup
allowed after the end tag -- it's better to have a stream layer above
the XML.

That said, there are many circumstances where someone might want to
process a document as it arrives -- every application and domain has
different requirements.

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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