Do I need to use a validating parser?

Peter Wilson pwilson at
Fri May 7 16:49:55 BST 1999

Some time ago I wrote a structured editor where I parsed java source and
allowed the user to edit an action diagram. The editor looked after the
nesting of compound statements/methods etc. I allowed the user to free
type method calls, assignments and conditions. The problem was that I
could not reliably re-parse the source if it contained syntax errors. A
single } could unhinge the whole scheme.

The answer was to use XML to delimit the gross structure of the program
source and to let the user type whatever they wanted - but not structure
tags. Program source can then be reliably re-parsed.

I am still working towards this goal but have become stuck in the
XML/DOM tar pit.

I have been working on the idea of compiled XML but came to the
realization that the internal structure was not very different from DOM.

However, when making the conversion I discover that DOM has been
designed with desktop bloatware in mind.  The NodeList requirement is
one of the worst.

The compile function idea still works. You get a binary representation
of a DOM tree. This occupies half the size of the original XML and
requires no parsing to re-load. The original XML is still recoverable.

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