Chapter 9. JAXP

When Sun released the Java API for XML Parsing, generally referred to as JAXP, they managed to launch a series of contradictions into the Java world. In one swoop, they released the most important API that wasn’t an API to Java developers, and caused great confusion with the simplest API. People switched to a new parser without knowing they had switched to a new parser. There is a lot of confusion surrounding JAXP, not only about how to use it, but even about what it is.

In this chapter, I’ll first address some of the confusion about what JAXP is and is not.[13] Then you’ll get a look at JAXP 1.0, which is still used heavily. Once you get the basics, we will move on to JAXP 1.1, the latest version (not quite released as of the writing of this chapter, but almost certainly available by publication time). That will give you a leg up on the new features in the latest version, and in particular the TrAX API included in JAXP 1.1. Buckle up, and be prepared to finally understand the mystery behind JAXP.

API or Abstraction

Before diving into code, it’s important to cover some basic concepts. Strictly speaking, JAXP is an API, but it is more accurately called an abstraction layer. It does not provide a new means of parsing XML, add to SAX, DOM, or JDOM, or provide new functionality in handling Java and XML. Instead, it makes it easier to deal with some difficult tasks with DOM and SAX. It also makes it possible to handle vendor-specific tasks encountered when using the DOM ...

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