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From Stefano Mazzocchi <>
Subject some XSLT benchmarks
Date Sat, 16 Feb 2002 16:58:20 GMT
[crossposting on xalan-dev since they might be interested in these

I want to have numbers to know whether or not a native implementation of
an XSLT transformer for Cocoon would make sense, so I did some

I used XSLTMark and rerun the test on my machine (old laptop, but
anyway), here are the results, I'll commment them below.


 Sony VAIO PCG-F280
 Intel Pentium II 366 Mhz
 128 Mb RAM
 Microsoft Windows 2000 - Service Pack 3 [1]

Xalan-J (built into JDK 1.4, uses crimson)

Sun 1.4.0 (client)  108,73

Xalan-J 2.3 + Xerces 2.0 (latest and greatest)

IBM 1.3.0            74,80
Sun 1.3.1_02         56,45
Sun 1.4.0 (client)   55,11

Xalan-J 2.3 + Crimson

IBM 1.3.0            85,27
Sun 1.4.0 (client)   76,02[2]

Xalan-J 2.2.0 + Xerces 1.4.4 (shipped with Cocoon 2.0.1)

IBM 1.3.0            85,27
Sun 1.3.1_02         61,08
Sun 1.4.0 (client)   57,10

Saxon 6.5.1

IBM 1.3.0           147,78
Sun 1.3.1_02        120,99
Sun 1.4.0 (client)  103,58
Sun 1.4.0 (server)   79,52


IBM 1.3.0           251,62
Sun 1.3.1_02        244,64
Sun 1.4.0 (client)  229,44
Sun 1.4.0 (server)  171,26


(native)            322,95

FastXML (http://www.geocities/fastxml/)

(native)           1056,99[2]


[1] all programs in the tray bar or background were removed, ethernet 
disconnected, and mouse left untouched during the runs.

[2] this was obtained by moving 'xalan.jar' into the
directory, but without moving 'xerces-impl.jar' so that the default SAX
handler is the one shipped with the JDK 1.4 (which is crimson).

[2] this processor is an half-baked win32-only version which was
by hand for the x86 architecture and had some parsing and compliance
(XSLTMark reports 70% compliance, against 94% for MSXML and 100% for
saxon and


A few things to note:

1) Xalan is slow. Sorry people, but almost every serious parser beats
Xalan in terms of pure throughtput. The fact that XT (abandoned by
years) is still *way* faster than Xalan (twice as fast, normally)
worries me very much.

WARNING: I've run the tests as the guys in XSLTMark wrote them, so it is
entirely possible they didn't use optimization tricks. If you Xalan
folks know some and want to rewrite the Xalan driver for XSLTMark, I'm
sure everyone here will appreciate that.

2) XT is still spectacularly fast, even if abandoned a long time ago (I
used the source from not the ones from Cocoon
will continue to ship it as long as Xalan can match its speed (and I
still can't imagine why it doesn't!)

3) Xerces 2.0 appears slower than Xerces 1.4.4, and crimson appears
faster than Xerces in almost every case.

4) MSXML is faster than XT, but it't not using a SAX interface, so, as
Berin suggested, connecting a native SAX handler might waste the benefit
of native speed thru the JNI connection since lots of methods must be

I think Ovidiu is right saying that we should concentrate on having a
faster (lighter?) and even non-completely-compliant XSLT processor that
is focused on speed.

5) i haven't tested Xalan Translets, which, along with compiled XML
might be *the* way to go for Cocoon production environments: when you
need speed, you compile your XML files (so get rid of the parsing stage)
and compile the XSLT into translets (then we could easily wrap them and
make them cocoon transformers) and we could be ready to kick ass.... but
there was no XSLTMark driver for the Xalan translets (only for old Sun's
XSLTC) and I didn't have time to write one myself (hint hint).

6) the FastXML parser is real, but I think it's cheating: writing an
XSLT processor in assembly is a total waste of time, with the price of
development compared with the price of hardware. Anyway, I asked the
author (who now works for Microsoft.. guess why :) if she cared to open
source it and donate the code to us. I'll let you know if anything
happens here.

At the end: we need faster XSLT processing and I'm sorry but Xalan
doesn't seem to be leading the way as I would like it to do :/

Flamesuit on, fire at need.

Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<>                             Friedrich Nietzsche

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