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From "Edwin Goei" <Edwin.G...@eng.sun.com>
Subject Re: [spinnaker] Announce
Date Mon, 10 Jul 2000 18:47:58 GMT
> If this has been seen as a Sun vs IBM war it can only be because of the
> way James first presented this new project. I quote:
> James Duncan Davidson wrote:
> > After quite a bit of
> > discussion, the rest of the XML team at Sun, the people who are
> > for the parser that will ship in the core of future JDKs, agree as well.
> > is important to stress that we want to ship an Apache based parser in
> > JDK for all the reasons that you'd expect.
> It is crystal clear that this is all about Sun, not James as individual,
> despite his later claims. Just a fact.

I think you are attibuting too much malice to Duncan.

> One last point, this is hardly a matter of misplaced sensitivity. None
> of the authors of the original code are still involved in this project.
> Most of us have only been involved in this for a few months. I just
> think there is much more value in helping to improve the current code
> than starting a competing project in parallel. For one thing, I don't
> think this project can afford wasting resources. Andy Clark, Jeff
> Rodriguez, and Eric Ye are struggling to finish up the implementation of
> XML Schemas. I'm sure they wouldn't mind any help.
> This is not to say that it's wrong to make experiments on the side. This
> is to me a natural way of making progress. We do that all the time. As a
> matter of fact I have three checkouts of the xerces source tree in which
> I keep experimenting various ideas. In one of them I've even merged some
> of the code from the crimson DOM into xerces DOM.
> It's just that I have more faith in evolution than revolution.

Since working on XML parsers, I've looked at the internals of 3 main ones:
Xerces, Sun's Crimson/ProjectX parser (I did not write it), and Aelfred2
(http://home.pacbell.net/david-b/xml/).  In my opinion, Aelfred2 and Crimson
are the easiest to understand internally and though I've made several
attempts, I haven't spent the time necessary to really understand the
internals of Xerces.  Yes, Xerces does more and has more features, but I
believe that it can be done in a cleaner way.  The Crimson code base also
has problems because it is old  For example, Crimson was written before
there was a DOM standard so the author(s) (I don't know how many) had to
make assumptions about namespace handling which later turned out to be
wrong.  Aelfred2 has some interesting ideas in it, it uses SAX2 and layers
features such as validation on top of SAX2, at the expense of some
non-conformance.  From what I've seen though, it has a clean design, but
some people may have issues with the conformance.

So speaking as an individual (as I normally do), I really don't feel
motivated to learn the current internals of Xerces better which is what
evolution would involve.  I would much prefer to work on Aelfred2 (not an
Apache project) or fix Crimson.  But even better would be to work on a new
parser that would take the best ideas from the parsers I've mentioned above

Incidently, I've also looked at the xerces_j_2 branch of the Xerces tree
which looks like the outline of a totally new parser (a revolution).  This
might be a good starting point for a new parser.  It looks like the last
checkins to that code were about a month ago.  What is going on with this
branch?  BTW, someone told me about this branch, I've never seen any
discussions about it on xerces-j-dev or xml-general.


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