XML

Matthew Burgess matthew at linuxfromscratch.org
Wed Feb 2 11:44:51 PST 2005


Hui Zhou wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 02, 2005 at 08:21:40AM -0700, Kevin P. Fleming wrote:
> 
>> Gerard Beekmans wrote:
>>
>>> Maybe you can look at it this way: The profile is source code. The
>>> validation process is the compiler. Then it is accepted and now a proper
>>> executable piece of code.
>>
>>
>> Very good example Gerard! And it follows that while the compiler may 
>> very well compile your source code and produce an executable binary, 
>> that binary may not at all do what you expected, due to semantic 
>> errors in the source code that the compiler could not find for you. 
>> This is the identical situation that we are talking about with 
>> validating XML, but there's no reason to stop doing it just because it 
>> can't find _all_ errors. 
> 
> 
> We are talking about a validating process before actual parsing.
> The compiler parses without using another process to validate.

And how do you think the validator (xmllint) manages to validate the XML 
if it doesn't also parse it?

Again, this is a case of us not wanting to do any more work than is 
absolutely necessary.  If the server doesn't receive a completely valid 
profile then it has to bail out (much like the compiler has to bail our 
if you give it any invalid code) - it can't possibly start processing 
any commands it may have successfully parsed if the whole profile hasn't 
been inspected.

So it comes down to these 2 situations:

1) Using SAX we could validate and process the XML in one pass. 
However, if we're handed an invalid profile, we've just wasted time 
processing[1] whatever sensible XML we did find.
2) Using 2 passes, we could firstly validate the XML before doing any 
other processing on it.  We have to parse the profile twice, but won't 
end up needlessly processing any invalid XML.

Note that 'XML' in the above 2 situations can be replaced with any data 
format.  The advantages of XML are that it saves us having to define our 
own data format and thus write parsers/validators for it.

Cheers,

Matt.

[1] By processing I mean translating the profiles into commands, and 
executing and logging those commands.



More information about the alfs-discuss mailing list