Can XML-RPC performance be improved?

Sion Arrowsmith siona at
Thu Mar 23 14:52:03 CET 2006

 <skip at> wrote:
>    Diez> Sion Arrowsmith wrote:
>    >> I've got an established client-server application here where there
>    >> is now a need to shovel huge amounts of data (structured as lists of
>    >> lists) between the two, and the performance bottleneck has become
>    >> the amount of time spent parsing XML ...
>    Diez> CORBA. Or TCP/IP directly. I know that isn't really the answer
>    Diez> you're looking for - but there is an overhead parsing XML, and
>    Diez> that can't go away.
>Ah, but if both ends of the pipe happen to be running Python, you can
>cheat. ;-)  Run your list through marshal.dumps() before passing it to
>xmlrpclib, then undo the marshalling on the other end.
> [ ... ]
>If you can swing it, I'd be willing to bet you a beer your XML parsing time
>will all but disappear.

I wouldn't take you up on that bet, because I'd already considered
that as a likely solution, and while I was asking here another member
of the team went away and implemented it for me. Except with cPickle
(as suggested elsewhere in the thread) -- we've got DateTime objects
in there, which marshal chokes on. Initial tests show you'd've
comfortably won your beer: 16s XML parsing down to 0.5s parsing plus
1.5s unpickling.

>If you're not using xmlrpclib with some sort of C helper (like sgmlop), try
>that as well.  Big difference parsing XML in C and Python.

Diez edited out the bit where I said we were using sgmlop and worried
about what it would be like if we weren't 8-)

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