[XML-SIG] Xalan and Xerces...

Guy Murphy GuyM@eurodatasystems.com
Tue, 17 Oct 2000 13:22:21 +0100


Been lurking for quite a while now.

I understand that the fourthought offering might well be a good one, but I
am a little confused as to what the fourthought offering might bring to
Python that Xalan and Xerces would not, and why the fourthought offering has
been blessed by the SIG for pyXML. [genuine pondering, not rhetorical]

Windows developers are in the fortunate position of having a reference
parser, MSXML to develop for. Any product aimed at the Windows platform can
reasonably stipulate a requirement for MSXML.

Xalan and Xerces I would assert are the most likely candidates to become the
cross platform (or indeed Unix focussed with Windows availability)
reflection of MSXML. A stable, well documented, widely distributed XML
parser and XSL processing engine. It's use by Apache ensures a reasonable
degree of development resource.

Also given that C++ and Java versions of Xalan and Xerces are available,
this would have to me at least seemed a perfect fit for Python and JPython

Why has fourthought's offering been chosen over Xalan and Xerces? [again
genuine question, not rhetorical]

It seems to me that a precious opportunity to become *the* language of
choice for cross-platform XML development is being lost by the Python
community. Python's SAX support is good, but it's DOM support to date is
less than "industrial strength", and doesn't look as if it will be for some
time yet.

If Python had production quality XML/XSL support and a core Apache module (I
realise there are two or more such modules existing, but again IMHO they are
not well focused by the community, and of unverified / unproven strength)
then Python could capitalise on a cross-platform web-development role.

In an ideal world a Python DOM/XPath/XSLT wrapper that could mask either a
Xalan/Xerces or MSXML core, with an automatic switch dependant upon platform
and availability might start to qualify for the term "full XML support".

****Moving slightly but not wholly out of the lists scope****

My own personal view is that such a Web development niche focused upon ease
of XML development is essential for Pythons long term viability as a
development language (as opposed to a spare wrench in the toolbox). This
niche is as much about developers perception of Python as much as it's
actual ability, and takes time to build up.

I would like to have developers think of Python and XML in the same way as
they think of Perl and regular expressions.

I've been playing with .NET and this evening will be playing with Python.NET
(with the .NET Xml library), and if MS ever does manage to get the port
they're after out of Corel then Python like many others risks having itself
assimilated unless it has a real strong niche offering.

Looking forward to my re-education as to why Python has moved this way,

Best Regards,

	Guy J Murphy