[XML-SIG] Replacing a Java tool-chain with 4Suite?

Mike Brown mike@skew.org
Wed, 15 Jan 2003 19:06:06 -0700 (MST)

Dieter Maurer wrote:
> About 18 months ago, I switched from 4Suite to Saxon, because:
>   *  4Suite processed DocBook/XML documents with Norman Walsh's XSLT
>      stylesheets more than 10 times slower than Saxon.

This was resolved in July 2002, in time for the 0.12.0a3 release.

4xslt is now faster than Saxon in some cases, slower in others. For a quick
check I ran just now, using DocBook XSLT 1.55, 4Suite took 18 secs while Saxon
took 11, on my machine. In current CVS we've got a couple of things that are
still in flux and that are inflating our processing time, so I expect the gap
will narrow a bit by the time 0.12.0b1 is released.

>   *  It took more than 5 times as much memory

Memory usage is still higher than we'd like it to be, but should not be 5x.
Running a comparison just now showed Saxon using 154 MB during a DocBook
transform, while 4xslt crept up to 49 MB before it was done. Not entirely a
fair comparison because the JVM needs its heap allocated in advance, but still
much better than what you were seeing with the 0.11.x releases, I'm sure.

>   *  There have been many XSLT bugs in 4Suite leading to wrong
>      rendering of the Docbook style sheets.
>      Despite problem reports the bugs were not fixed.

In late 2001, after the 0.11.1 release, there was a complete code overhaul. We
also started using SourceForge for bug tracking.

I've also made it a personal priority, since joining the development effort,
to identify and squash every conformance bug I can. At present, the
outstanding XPath and XSLT bugs don't affect 99% of use cases. Output is
almost always identical, save for inconsequential things like attribute
quoting, to that of Saxon.

Now that we can process the DocBook XSLT stylesheets, we use them to verify
that we produce the same results as Saxon. If there are problems remaining,
report them to the 4suite list and/or post about them on the bug tracker for
the "foursuite" project on SourceForge.

> Time had passed and 4Suite is now surely better than 18 months ago.
> Nevertheless, you should make some checks whether it is now up to
> your tasks.

Good advice, no matter what processor one is considering.


  Mike J. Brown   |  http://skew.org/~mike/resume/
  Denver, CO, USA |  http://skew.org/xml/