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Advanced SAX

This article, the first of three parts, takes a look at the Simple API for XML (SAX) that goes beyond basic parsing and content handling. It is excerpted from chapter four of the book Java and XML, Third Edition, written by Brett McLaughlin and Justin Edelson (O'Reilly, 2006; ISBN: 059610149X). Copyright © 2006 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media.

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By: O'Reilly Media
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July 11, 2007
  1. · Advanced SAX
  2. · Setting Properties and Features
  3. · Error Handling
  4. · Resolving Entities

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Advanced SAX - Error Handling
(Page 3 of 4 )

Invoking the setFeature() and setProperty() methods can result in SAXNotSupportedException s and SAXNotRecognizedException s.

Both of these are also in the org.xml.sax package.

The first, SAXNotSupportedException , indicates that the parser “knows” about the feature or property but doesn’t support it. This is commonly used when a standard property or feature is not yet coded in (such as in alpha or beta versions of parsers). So invoking setFeature("http://xml.org/sax/features/namespaces") on a parser in development might result in a SAXNotSupportedException . The parser recognizes the feature (and probably plans to support it at some point), but doesn’t have the ability to perform the requested processing.

The second exception, SAXNotRecognizedException , commonly occurs when your code uses vendor-specific features and properties, and then you switch out your parser implementations. The new implementation won’t know anything about the other vendor’s features or properties, and will throw a SAXNotRecognizedException .

You should always explicitly catch these exceptions so you can report them, rather than treating them as just another generic SAXException . Otherwise, you end up losing valuable information about what happened in your code. This means you may have to write a bit of extra code, but thus is the price for good exception handling; here’s a slightly updated version of the buildTree() method (detailed originally in Chapter 3) that handles these problems gracefully:

public void buildTree(DefaultTreeModel treeModel ,
                      DefaultMutableTreeNode base, String xmlURI)
  throws IOException, SAXException {

  String featureURI = "";
  XMLReader reader = null;

  try {
    // Create instances needed for parsing
    reader = XMLReaderFactory.createXMLReader(); 
    JTreeHandler jTreeHandler =
new JTreeHandler(treeModel, base);

    // Register content handler

    // Register error handler

    // Turn on validation
    featureURI =
    reader.setFeature(featureURI, true);

    // Turn on schema validation, as well
    featureURI =
http://apache.org/xml/features/ validation/schema;
    reader.setFeature(featureURI, true);

    // Parse
    InputSource inputSource = new InputSource(xmlURI);
  } catch (SAXNotRecognizedException e) {
    System.err.println("The parser class " + reader.getClass().getName() +
      " does not recognize the feature URI '" + featureURI + "'");
  } catch (SAXNotSupportedException e) {
    System.err.println("The parser class " + reader.getClass().getName() +
      " does not support the feature URI '" + featureURI + "'");

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