Yet another Java XML API: xmlpull (2/2) - exploring XML | WebReference

Yet another Java XML API: xmlpull (2/2) - exploring XML

Yet another Java XML API: xmlpull

The next funny is that the XMLPullParser is responsible for everything else in the parsing process, except providing information for a parsing problem, that's kindly left to XMLPullException.:

The reason that the design of xmlpull ignores many principles used in the Java Standard and Enterprise Editions is simple, this API is designed for J2ME, the micro edition of Java. This means that:

So this madness has a scheme behind it.

Pulling an Example

After so much destructive criticism let's focus on a constructive example. We want to count the maximal depth of nested elements in an XML document. To set up the parser, enter:

XmlPullParserFactory factory = XmlPullParserFactory.newInstance();
XmlPullParser parser = factory.newPullParser();
InputStream in = new FileInputStream(new File("blah.xml"));
parser.setInput(in, "ISO-8859-1"); // encoding can be set manually, use null for auto-detect

Ready, set, pull:

int maxdepth = 0;
int depth = 0;
for (int type =; type != parser.END_DOCUMENT; type = {
  if (type == XmlPullParser.START_TAG) {
    if (depth > maxdepth) {
      maxdepth = depth;
  else if (type == XmlPullParser.END_TAG) {

After the parser has signalled END_DOCUMENT, maxdepth contains the maximal nesting depth of XML nodes. Much less hassle than registering a callback interface with SAX's push model, or traversing document trees in DOM. In case you forgot the details, you can easily review SAX and DOM.


An Application Programming Interface is only as good as its implementations. Two free packages exist:

Choosing to use these products in Micro-Java projects, as opposed to established SAX and DOM parsers, will decide the fate of this approach to XML parsing.

Produced by Michael Claßen

Created: Mar 03, 2003
Revised: Mar 03, 2003