Artificial Intelligence Authors: Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

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Re: How to parse XML document with default namespace with JDOM

Hi Michael,
Thank you very much for your thorough response even though I don't understand most of them.
All I was trying to do was to parse some simple html pages (http://forums.sun.com/thread.jspa?threadID=5343084&tstart=30) which has worked in an unstructured coding manner. I got stuck with what appears to be an I/O issue and has turned to other XML conversion tool such as TagSoup (requires Saxon 6.5.5).
I am reluctant to embark on what appears to be very different to simple JDOM XPath environment and do not see a need to use XSLT just yet. Nevertheless, you extra effort has been very much appreciated still.

From: Michael Kay <[email protected]>
To: Jack Bush <[email protected]>; [email protected]
Sent: Wednesday, 5 November, 2008 8:13:59 PM
Subject: RE: How to parse XML document with default namespace with JDOM XPath

The book you are quoting is very old information. Where it says that you can do something, it's probably right, but where it says that you can't, it may well be wrong..
Frankly, I forget exactly what's in Saxon 6.5.x because it's so long ago - I know JDOM was already supported back then but I don't remember the details of the API. I do recall, that as Elliotte says in his book, the Saxon API for invoking XPath was pretty clumsy in those days (because it was designed primarily for internal use by the XSLT engine, not as a user-facing interface). I would use a more recent release.
But the code you gave us wasn't even trying to use Saxon, it was using the XPath engine within JDOM, using a JDOM API that I'm not very familiar with, and therefore I can't tell you why it isn't working.
My own preference for this kind of coding would be to use Saxon's s9api interface, documented at
There are sample applications in the saxon-resources download (from SourceForge). It includes an example of XPath with JDOM like this:
         public void run() throws SaxonApiException {
             // Build the JDOM document
             org.jdom.input.SAXBuilder jdomBuilder = new org.jdom.input.SAXBuilder();
             File file = new File("data/books.xml");
             org.jdom.Document doc;
             try {
                 doc = jdomBuilder.build(file);
             } catch (org.jdom.JDOMException e) {
                 throw new SaxonApiException(e);
             } catch (IOException e) {
                 throw new SaxonApiException(e);
             Processor proc = new Processor(false);
             DocumentBuilder db = proc.newDocumentBuilder();
             XdmNode xdmDoc = db.wrap(doc);
             XPathCompiler xpath = proc.newXPathCompiler();
             XPathExecutable xx = xpath.compile("//ITEM/TITLE");
             XPathSelector selector = xx.load();
             for(XdmItem item : selector) {
                 XdmNode node = (XdmNode)item;
                 org.jdom.Element element = (org.jdom.Element)node.getExternalNode();
(The method getExternalNode() was added in Saxon and is not yet in the published Javadoc)
You would probably want to add a call
xpath.declareNamespace("prefix", "uri")
before the compile() call. 
Michael Kay

From: Jack Bush [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 05 November 2008 03:48
To: Michael Kay; [email protected]
Subject: Re: How to parse XML document with default namespace with JDOM XPath

Hi Michael,
Thanks for responding to this question.
I have not had any luck with [email protected] forum at all since subscribing to them a few months back.
In the meantime, can you confirm that it is not possible to use Sax 6.5.x with JDOM according to http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xmljava/chapters/ch16s05.html? Or is it because you are not familiar with JDOM?
Could anyone point me to a more useful JDOM forum to assistance with this question?
Many thanks,

From: Michael Kay <[email protected]>
To: Jack Bush <[email protected]>; [email protected]
Sent: Wednesday, 5 November, 2008 12:39:48 AM
Subject: RE: How to parse XML document with default namespace with JDOM XPath

I see no Saxon code here.. You are using the XPath engine that comes with JDOM. You might be better off asking on the JDOM list. I have to confess I'm surprised to see you declaring namespaces AFTER compiling the XPath expression, but I can't say I'm familiar with this API.
Michael Kay

From: Jack Bush [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 04 November 2008 13:02
To: [email protected]
Subject: How to parse XML document with default namespace with JDOM XPath

Hi All,


I am having difficulty parsing using Saxon and TagSoup parser on a namespace html document. The relevant content of this document are as follows:


<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">


<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />




    <div id="container">

        <div id="content">

            <table class="sresults">



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                        <a href="http://www.abc.com/areas" title=" San Jose , CA "> san jose </a>



                        <a href="http://www.abc.com/areas" title=" San Francisco , CA "> san francisco </a>



                        <a href="http://www.abc.com/areas" title=" San Diego , CA "> San diego </a>







Below is the relevant code snippets illustrates how I have attempted to retrieve the contents (value of  <a>):


             import java.util.*;

             import org.jdom.*;

             import org.jdom.xpath.*;

             import org.saxpath.*;

             import org.ccil.cowan.tagsoup.Parser;


( 1 )       frInHtml = new FileReader("C:\\Tmp\\ABC.html");

( 2 )       brInHtml = new BufferedReader(frInHtml);

( 3 ) //    SAXBuilder saxBuilder = new SAXBuilder("org.apache.xerces.parsers.SAXParser");

( 4 )       SAXBuilder saxBuilder = new SAXBuilder("org.ccil.cowan.tagsoup.Parser");

( 5 )       org.jdom..Document jdomDocument = saxbuilder.build(brInHtml);

( 6 )       XPath xpath =  XPath.newInstance("/ns:html/ns:body/ns:div[@id='container']/ns:div[@id='content']/ns:table[@class='sresults']/ns:tr/ns:td/ns:a");

( 7 )       xpath.addNamespace("ns", "http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml");

( 8 )       java.util.List list = (java.util.List) (xpath.selectNodes(jdomDocument));

( 9 )       Iterator iterator = list.iterator();

( 10 )     while (iterator.hasNext())

( 11 )     {

( 12 )            Object object = iterator.next();

( 13 ) //         if (object instanceof Element)

( 14 ) //               System.out.println(((Element)object).getTextNormalize());

( 15 )             if (object instanceof Content)

( 16 )                   System.out.println(((Content)object).getValue());




This program would work on the same document without the default namespace, hence, it would not be necessary to include “ns” prefix along in the XPath statements (line 6-7) either. Moreover, I was using “org..apache.xerces.parsers.SAXParser” to have successfully retrieve content of <a> from the same document without default namespace in the past.


I would like to achieve the following objectives if possible:


( i ) Exclude DTD and namespace in order to simplifying the parsing process. How this could be done?

( ii ) If this is not possible, how to include it in XPath statements (line 6-7) so that the value of <a> is picked up correctly?

( iii ) Would changing from “org.apache.xerces.parsers.SAXParser” to “org.ccil.cowan.tagsoup.Parser” make any difference as far as using XPath is concerned?

( iv ) Failing to exlude DTD, how to change the lookup of a PUBLIC DTD to a local SYSTEM one and include a local DTD for reference?


I am running JDK 1.6.0_06, Netbeans 6.1, JDOM 1.1, Saxon6-5-5, Tagsoup 1.2 on Windows XP platform.


Any assistance would be appreciated.


Thanks in advance,



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