Definition

SAX (Simple API for XML)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: The API lifecycle: A look at planning to production

SAX (Simple API for XML) is an application program interface (API) that allows a programmer to interpret a Web file that uses the Extensible Markup Language (XML) - that is, a Web file that describes a collection of data. SAX is an alternative to using the Document Object Model (DOM) to interpret the XML file. As its name suggests, it's a simpler interface than DOM and is appropriate where many or very large files are to be processed, but it contains fewer capabilities for manipulating the data content.

SAX is an event-driven interface. The programmer specifies an event that may happen and, if it does, SAX gets control and handles the situation. SAX works directly with an XML parser.

SAX was developed collaboratively by members of the XML-DEV mailing list (currently hosted by OASIS). The original version of SAX, which was specific to Java, was the first API for XML in Java to gain broad industry support.

This was last updated in September 2005

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