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The XML C parser and toolkit of Gnome


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"Programming with libxml2 is like the thrilling embrace of an exotic stranger." Mark Pilgrim

Libxml2 is the XML C parser and toolkit developed for the Gnome project (but usable outside of the Gnome platform), it is free software available under the MIT License. XML itself is a metalanguage to design markup languages, i.e. text language where semantic and structure are added to the content using extra "markup" information enclosed between angle brackets. HTML is the most well-known markup language. Though the library is written in C a variety of language bindings make it available in other environments.

Libxml2 is known to be very portable, the library should build and work without serious troubles on a variety of systems (Linux, Unix, Windows, CygWin, MacOS, MacOS X, RISC Os, OS/2, VMS, QNX, MVS, VxWorks, ...)

Libxml2 implements a number of existing standards related to markup languages:

In most cases libxml2 tries to implement the specifications in a relatively strictly compliant way. As of release 2.4.16, libxml2 passed all 1800+ tests from the OASIS XML Tests Suite.

To some extent libxml2 provides support for the following additional specifications but doesn't claim to implement them completely:

  • Document Object Model (DOM) the document model, but it doesn't implement the API itself, gdome2 does this on top of libxml2
  • RFC 959 : libxml2 implements a basic FTP client code
  • RFC 1945 : HTTP/1.0, again a basic HTTP client code
  • SAX: a SAX2 like interface and a minimal SAX1 implementation compatible with early expat versions

A partial implementation of XML Schemas Part 1: Structure is being worked on but it would be far too early to make any conformance statement about it at the moment.

Separate documents:

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