It's been a long time since articles have touched on parsing XML documents with Qt. I would like to share some fresh news about the expected changes in the next releases. But first, let's recap what Qt currently provides for reading and writing XML documents.
This module provides implementations for two different models for reading and writing XML files: the Document Object Model DOM and the Simple XML API (SAX). In the DOM, the complete XML file is loaded into memory and represented as a tree, making it easy to access and manipulate its nodes. DOM is generally used in applications where you don't care about memory. SAX, on the other hand, is an event-based XML parser and does not load the entire XML document into memory. Instead, it generates events for tokens during parsing, and the user can handle these events. The application must implement the handler interfaces (in whole or in part using QXmlDefaultHandler). Many people find this inconvenient as it forces them to structure their code around this model.
Another problem is that the current implementation of SAX (and by extension the DOM, since it's implemented using SAX) is not fully compatible with the XML standard. Given these shortcomings, Qt no longer recommends the use of SAX, and the decision has been made to deprecate these classes as of Qt 5.15.
Fortunately, Qt provides XML streaming classes as a more convenient and XML-compliant alternative for working with XML files.
As mentioned above, SAX classes will soon be deprecated, which means that QDomDocument will no longer be able to use them. That's why it was re-implemented using QXmlStreamReader. Qt 6 will switch to the new implementation, but older versions of Qt will still use the old implementation as the new one will bring a few behavioral changes and developers don't want to do that until Qt 6.
What does this change mean for Qt DOM users? Because QXmlStreamReader follows the XML specification more closely, QDomDocument will do the same starting with Qt 6. This will mean the following behavior changes for QDomDocument:
Attribute values will be normalized
. For example,
• Identical qualified attribute names will no longer be allowed , ie element attributes must have unique names.
• undeclared namespace prefixes will no longer be allowed .
If you are using QDomDocument and relying on any of these, consider updating your code and XML documents accordingly.