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Parsing is the act of splitting up information into its component parts (schools used to teach this in language classes until the teaching profession caught the anti-grammar virus).‘Mary feeds Spot’ parses as In computing, a parser is a program (or a piece of code or API that you can reference inside your own programs) which analyses files to identify the component parts.

All applications that read input have a parser of some kind, otherwise they'd never be able to figure out what the information means.

XML applications are just the same: they contain a parser which reads XML and identifies the function of each the pieces of the document, and it then makes that information available in memory to the rest of the program. As the component parts of the program are identified, a validating parser can compare them with the pattern laid down by the DTD or Schema, to check that they conform.

While reading an XML file, a parser checks the syntax (pointy brackets, matching quotes, etc) for well-formedness, and reports any violations (reportable errors). In the process, default values and datatypes (if specified) can be added to the in-memory result of the validation that the validating parser gives to the application.(and lots of other stuff too).

This ends up as a kind of family-tree structure in the application's memory (tree structures are a common way for programs to store related data).

As well as built-in parsers, there are also stand-alone parser-validators (see Bill Rayer’s tip), which read an XML file and tell you if they find an error (like missing angle-brackets or quotes, or misplaced markup).You can check there if a bug you found has been fixed or a feature you want has been implemented in the latest trunk version. If you are sure you found a bug in lxml, please file a bug report there. Any donation that you make to the lxml project is voluntary and is not a fee for any services, goods, or advantages.If you are not sure whether some unexpected behaviour of lxml is a bug or not, please check the documentation and ask on the mailing list first. By making a donation to the lxml project, you acknowledge that we have the right to use the money you donate in any lawful way and for any lawful purpose we see fit and we are not obligated to disclose the way and purpose to any party unless required by applicable law.In addition to the Element Tree API, lxml also features a sophisticated API for custom XML element classes.This is a simple way to write arbitrary XML driven APIs on top of lxml.This is essential for testing files in isolation before doing something else with them, especially if they have been created by hand without an XML editor, or by an API which may be too deeply embedded elsewhere to allow easy testing.

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