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You will remember that XML documents can be either well formed or valid. Valid documents not only respect the syntactic rules but also conform to a structure as described in a DTD or a schema.
Likewise, there are validating and nonvalidating parsers.
Admittedly, this example is oversimplified, but it illustrates the definition of a parser: an off-the-shelf component that isolates programmers from the specifics of the XML syntax.
If you are not convinced yet or if you would rather write your own XML parser, consider this: No programmer in his or her right mind (except those working for Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and the like) would write low-level database drivers.
It makes more sense to use the drivers that ship with the database.
Likewise, no programmer should spend time decoding XML filesit makes more sense to turn to existing parsers. In a compiler, a parser is the module that reads and interprets the source code.
Parsers are confusing because they have received a lot of publicity: There are dozens of parsers freely available on the Internet.
When Microsoft shipped Internet Explorer 4.0 as the first browser with XML support, they really meant they had bundled two XML parsers with it.
The previous chapters showed how to view and transform XML documents.If you were to write such a library, after one month, you would have written your own parser.Is it productive to spend one month writing a parser library when you need only a quarter of a day's work to process the data? It is more sensible to download a parser from the Internet or use one that ships with your favorite development tool.A parser is a software component that sits between the application and XML files.Its goal is to shield the developer from the intricacies of the XML syntax.