Category Archives: XML

The problem of mixing library versions

Usually you wouldn’t mix versions. Build environments like Maven should handle this for you – although even maven can get things wrong.

Yesterday I was playing with Apache TomEE looking at migrating some webapp’s away from Apache Tomcat 7. The impetus for this was to get Rest services working and one of the TomEE profiles supports JAX-RS rest services. Tomcat only supports JAX-WS as thats in Java EE6 Web profile.

Anyhow, with the theory that the webapp’s should just run with minor config changes to the container (declaring datasources, that sort of thing) I installed TomEE and got Netbeans to deploy to it.


None of the apps would deploy. They all complained about slf4j missing a method:

java.lang.NoSuchMethodError: org.slf4j.spi.LocationAwareLogger.log(Lorg/slf4j/Marker;Ljava/lang/String;ILjava/lang/String;[Ljava/lang/Object;Ljava/lang/Throwable;)V
    at org.apache.commons.logging.impl.SLF4JLocationAwareLog.debug(
    at org.apache.http.impl.conn.tsccm.ThreadSafeClientConnManager$1.getConnection(
    at org.apache.http.impl.client.DefaultRequestDirector.execute(
    at org.apache.http.impl.client.AbstractHttpClient.execute(

Now if you ever see this, it’s down to having mixed versions of slf4j in your classpath – and unlike Tomcat, TomEE uses the most recent version of slf4j.

The solution

Many hours later I find this article where someone had a similar problem last year: SLF4J Dependencies and LocationAwareLogger.log Method Not Found Exception.

Now my webapps also use the latest standalone tiles library for layout so after getting maven to show me the dependency tree (mvn dependency:tree) on the webapp it showed that I was pulling in an old slf4j version into the webapp.

So, with a minor change to the pom telling maven to exclude slf4j it finally worked.

Here’s the changes I ended up making to the pom:

  <!-- needed to exclude slf4j which causes incompatibilities -->


The first dependency is for tiles. The <version/> element is missing as I declare that in the project’s root pom and ensures all webapps use the same version.

The important bit is the <exclusions/> element, here we tell maven to exclude those artifacts from the war. There’s one or more <exclusion/> elements which contain just the <groupId/> and <artifactId/> elements – no <version/> here.

The second dependency is for slf4j. It’s here to allow any code provided by the war to have access to it. Again <version/> is missing as its in the root pom but we provide a <scope/> of provided. This tells maven it can use it for compiling but does not include it in the war.

Finally in the project’s other modules I just make sure that any pom with a reference to slf4j is also declared as provided so they don’t cause maven to include it either.

That’s about it. It only took me about 4 hours of hunting around to find the underlying cause. In the Windows world this is known as DLL Hell – well it can happen to any OS/Environment & it is hell when it strikes.


  • If you use another logging library within your webapp then that shouldn’t be affected. log4j should just work, this problem appears just to be for slf4j.
  • If you use apache commons logging then you can declare that as provided if you wanted. This is because TomEE provides it at the container level as well as slf4j.

Formatting xml in emacs

I had this problem of debugging some xml but when reading the output of some log4j it was almost impossible to read so I needed some way of prettifying the xml quickly.

For this example I have the following xml:

<?xml version="1.0"?><xml><iq xmlns="jabber:component:accept" from="" id="iq_257" to="" type="get"><query xmlns="some:namespace"/></iq></xml>

So how do we pretify this in emacs?

Well the first thing to do is to write an extension function & place it into your ~/.emacs file. Placing it here means that when you open emacs the extension is available:

(defun xml-format ()
    (shell-command-on-region (mark) (point) "xmllint --format -" (buffer-name) t)

Now this works by passing the buffer to the xmllint utility and replaces it with the output – in this case nicely formatted xml.

Now we need to install xmllint:

pi@lindesfarne: ~$ sudo apt-get install libxml2-utils

Ok so now open emacs and open the xml. To format first select the xml you want to format then Press Escape then x followed by xml-format & press return. You should then get the xml nicely formatted:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <iq xmlns="jabber:component:accept" from="" id="iq_257" to="" type="get">
    <query xmlns="some:namespace"/>

NioSax – Sax style xml parser for Java NIO

NioSax (pronounced ‘Neo-Sax’) provides a Java NIO friendly XML push parser similar in operation to SAX. Unlike SAX, with NioSax it is possible for the xml source to contain partial content (i.e. only part of the XML stream has been received over the network). When this occurs, instead of failing with an error, NioSax simply stops. As soon as your application receives more data you simply call the same instance of the parser again and it will resume parsing where it left off.

The public API consists of the classes within this package, although the bare minimum required for use are the NioSaxParser, NioSaxParserHandler and NioSaxSource classes.

To use NioSax you simply use NioSaxParserFactory to create a NioSaxParser, implement a SAX ContentHandler and finally create a NioSaxSource which references the content.

Then you can parse one or more ByteBuffer’s by updating the NioSaxSource with each buffer and pass it to the NioSaxParser.parse(NioSaxSource) method.

The only other two things you must to do with the parser is to ensure that you call NioSaxParser.startDocument() prior to any parsing, and call NioSaxParser.endDocument() once you are done with the parser so any resources used can be cleaned up.


First in maven we need to add a dependency to NioSax. For details of the repository click on the ‘reteptools’ menu above. However you’ll need to add the following to your pom:


Now we’ll create a parser:

import java.nio.ByteBuffer;

public class MyParser
    private NioSaxParser parser;
    private NioSaxParserHandler handler;
    private NioSaxSource source;

    public void start()
        NioSaxParserFactory factory = NioSaxParserFactory.getInstance();

        parser = factory.newInstance();
        parser.setHandler( handler );
        source = new NioSaxSource();


Next, when you receive data from some nio source and have the data in a ByteBuffer you need to pass it to the parser:

    public void parse( ByteBuffer buffer )
        // flip the buffer so the parser starts at the beginning

        // update the source (presuming the buffer has changed)
        source.setByteBuffer( buffer );

        // Parse the available content then compact
        parser.parse( source );

Finally we must call endDocument() to release any resources:

    public void close()
        // releases any resources and notifies the handler the docment has completed

Now all we need to is when we receive some data from an external source like a Socket, we pass the ByteBuffer to the parse method. This then passes it to the NioSax parser which in turn calls the ContentHandler as the parse progresses.

When it gets to the end of the available content, it compacts the buffer so that it can be reused.

Usually the buffer will now be empty, however if there was partial content (like only part of a Unicode character was present) then the parser would stop prior to that character and that character would remain in the buffer. The next packet received via nio would have the rest of that character and the parser would then continue where it left off.

This was originally posted early in 2009 but the post seemed to have vanished so this article is loosely based on the documentation for NioSax.