Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between JAXB and XmlBeans

JAXB vs XmlBeans

JAXB is one part of the JavaEE standards and refers to Java Architecture for XML Binding. It is this process that is used for the processing of XML documents. The use of JAXB is preferred as it offers an alternative for the processing of XML documents in Java without necessarily having to understand all the small details of XML technology. JAXB is availables in JavaEE 5 compliant applications as an open source package. The package allows for data binding and ease of reading and accessing XML documents written in the Java programming language. XMLBeans, on the other hand, is an open-source project developed by BEA systems, and these provide similar functionality to JAXB in allowing XML documents to be accessed. A good background knowledge in XML is, however, required when dealing with XMLBeans. There are, however, differences noted between the two and they are discussed below.


Prior to the development of JAXB and XMLBeans, the only way that XML could be processed was through the use of software analyzing language SAX (Simple API for XML) or the use of the DOM (Document Object Model), both analyzing languages provided for by JAXP (Java API for API processing). The developer had to create code that was targeted at invoking DOM or SAX through JAXP so that the code could analyze the language in the XML document. Upon scanning, the code usually broke down the code into distinct pieces so that it could be made available to the targeted applications.

The main difference noted between JAXB and XMLBeans is the approach that each takes in marshalling and the unmarshalling of XML documents. XMLBeans processes the entire XML document without going through Java conversion as data integrity of the XML document has been shown to be lost. XMLBeans has a cursor created that scans through the XML document. With the cursor, any element of the document can be accessed including schema information or comments, as the fidelity of the document is maintained. XMLBeans also provides for the execution of XQuery within the same document. Further typed access is provided for by XMLBeans with a rather generic access type which becomes a reflection of API. XMLBeans, as previously mentioned, requires a vast knowledge of XML and, by extension, SAX or even DOM.

JAXB, on the other hand, comes bound with the XML schema. This is following an issue that arose with the first JAXB release as it was unable to support all XML schema features being able to only support DTD’s (Document Type Definitions). This, in effect, meant that the first release of JAXB could not provide for readable bindings. JAXB 2.0 has made development processing quite easy as it provides for full XML schema support, Java to XML schema mapping, portability, and schema evolution. Further, JAXB has introduced the flexible unmarshalling of XML content that is invalid and is undecided whether to terminate unmarshalling or not.


– XMLBeans is better if you prefer more robust XML features e.g. XQueries and direct XML document access. Its use comes at the expense of memory management and performance.

– JAXB is preferred if you desire higher performance and memory management, though it is not as thorough as XMLBeans.

– JAXB ought to be chosen if you’re after a simple XML document conversion.

– Binding customization occurs best in JAXB as opposed to XMLBeans.

– JAXB offers efficient memory use as opposed to the use of XMLBeans which is a memory-reliant process.

– If you desire to unmarshal an XML document, JAXB is your choice as XMLBeans faces difficulties in unmarshalling. Upon binding schema, you can employ the use of ObjectFactory for object creation and employ set methods in the generation of content creation.


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