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Cannot instantiate DocumentBuilderFactory in JDK 5

Few months back I moved to JDK 5. After this move, recently, I tried running some Acceptance tests using an old fitnesse.jar, which was compiled using JDK 1.4. And guess what? I get the following exception :

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javax.xml.parsers.FactoryConfigurationError:
Provider com.sun.org.apache.xerces.internal.jaxp.
DocumentBuilderFactoryImpl could not be instantiated: java.lang.NullPointerException
[java] at javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance
(DocumentBuilderFactory.java:104)
[java] at fitnesse.util.XmlUtil.<clinit>
[java] at fitnesse.wiki.WikiPageProperties.loadFromXmlStream
[java] at fitnesse.wiki.FileSystemPage.attemptToReadPropertiesFile
[java] at fitnesse.wiki.FileSystemPage.loadAttributes
[java] at fitnesse.wiki.FileSystemPage.makePageData
[java] at fitnesse.wiki.CachingPage.getData
[java] at fitnesse.responders.run.FitClientResponder.readyToSend
[java] at fitnesse.responders.run.PuppetResponse.readyToSend
[java] at fitnesse.FitNesseExpediter.sendResponse
[java] at fitnesse.FitNesseExpediter.start
[java] at fitnesse.FitNesseServer.serve
[java] at fitnesse.FitNesseServer.serve
[java] at fitnesse.socketservice.SocketService$ServerRunner.run
[java] at java.lang.Thread.run(Thread.java:595)

If I use JDK 1.4, everything works fine. But there seems to be some backward compatibility issues with JDK 1.5.

After trying different things for a while, I came across a site that stated that “The J2SE 1.4 platform included the ‘Crimson‘ reference implementation for JAXP 1.1. The J2SE 5 platform includes a reference implementation for JAXP 1.3 based on the Apache ‘Xerces‘ library.”

In JDK 1.4, xerces and xalan are embedded in the JDK. In JDK 1.5 too, but the packages are under com/sun (so com.sun.org.apache….).

So you would think all this should be transparent to developers. But no.

To verify the above statement, I opened up the DocumentBuilderFactory in JDK 1.5 and I found

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public static DocumentBuilderFactory newInstance() {
try {
return (DocumentBuilderFactory) FactoryFinder.find(
/* The default property name according to the JAXP spec */
"javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory",
/* The fallback implementation class name */
"com.sun.org.apache.xerces.internal.jaxp.
DocumentBuilderFactoryImpl");
} catch (FactoryFinder.ConfigurationError e) {
throw new FactoryConfigurationError(e.getException(),
e.getMessage());
}

}
while the JDK 1.4‘s DocumentBuilderFactory class had:

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public static DocumentBuilderFactory newInstance()
throws FactoryConfigurationError
{
try {
return (DocumentBuilderFactory) FactoryFinder.find(
/* The default property name according to the JAXP spec */
"javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory",
/* The fallback implementation class name */
"org.apache.crimson.jaxp.
DocumentBuilderFactoryImpl");
} catch (FactoryFinder.ConfigurationError e) {
throw new FactoryConfigurationError (e.getException(),
e.getMessage());
}
}

After all this research I still don‘t know what is the exact problem. But I have a solution.

Solution: Luckily adding the xerces.jar to the classpath solved the problem.

Would appreciate if someone would let me know the answer.

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