Rob Weir has done some interesting stats on XML parse time of real documents and the effect of increasing the elements and attribute names. The blog article is calledThe Celerity of Velocity. The result? Even though we expanded some NCNames to 32-times their original length, making a 5x increase in the average NCName length, it made no significant difference in parse time. There is no discernible slow down in parse time as the element and attribute names increase.
I don’t think he is claiming that this could happen forever or for all software, of course! Indeed, it might be the sign of crap software: if you went mad and allocated a 1K buffer for each name then copied the 1K of text startgin with each NCName you certainly would get constant parsing time regardless of name length.
Rob’s figures are of course difficult to accept. I would like them to be wrong. They seem to go against the kinds of stats that the Efficient XML proponents give. But a number is worth a thousand words.