“Content is not allowed in prolog” when parsing perfectly valid XML on GAE


I’ve been beating my head against this absolutely infuriating bug for the last 48 hours, so I thought I’d finally throw in the towel and try asking here before I throw my laptop out the window.

I’m trying to parse the response XML from a call I made to AWS SimpleDB. The response is coming back on the wire just fine; for example, it may look like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> 
<ListDomainsResponse xmlns="http://sdb.amazonaws.com/doc/2009-04-15/">

I pass in this XML to a parser with

XMLEventReader eventReader = xmlInputFactory.createXMLEventReader(response.getContent());

and call eventReader.nextEvent(); a bunch of times to get the data I want.

Here’s the bizarre part — it works great inside the local server. The response comes in, I parse it, everyone’s happy. The problem is that when I deploy the code to Google App Engine, the outgoing request still works, and the response XML seems 100% identical and correct to me, but the response fails to parse with the following exception:

com.amazonaws.http.HttpClient handleResponse: Unable to unmarshall response (ParseError at [row,col]:[1,1]
Message: Content is not allowed in prolog.): <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?> 
<ListDomainsResponse xmlns="http://sdb.amazonaws.com/doc/2009-04-15/"><ListDomainsResult><DomainName>Audio</DomainName><DomainName>Course</DomainName><DomainName>DocumentContents</DomainName><DomainName>LectureSet</DomainName><DomainName>MetaData</DomainName><DomainName>Professors</DomainName><DomainName>Tag</DomainName></ListDomainsResult><ResponseMetadata><RequestId>42330b4a-e134-6aec-e62a-5869ac2b4575</RequestId><BoxUsage>0.0000071759</BoxUsage></ResponseMetadata></ListDomainsResponse>
javax.xml.stream.XMLStreamException: ParseError at [row,col]:[1,1]
Message: Content is not allowed in prolog.
    at com.sun.org.apache.xerces.internal.impl.XMLStreamReaderImpl.next(Unknown Source)
    at com.sun.xml.internal.stream.XMLEventReaderImpl.nextEvent(Unknown Source)
    at com.amazonaws.transform.StaxUnmarshallerContext.nextEvent(StaxUnmarshallerContext.java:153)
    ... (rest of lines omitted)

I have double, triple, quadruple checked this XML for ‘invisible characters’ or non-UTF8 encoded characters, etc. I looked at it byte-by-byte in an array for byte-order-marks or something of that nature. Nothing; it passes every validation test I could throw at it. Even stranger, it happens if I use a Saxon-based parser as well — but ONLY on GAE, it always works fine in my local environment.

It makes it very hard to trace the code for problems when I can only run the debugger on an environment that works perfectly (I haven’t found any good way to remotely debug on GAE). Nevertheless, using the primitive means I have, I’ve tried a million approaches including:

  • XML with and without the prolog
  • With and without newlines
  • With and without the “encoding=” attribute in the prolog
  • Both newline styles
  • With and without the chunking information present in the HTTP stream

And I’ve tried most of these in multiple combinations where it made sense they would interact — nothing! I’m at my wit’s end. Has anyone seen an issue like this before that can hopefully shed some light on it?



The encoding in your XML and XSD (or DTD) are different.
XML file header: <?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>
XSD file header: <?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-16'?>

Another possible scenario that causes this is when anything comes before the XML document type declaration. i.e you might have something like this in the buffer:

helloworld<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>  

or even a space or special character.

There are some special characters called byte order markers that could be in the buffer.
Before passing the buffer to the Parser do this…

String xml = "<?xml ...";
xml = xml.trim().replaceFirst("^([\W]+)<","<");

Source: StackOverflow.com

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