XML Parser Notes
Axis needs an XML parser implementing the JAXP 1.1 specification. It needs to be a fairly complete parser, as SOAP uses XML Schema and namespaces everywhere.
The parser that Axis is primarily built and tested against it is Xerces. Other implementations of the XML Parser APIs may look the same to many apps, but cause Axis to choke with obscure errors. We have seen this with Crimson, Caucho, Aelfred and the Oracle parser implementations. Java 1.4 includes Crimson.
If you are having problems with Axis, and using any parser other than Xerces, try switching to Xerces to see if it goes away.
Also, Axis wants only one parser on the classpath. If you have multiple implementations of an XML parser in the path, you are going to get in trouble. This goes for many other XML applications. Errors like class cast exceptions, or complaints about missing methods in org.w3c classes are common symptoms. Track down where your parsers are coming from, and settle on the one parser that you want. Xerces, preferably.