I don't know of any, and it seems a very strange requirement. Remember that in XML, <a></a> is treated exactly the same as <a/>. Would you want an empty character string in both cases? If I need to know whether any characters were supplied, I set a flag if any characters are supplied, and check it when I am notified of the end tag.
This indeed is a strange requirement because I need to convert the xml into a fixed length text file where,if the element is not present there should be so many blanks. So after looking around I had already done exactly what you said. In the "startelement" set a flag and remember the supposed length and reset the flag in the "characters". check the flag in the "endelement" and do accordingly. I know that the firing "characters" call back is (parser) implementation dependent. My problem is solved for the time being. If I come across a better solution, I will post it here. Thanks Frank. [This message has been edited by Alagu Seenivasan (edited October 02, 2000).]