I dont know what a "StAX template" is.  From reading your email I thought you were having problems with IO Exceptions.
If your having no problems then I cant say there's anything better.
----- Original Message -----
From: Todd Gochenour
To: David A. Lee ; Mailing list for the SAXON XSLT and XQuery processor
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2009 12:14 PM
Subject: Re: [saxon] Using both Saxon and Xalan

Why is StAX better than my SAX implementation? 
I get the same benefit with SAX (it terminates after reading the root element) without the need of a StAX template.