Thanks for the quick response!
It's good to hear the RegExp backtrack limitation with FF will be lifted in FF4. I'm in a corporate environment, so FF4 is at least a year away for my users.
I would agree that creating HTML from very large strings is not the norm, but I'm writing an internal web application (as opposed to web site) that deals with large data sets. The third party plugin I'm using, jstree, accepts XML data and uses the browser's xslt functionality to convert to an html string. It then creates the DOM objects from that by passing to jQuery. That is much faster than some sort of programmatic build up of the tree. So I'm inclined to keep using that method.
I was unaware of the fact that passing the string to append() did not suffer from the same limitation as passing the string to the jQuery function. I modified my copy of jstree and that worked around the issue. I will pass along that information to the jstree maintainer. Thanks for that tip!
So, I have a workaround that jstree may/may not accept, but one I can live with. If no action is taken on this and other users do hit the issue, the exception thrown isn't really helpful, which makes the issue problematic to find. As a result, I will patch with the >1024 bytes check and send a pull request from Github. You can then decide whether or not you want to include the change.
Thanks again for the response!