foreachin foreachin - 7 months ago 81 Question

Parsing complicated xml with VB.Net: elements into strings depending on namespace

I have the following xml in a file (simplified):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<XCer xmlns="http://x.y.z" xmlns:xsi="http://www.x.y.z" xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.x.y.z" track_id="559" mp_id="398" sub_id="569">
<capability xsi:type="XCracT">

<final_result OD="DGS=1.6" creator="Creator1" version="1.11" xsi:type="XCarT">
<text>this text</text>
<standardized_text>other text</standardized_text>

<final_result OD="DGS=1.7" creator="Creator2" version="1.11" xsi:type="XCarT">
<text>this text</text>
<standardized_text>other text</standardized_text>
<dot x="849" y="1600"/>
<dot x="823" y="1600"/>
<dot x="819" y="1166"/>
<dot x="845" y="1166"/>

On a very basic level I want to create 3 variables: creator, code, mp_id and fill them with the details from the final result OD="DGS=1.6" section i.e. 'Creator1', '300000000', '398' (from the first XCer element) and 'this text' but my xml skills are soreley lacking despite trying several crash courses in the last couple of days.

I have tried the basic

Using reader As XmlReader = XmlReader.Create("C:\filename.xml")
while reader.Read()
if reader.IsStartElement() Then
If reader.Name = "code" Then
code = reader.ReadElementContentAsString()

which gets me the code but I cannot get any of the elements within the line

final_result OD="DGS=1.6" creator="Creator1" version="1.11" xsi:type="XCarT">

and I cannot limit the code element which I want to that subtree without over writing the previous code.


Here's a simple example of how to do it using XPath:

Dim doc As New XmlDocument()
Dim namespaceManager As New XmlNamespaceManager(doc.NameTable)
namespaceManager.AddNamespace("x", "http://x.y.z")
Dim mp_id As String = doc.SelectSingleNode("/x:XCer[1]/@mp_id", namespaceManager).InnerText
Dim creator As String = doc.SelectSingleNode("/x:XCer[1]/x:final_result[@OD='DGS=1.6']/@creator", namespaceManager).InnerText
Dim code As String = doc.SelectSingleNode("/x:XCer[1]/x:final_result[@OD='DGS=1.6']/x:code", namespaceManager).InnerText

Notice that I needed to specify the namespace, since all the elements have a default namespace of http://x.y.z. For my purposes, I gave the namespace a prefix of x, but you could name it anything you want.

XPath is a standard language used for querying XML documents. Some people prefer Microsoft's proprietary LINQ technology, but since XPath is what is used by other languages, tools, and technologies, it is well worth taking the time to learn it. The SelectSingleNode and SelectNodes methods allow you to find matching nodes using XPath.

The first XPath, which selects the mp_id, looks like this:


  • / - Start at the root of the document
  • x:XCer - Find an element named XCer (in the x namespace)
  • [1] - Select only the first XCer element
  • / - Look for a descendant node of the first XCer element
  • @mp_id - Select the mp_id attribute (which is a descendant node of the first XCer element)

The next XPath, which selects the creator attribute, looks like this:


This one starts the same as the last one, but instead of selecting an attribute of the XCer element, it selects a final_result child-element. The [@OD='DGS=1.6'] is a conditional clause. You can read it like "select a final_result element where its OD attribute equals DGS=1.6".