Oppositional Oppositional - 16 days ago 10
C# Question

How do you remove invalid hexadecimal characters from an XML-based data source prior to constructing an XmlReader or XPathDocument that uses the data?

Is there any easy/general way to clean an XML based data source prior to using it in an XmlReader so that I can gracefully consume XML data that is non-conformant to the hexadecimal character restrictions placed on XML?

Note:


  • The solution needs to handle XML
    data sources that use character
    encodings other than UTF-8, e.g. by
    specifying the character encoding at
    the XML document declaration. Not
    mangling the character encoding of
    the source while stripping invalid
    hexadecimal characters has been a
    major sticking point.

  • The removal of invalid hexadecimal characters should only remove hexadecimal encoded values, as you can often find href values in data that happens to contains a string that would be a string match for a hexadecimal character.



Background:

I need to consume an XML-based data source that conforms to a specific format (think Atom or RSS feeds), but want to be able to consume data sources that have been published which contain invalid hexadecimal characters per the XML specification.

In .NET if you have a Stream that represents the XML data source, and then attempt to parse it using an XmlReader and/or XPathDocument, an exception is raised due to the inclusion of invalid hexadecimal characters in the XML data. My current attempt to resolve this issue is to parse the Stream as a string and use a regular expression to remove and/or replace the invalid hexadecimal characters, but I am looking for a more performant solution.

Answer

It may not be perfect (emphasis added since people missing this disclaimer), but what I've done in that case is below. You can adjust to use with a stream.

/// <summary>
/// Removes control characters and other non-UTF-8 characters
/// </summary>
/// <param name="inString">The string to process</param>
/// <returns>A string with no control characters or entities above 0x00FD</returns>
public static string RemoveTroublesomeCharacters(string inString)
{
    if (inString == null) return null;

    StringBuilder newString = new StringBuilder();
    char ch;

    for (int i = 0; i < inString.Length; i++)
    {

        ch = inString[i];
        // remove any characters outside the valid UTF-8 range as well as all control characters
        // except tabs and new lines
        //if ((ch < 0x00FD && ch > 0x001F) || ch == '\t' || ch == '\n' || ch == '\r')
        //if using .NET version prior to 4, use above logic
        if (XmlConvert.IsXmlChar(ch)) //this method is new in .NET 4
        {
            newString.Append(ch);
        }
    }
    return newString.ToString();

}