This article is about a simple and fast C++ XML parser class. There is often a need for an effective XML parser that is able to load the XML document, validate it, and browse it. In .NET environment there is a large native support for handling a lot of types of XML documents, but the same native support is missing from the original C++, MFC etc. There is, however, a COM alternative for XML file parsing and handling but it takes some time to learn it, and to use it in the right way.
This article is a simple attempt to make a C++ developer's life a bit easier than it usually is. This is support for handling the well-formed XML documents in the simplest possible way: load it, validate it, and browse it. This supports the following XML elements:
- A simple TAG element, like <Element>
- A simple ATTRIBUTE element, like Attribute="Value"
- A simple TEXT element, like [Text]
Below is an example of a simple XML file that is supported:
<body>Don't forget me this weekend!</body>
The presented XML classes are able to load this type of XML document, check if it is well-formed, and browse throughout its content. There are only two classes that provide this functionality.
The first class is called the
CXMLFile class, and its main purpose is to load an XML file, validate its structure, and create an XML element collection out of its content. This collection of XML elements will represent the loaded XML file in the system memory. Its easy then to modify the inner struture of this collection, that is, to modify the XML file itself. This class also supports the loading of XML files from the hard-disk or from the memory stream, which is a special usage (ie. on some web server). The
CXMLFile class can also output the XML element collection from the system memory to the file on the hard-disk.
The second class is called the
CXMLElement class. It is used by the previous class, and will be used by the developer when browsing or modifying the inner structure of an XML file in the system memory, that is, when modifying the inner structure of the XML element collection. It has the basic support for the appending of this collection, and browsing it. It can provide information regarding the name, type or value of the current XML element from the collection.
There are many articles on the CodeProject considering this topic, and this is a small contribution to these articles population. Hope that the readers and developers will find it useful in their everyday work.
Using the Code
It's quite easy to load an XML document from the hard-disk. See an example below:
#include <span class="code-string">"XMLFile.h"</span>
_TCHAR lpszXMLFilePath = _T("A path to the XML file here...");
To load an XML document from the memory stream:
if (xmlFile.LoadFromStream(lpData, dwDataSize))
To save the XML element collection to the file on the hard-disk, do the following:
After the call to
LoadFromFile(), a method of the
CXMLFile class, the validation and parsing of the custom XML file will be done. If the XML file is well-formed, it will be loaded in the system memory as collection of
CXMLElement elements. One can gain access to this collection using another method of the
CXMLFile class called
GetRoot(). See below:
CXMLEElement* pRoot = xmlFile.GetRoot();
Having the pointer to the root-element of the XML collection in the system memory, there are some things that can be done here. The root-element of the collection is of the
CXMLEElement class type. Here are the methods available:
void SetValue(LPTSTR lpszValue);
Modify the inner structure of the XML element collection using the following methods:
void Create(LPTSTR lpszElementName, XML_ELEMENT_TYPE type);
void AppendChild(CXMLElement* lpXMLChild);
Using the first group of
CXMLEElement class methods, one can browse the XML element collection. Using the second group of
CXMLEElement class methods, one can create new XML elements of different types and append them to existing ones.
Speaking about the types of XML elements, here are they listed:
XET_TAG XET_ATTRIBUTE XET_TEXT
Points of Interest
I always had a problem with loading XML documents easily and manipulating with them. Now, I have useful classes that decrease my future development time when this type of work is required. I am also able now to easily parse RSS feeds that are used all over the Web. I am planning to extend this basic support to HTML, or XML documents that are not-so-well-formed, soon (when I find some more free time).