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Save a Collection of Objects as XML and/or JSON and/or CSV

, 10 Feb 2014
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How to save a collection of objects as XML, JSON, or CSV

Expansion on a Theme

This tip is an expanded version of what can be found here, where I showed how to save a single instance of a class (an object) to an XML file.

This tip shows how to save a collection (generic list) of objects to an XML, JSON, or CSV file.

All are easy; the only "special" thing you have to do to get the JSONification of the object collection to be written out is to add a reference to Json.NET to your project (IOW, NuGet Newtonsoft's JSON.NET from within Visual Studio).

I am attaching the source, but in a nutshell, it defines a class, populates a generic list of that class with a few instances of the class, and then writes that list out as XML and/or JSON and/or CSV. Again, there's not much to it, as you can see in the code snippets below.

Define a generic list and a class:

    private List<BilingualBook> classicsBilingual;
    public class BilingualBook
        public string Author { get; set; }
        public string SourceLang { get; set; }
        public string TargetLang { get; set; }
        public string EnglishTitle { get; set; }
        public string PaperbackURI { get; set; }
        public string KindleURI { get; set; }
        public string ImageURI { get; set; }

Populate, or hydrate/inflate the generic list with instantiations of the class:

    private void Popul8Classics()
        classicsBilingual = new List<BilingualBook>();
        var AtWi80Daze = new BilingualBook
            Author = "Jules Verne",
            SourceLang = "French",
            TargetLang = "English",
            EnglishTitle = "Around the World in 80 Days",
            PaperbackURI = GetProductURI("1495308081"),
            KindleURI = GetProductURI("B00I0DOYRE"),
            ImageURI = GetImageURI("51BCZUX2-dL")

        var gulliver = new BilingualBook
            Author = "Jonathan Swift",
            SourceLang = "English",
            TargetLang = "French",
            EnglishTitle = "Gulliver's Travels",
            PaperbackURI = GetProductURI("1495374688"),
            KindleURI = GetProductURI("B00I5319ZO"),
            ImageURI = GetImageURI("517O76OyaWL")
	. . .

Save the generic list as XML:

    private void SaveAsXML(List<BilingualBook> classics)
        const string xmlFilename = "FitTClassics.xml";
        var writer = new System.Xml.Serialization.XmlSerializer(typeof(

        var file = new StreamWriter(xmlFilename);
        writer.Serialize(file, classics);

And/or save the generic list as JSON:

    private void SaveAsJSON(List<BilingualBook> classics)
        const string jsonFilename = "FitTClassics.json";
        string jsonRepresentation = JsonConvert.SerializeObject(classics);
        File.WriteAllText(jsonFilename, jsonRepresentation);

And/or save the generic list as CSV:

    private void SaveAsCSV(List<BilingualBook> classicsBilingual)
        const string csvFilename = "FitTClassics.csv";
        var csvFile = new List<string>();
        foreach (BilingualBook classic in classicsBilingual)
                classic.Author, classic.SourceLang, classic.TargetLang, 
                classic.EnglishTitle, classic.PaperbackURI, classic.KindleURI, 
        File.WriteAllLines(csvFilename, csvFile);

Now Do Your Part

If you like this tip, stand up in your cubicle, beat your chest like a "Bam-boon", and bellow out menacingly, "The hemlock shakes in the rafter, the oak in the driving keel!" If you really like this tip (or are too chicken to do that), you can instead purchase a book from one of the PaperbackURI or KindleURI links (download the code and run it, or download the XML file).


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

B. Clay Shannon
Publisher "Found in the Translation"
United States United States
I am the entire team at "Found in the Translation," which produces multilingual books (paperback and Kindle versions) such as "Don Quixote: In Spanish and English, Paragraph-by-Paragraph" among many others (English paired with not only Spanish, but also French and even Finnish). You can see all those books here:
Personal web sites that I have created can be seen at and
Peripatetic and picaresque, I have lived in eight states; specifically, besides my native California (where I was born and where I now again reside) in chronological order: New York, Montana, Alaska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Idaho, and Missouri.
I am also a writer of both fiction (for which I use a nom de plume, "Blackbird Crow Raven", as a nod to my Native American heritage - I am "½ Cowboy, ½ Indian") and nonfiction:
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