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Posted 14 Sep 2002

Save Application Settings to XML

, 16 Sep 2002
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An easy to use class that reads, writes and deletes app settings to an XML file.


Why another application settings XML class?

  1. Because INI files are so Win16.
  2. The registry is too big and you could really screw something up messing with it.
  3. XML seems to be the popular choice.

See Read and Write application parameters in XML for better reasons.

This class should make it easy to read, write and delete application settings to an XML file using the familiar registry key/value nomenclature (ex. "MyApp\Appearance\Font\Face"). If it doesn't make it easy, um... I didn't write it.

The CXMLSettings Class

To use the class, there are only 6 methods you will need to worry about.

  • void SetSettingsFile(CString cstrFile)
    • Sets the path and filename for the XML settings file.
  • long GetSettingLong(CString cstrBaseKeyName, CString cstrValueName, 
    long lDefaultValue)
    • Returns a long value extracted from the settings file given a key and value name.
  • long SetSettingLong(CString cstrBaseKeyName, CString cstrValueName, 
    long lValue)
    • Sets a long value in the settings file given a key and value name.
  • CString GetSettingString(CString cstrBaseKeyName, CString 
    cstrValueName, CString cstrDefaultValue)
    • Returns a string value extracted from the settings file given a key and value name.
  • long SetSettingString(CString cstrBaseKeyName, CString cstrValueName, 
    CString cstrValue)
    • Sets a string value in the settings file given a key and value name.
  • BOOL DeleteSetting(CString cstrBaseKeyName, CString 
    • Deletes a key or value from the settings file given a key and value name.

Other methods in the class parse key/value "chains", and load, save, and traverse the settings file.

How to Use It

  1. Call SetSettingsFile to tell the class where the XML file will be saved.
  2. Call one of the Get, Set or Delete methods using the registry-like nomenclature for the first parameter (ex. "MyApp\Appearance\Font"). A default value may also be sent as the last parameter to the Get methods.
  3. The DeleteSetting method can be used to delete an entire key or a value under a key.

That's it!

If the XML file does not exist or if a key/value does not exist, the Set methods will create it and the Get methods will return the default value.


The class and the demo app use MFC and MSXML 4.0. Please let me know if you find any bugs are would like to see improvements.

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This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Jason Henderson
United States United States
I have been a professional developer since 1996. I live in the middle of no where in Illinois, USA. I am married and have four children.

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: I love it for MY needs! Pin
Jason Henderson4-Apr-03 9:57
memberJason Henderson4-Apr-03 9:57 
Generalattributes Pin
Jesper Odgaard Nielsen26-Mar-03 2:38
memberJesper Odgaard Nielsen26-Mar-03 2:38 
GeneralRe: attributes Pin
Jason Henderson4-Apr-03 9:56
memberJason Henderson4-Apr-03 9:56 
GeneralIsolated Storage - Out of the Registry Pin
Neville Franks20-Sep-02 14:38
memberNeville Franks20-Sep-02 14:38 
GeneralNice Article Pin
Anonymous20-Sep-02 3:19
sussAnonymous20-Sep-02 3:19 
GeneralRe: Nice Article Pin
John Mautari18-Oct-02 5:39
memberJohn Mautari18-Oct-02 5:39 
GeneralCString in interface methods Pin
Anonymous18-Sep-02 16:20
sussAnonymous18-Sep-02 16:20 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
Jason Henderson19-Sep-02 3:11
memberJason Henderson19-Sep-02 3:11 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
Anonymous19-Sep-02 10:47
sussAnonymous19-Sep-02 10:47 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
Jason Henderson19-Sep-02 10:51
memberJason Henderson19-Sep-02 10:51 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
Anonymous19-Sep-02 13:54
sussAnonymous19-Sep-02 13:54 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
Anonymous16-Oct-02 12:17
sussAnonymous16-Oct-02 12:17 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
GD_Patrick10-Oct-06 23:05
memberGD_Patrick10-Oct-06 23:05 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
CodeProjectSQ19-Sep-02 15:26
memberCodeProjectSQ19-Sep-02 15:26 
Personally, I use MFC and use CString everywhere. If you do not use MFC then simply modify the code yourself. What is the problem?
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
Anonymous11-Oct-02 19:57
sussAnonymous11-Oct-02 19:57 
GeneralRe: CString in interface methods Pin
Neville Franks20-Sep-02 14:33
memberNeville Franks20-Sep-02 14:33 
GeneralXML vs Registry... Pin
igor196017-Sep-02 19:15
sussigor196017-Sep-02 19:15 
QuestionWhy not use both? Pin
Gary Wheeler17-Sep-02 6:14
memberGary Wheeler17-Sep-02 6:14 
AnswerRe: Why not use both? Pin
Jason Henderson17-Sep-02 8:09
memberJason Henderson17-Sep-02 8:09 
GeneralMissing the resource file (*.rc) Pin
Søren Madsen16-Sep-02 19:34
memberSøren Madsen16-Sep-02 19:34 
GeneralRe: Missing the resource file (*.rc) Pin
Jason Henderson17-Sep-02 3:36
memberJason Henderson17-Sep-02 3:36 
GeneralIt's ok Pin
Jason King16-Sep-02 6:55
memberJason King16-Sep-02 6:55 
GeneralWhy DOM Pin
YoSilver16-Sep-02 5:02
memberYoSilver16-Sep-02 5:02 
GeneralRe: Why DOM Pin
Jason Henderson16-Sep-02 8:21
memberJason Henderson16-Sep-02 8:21 
GeneralXML vs. Registry Pin
Paul A. Howes16-Sep-02 3:38
memberPaul A. Howes16-Sep-02 3:38 

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