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Posted 10 Sep 2012
Licenced CPOL

Serialize/Deserialize any object to an XML file

, 28 May 2013
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Code to serialize/deserialize any object to an XML file.
Added support for 'DontSerialize' attribute 


Most of us know the C# .NET Xml Serializer, and it has the ability to serialize objects to XML files, but there are a lot of limitations in it such as,

  1. It supports only objects that marked as Serializable.
  2. When two or more properties share the same reference then it serializes each property to a separated node. That causes an error when trying to deserialize the object because each property will have a different reference. 
  3. Assume the object contains a property that references to it, such as:
    • ArrayList list=new ArrayList();
    • list.Add(list);

    In this case, the C# .NET serializer will fail.

  4. Assume the object is an array and it has more than 1000 items, these items share the same values, then the C# .NET serializer will repeat the shared values for each item. 
  5. C# .NET serializer is very slow compared with my serializer.

So, the new serializer class will pass all the above limitations.

Using the Code

The main class for this project is XmlObjectSerializer.cs. Here is the Serialize function:

public XmlDocument Serialize(object obj)
    xmlDoc = new XmlDocument();
       xmlDoc.CreateAttribute("ObjectType")).Value = 
    SerializeProperty(obj, xmlDoc.DocumentElement);
    return xmlDoc;

Here is the Deserialize function:

public object Deserialize(string xmlText)
    xmlDoc = new XmlDocument();
    Type objectType = 
    var childs = GetChild(xmlDoc.DocumentElement);
    if (childs[0].Name == "Array")//Array found
        return DeserializeIEnumerable(childs[0], objectType);
        object obj = Utility.CreateInstance(objectType);
        DeserializeProperty(xmlDoc.DocumentElement, obj);
        return obj;

As you can see, the code is very simple and easy to use, all you have to do is call these above functions.

Here is a sample test class, 

public class Human
    public List<Human> Sons { get; set; }
    public Human Parent { get; set; }
    public string FirstName { get; set; }
    public string LastName { get; set; }
    public DateTime BirthDate { get; set; }
    public int Id { get; set; }
    public Human()
        this.Sons = new List<Human>();

static void Main()
    Human father = new Human() 
    { FirstName = "Kamal", LastName = "Qassas",BirthDate=new DateTime(1967,4,1) };
    father.Sons.Add(new Human() 
    { FirstName = "Ashraf", LastName = "Qassas",
                  BirthDate = new DateTime(1984, 5, 2), Parent = father });
    father.Sons.Add(new Human() 
    { FirstName = "Ayman", LastName = "Qassas", 
                  BirthDate = new DateTime(1985, 6, 3), Parent = father });
    string xml = new XmlObjectSerializer().Serialize(father).OuterXml;
    Human father1 = (Human)new XmlObjectSerializer().Deserialize(xml);

Finally, here is the generated XML for the above example:

<XmlObjectSerializer ObjectType="XmlSerializer.Human">
  <Property PropertyName="Sons">
        <Property PropertyName="Parent" ReferenceNode="/XmlObjectSerializer[1]" />
        <Property PropertyName="LastName">Qassas</Property>
        <Property PropertyName="FirstName">Ashraf</Property>
        <Property PropertyName="BirthDate">5/2/1984</Property>
        <Property PropertyName="FirstName">Ayman</Property>
        <Property PropertyName="BirthDate">6/3/1985</Property>
  <Property PropertyName="FirstName">Kamal</Property>
  <Property PropertyName="LastName">Qassas</Property>
  <Property PropertyName="BirthDate">4/1/1967</Property>

Points of Interest 

XML is used these days in most programming languages, so you can use the new serializer to interact with different programming languages.


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


About the Author

Software Developer Desktop Team
Palestinian Territory (Occupied) Palestinian Territory (Occupied)
I have advanced skills in desktop apps development, i have built many apps for many corporations.

i'm using the follow languages in my work:
1- C# Language.
2- VB6 Language.
3- using C#.
4- Crystal Reports.

i have more than 7 experience years in coding and programming.

Systems and apps Developed by Us:
1-E-Archive System (VB6,Supports multi DataBase Engins).
2-SMS System (Multi languages such VB6,C#,Asp.Net and Gizmox).
3-Multi Camera Monitor System-Motion Detection and record(C#).
4-Administrative Evaluation System (
5-E-Clinic System (C#-using my business layer generator,Supports multi DataBase Engines).
6-Data Access Layer Generator Framework(C#).
7-Sip Provider -VOIP- Softphone (C#- for Italian company).
8-Training course Manager System(C#-for UCAS).
9-Computer Exam System (VB6,Oracle DataBase).
10-Dialer System (VB6).
11-Implement Google API using C# (Translation and web Search).
12-Print Management Enterprise(C#)
13-Elections System (C#- using my business layer generator).
14-Advanced English competition (VB6).
15-Remote USB Sharing (C/C++,VB6).
16-Watch Attendance (C/C++,VB6).
17-Tube Spy (C#).
18-AdminYourTube (C#)
19- Transport Reservation System (C#,,Ajax,Jquery)

Please visit my elance URL

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionComplex objects Pin
Johnny J.16-Feb-17 3:12
professionalJohnny J.16-Feb-17 3:12 
QuestionLists with elements of simple type are not serialized Pin
Member 918176712-May-15 3:21
memberMember 918176712-May-15 3:21 
QuestionSome small changes Pin
Bewilderbeeste16-Nov-14 14:39
memberBewilderbeeste16-Nov-14 14:39 
Questionbyte[] doesn't work Pin
GMG Underground9-Sep-14 22:16
memberGMG Underground9-Sep-14 22:16 
AnswerRe: byte[] doesn't work Pin
akramKamal9-Sep-14 22:24
memberakramKamal9-Sep-14 22:24 
QuestionDoes it support DataTable and DataSet ? Pin
Member 43373767-Feb-14 13:38
memberMember 43373767-Feb-14 13:38 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
GiangySan6-Jun-13 2:10
memberGiangySan6-Jun-13 2:10 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Prasad Khandekar28-May-13 23:08
professionalPrasad Khandekar28-May-13 23:08 
QuestionMaybe could be helpfull Pin
Mancio197627-May-13 8:12
memberMancio197627-May-13 8:12 
AnswerRe: Maybe could be helpfull Pin
akramKamal28-May-13 10:05
memberakramKamal28-May-13 10:05 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
ashrafnet4u10-Sep-12 20:28
memberashrafnet4u10-Sep-12 20:28 
GeneralThoughts Pin
PIEBALDconsult10-Sep-12 5:59
memberPIEBALDconsult10-Sep-12 5:59 
GeneralRe: Thoughts Pin
akramKamal10-Sep-12 6:51
memberakramKamal10-Sep-12 6:51 

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