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How to Open Large XML files without Loading the XML Files?

, 12 Feb 2011 CPOL
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How to Open Large XML files without Loading the XML Files?

Working with XML files in memory is always a performance issue. It becomes more important to look into the processing of XML files which are heavy in size (let's say more than 3 GB). So questions comes in mind that how to process such heavy XML files.

When we think of working with any XML file, we normally think of using:

  • XMLDocument
  • DataSet.ReadXml()
  • XPathDocument

When we use the above options, we are loading the files into the system memory.

The problem is that, if the size of the XML file is for e.g. 5 GB to 7 GB, we have to load the complete file in System’s memory. This will cost us systems memory and will throw “System out of Memory Exception”.

The best approach to process such large files is to avoid loading the files into the memory.

Microsoft has provided with XmlTextReader class. XmlTextReader helps us to process the XML file line by line. In this way, we are not loading the complete XML file into the memory but processing the file line by line, node by node.

Here is the code snippet that shows an example of how to use XMLTextReader class:

XmlTextReader myTextReader = new XmlTextReader(filename);
myTextReader.WhitespaceHandling = WhitespaceHandling.None;
while (myTextReader.Read())
    if (myTextReader.NodeType == XmlNodeType.Element &&
        myTextReader.LocalName == "Reward" &&
        myTextReader.IsStartElement() == true)

Here is the method implementation of ProcessRewardNode:

private void ProcessRewardNode(XmlTextReader RewardReader)
    XmlDocument RewardXmlDoc = new XmlDocument();
    // we can use xpath as below
    myID = RewardXmlDoc.SelectSingleNode("Reward/myID").InnerText;

Here code itself tells you lots of things, so I am not discussing it more here. You can look into MSDN of XMLTextReader for more information.

Hope this will help !!!

Jay Ganesh


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


About the Author

Sandeep Ramani
Technical Lead
India India
Sandeep is a passionate .NET developer.

He is also certified as Microsoft Certified Technologies Specialist - Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4.

He is also awarded as Microsoft Community Contributor of the year 2011.

He has also received several awards at various forums and his various articles got listed as "Article of the day" at ASP.NET Microsoft Official Website

He has done MCA from Gujarat University.

Visit his Blog:

Area of Expertise:
C#, ASP.NET , AJAX, Java script, JQuery, JSON, XML, Web Services, WCF, SSIS 2005, SQL Server 2005/2008, ASP.NET MVC

He is fond of movies, music, cricket, hockey and boxing.

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Comments and Discussions

Generalregarding myID = RewardXmlDoc.SelectSingleNode("Reward/myID").InnerText; Pin
Angsuman Chakraborty5-Mar-11 22:15
memberAngsuman Chakraborty5-Mar-11 22:15 

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