Using LINQ to XML (and how to build a custom RSS Feed Reader with it)
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by Scott Guthrie
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Using LINQ to XML to query a local XML File

To get a sense of how LINQ to XML works, we can create a simple XML file on our local file-system like below that uses a custom schema we've defined to store RSS feeds:

Figure 1

I could then use the new XDocument class within the System.Xml.Linq namespace to open and query the XML document above.  Specifically, I want to filter the <Feed> elements in the XML file and return a sequence of the non-disabled RSS feeds (where a disabled feed is a <Feed> element with a "status" attribute whose value is "disabled").  I could accomplish this by writing the code below:


Figure 2


Figure 3

Notice in the code-snippets above how I'm loading the XML file using the XDocument.Load(path) static method - which returns back an XDocument object.  Because I'm running this code within ASP.NET, I'm using the Server.MapPath(path) helper method to resolve the correct path for my XML file relative to the page I'm running the code on.

Once I have an XDocument object for my XML file I can then write a LINQ query expression to retrieve the XML data I'm looking for.  In the code above I'm querying over each of the <Feed> elements within the XML file.  This is driven by this opening clause in the LINQ query expression:

from feed in feedXML.Decedents("Feed")

I'm then applying a filter that only returns back those "Feed" elements that either don't have a "status" attribute, or whose "status" attribute value is not set to "disabled":

Where (feed.Attribute("status") Is Nothing) OrElse (feed.Attribute("status").Value <> "disabled")

I am then using the select clause in our LINQ expression to indicate what data I want returned.  If I simply wrote "select feed", LINQ to XML would return back a sequence of XElement objects that represents each of the XML element nodes that match my filter.  In the code samples above, though, I am using the shaping/projection features of LINQ to instead define a new anonymous type on the fly, and I am defining two properties on it - Name and Feed - that I want populated using the <Name> and <Url> sub-elements under each <Feed> element:

Select Name = feed.Element("Name").Value, Url = feed.Element("Url").Value

As you can see above (and below), I can then work against this returned sequence of data just like I would any collection or array in .NET.  VS 2008 provides full intellisense and compilation checking support over this anonymous type sequence:

Figure 4

I can also data-bind the results against any UI control in ASP.NET, Windows Forms, or WPF.  For example, assuming I had a dropdownlist control defined in my page like so:

Figure 5

I could use the below LINQ to XML code to databind the results to it:

Figure 6

This will then produce a nice drop-downlist in our HTML page like so:

Figure 7

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User Comments

Title: Using LINQ Sub-Queries within a LINQ to XML Query Expression   
Name: Ken Jinks
Date: 2009-07-10 1:27:32 PM
How would you incorporate a where clause into the subquery such that you only retrieve those items with a particular TAG value?

Title: How to integrate with XLINQ in eixsting applications   
Name: Senthil
Date: 2008-12-17 12:21:13 AM
How to integrate with XLINQ in eixsting applications

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