Python XML Processing

What is XML ?

XML stands for "eXtensible Markup Language." The XML standard offers a versatile approach for crafting information formats and facilitating the electronic exchange of structured data, both over the public Internet and within corporate networks.

XML Parser

The Document Object Model (DOM) establishes a universal framework for interacting with and altering documents. Within the context of XML, the XML DOM outlines a standardized methodology for accessing and manipulating XML documents. It portrays an XML document in the form of a tree structure, enabling efficient navigation and modification of its elements.

XML parsing in Python

Python offers multiple approaches to parse XML documents, including traditional DOM (Document Object Model) and SAX (Simple API for XML) parsers. However, this chapter will concentrate on utilizing the built-in xml module in Python to effectively parse XML, providing a comprehensive exploration of this method.

Sample XML document

<data> <items> <item name="product1"></item> <item name="product2"></item> <item name="product3"></item> <item name="product4"></item> <item name="product5"></item> </items> </data>

Copy and paste the above xml code in a text file and save it as "data.xml" in working directory.

ElementTree XML API

The xml.etree.ElementTree module presents a straightforward and efficient API for both parsing and generating XML data. This module introduces the Element type, a versatile container that excels at storing hierarchical data structures in memory, making it a robust tool for managing XML content.

import xml.etree.ElementTree doc = xml.etree.ElementTree.parse('data.xml').getroot() for elem in doc.findall('items/item'): print (elem.get('name'))
product1 product2 product3 product4 product5

Minimal DOM implementation(xml.dom.minidom)

DOM Example

The xml.dom.minidom serves as a minimal rendition of the Document Object Model interface, featuring an API akin to similar interfaces in other programming languages. This implementation is intentionally designed to be more streamlined compared to the complete DOM while maintaining a notably smaller footprint. Those who aren't well-acquainted with the DOM are recommended to opt for the xml.etree.ElementTree module for XML processing due to its user-friendly features and efficiency.

from xml.dom import minidom xmldoc = minidom.parse('data.xml') product_list = xmldoc.getElementsByTagName('item') print("No of Items : ", len(product_list)) for product in product_list: print(product.attributes['name'].value)
No of Items : 5 product1 product2 product3 product4 product5


Python's XML processing capabilities are facilitated through modules like xml.etree.ElementTree and xml.dom.minidom, enabling efficient parsing and manipulation of XML data. These modules offer flexible APIs for hierarchical data representation and manipulation, with xml.etree.ElementTree being recommended for its simplicity and efficiency, especially for those less familiar with the Document Object Model.