Can we do XML Serialization for an object having collections?

Posted on 2008-10-18
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Can we do XML serialization for an object having a collection?
If yes then, please provide me a small example how to do.
Question by:GouthamAnand
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Accepted Solution

StasL earned 1000 total points
ID: 22751265
Hi GouthamAnand,

The bottom line is you can serialize collections, as long as they are strongly typed.
Some collections may be serialized with no extra efforts, i.e. supported by the framework, while others will require some coding or googling.

As for the easy case sample is attached.
The more complex case (the generic dictionary for instance) can be handled using a custom serialization process.
You may refer to the following link for some samples:


List<string> someStringList = new List<string>();
XmlSerializer xs = new XmlSerializer(typeof(List<string>));
FileStream fs = new FileStream(@"c:\SerializedCollection.xml", 
xs.Serialize(fs, someStringList);
List<string> deserializedList = new List<string>();
FileStream fs1 = new FileStream(@"c:\SerializedCollection.xml", 
deserializedList = (List<string>)xs.Deserialize(fs1);

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Assisted Solution

torrie01 earned 1000 total points
ID: 22781210
I've found the easiest collection to serialize is an ArrayList, see the code below:
    public class ClassWithList
        public ClassWithList()
        // This attribute enables the ArrayList to be serialized:
        // Explicitly tell the serializer to expect the ClassWithItem class
        // so it can be properly written to XML from the collection:
        [System.Xml.Serialization.XmlArrayItem("Item", typeof(ClassWithItem))]
        public ArrayList ItemList { get; set; }

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