Create an XML file from an Entity Framework entity with children.

eager-loading entity entity-framework xml-serialization xmlwriter

Question

I'm querying data with parent/child result sets using Entity Framework and I want to export this data to an XML document.

var agreement = storeops.Agreements.SingleOrDefault(a => a.AgreementNumber == AgreementTextBox.Text);
XmlSerializer serializer = new XmlSerializer(agreement.GetType());
XmlWriter writer = XmlWriter.Create("Agreement.xml");
serializer.Serialize(writer, agreement);

This works well except it only serializes the parent without including the related child records in the XML. How can I get the children to serialize as well?

I also tried using POCO generated code and the child collections attempt to be serialized except they are ICollections which can't be serialized.

Cannot serialize member DataSnapshots.Agreement.AgreementItems of type System.Collections.Generic.ICollection`1[[DataSnapshots.AgreementItem, DataSnapshots, Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=null]] because it is an interface.

1
5
6/5/2011 3:55:52 PM

Popular Answer

XML serialization behaves differently than binary serialization and data contract serialization when working with Entity Framework entities. The latter will serialize any related objects that have been loaded into the object graph, but XML serialization does not, so you will need to use a DataContractSerializer:

var agreement = storeops.Agreements.SingleOrDefault(a => a.AgreementNumber == AgreementTextBox.Text);
// make sure any relations are loaded

using (XmlWriter writer = XmlWriter.Create("Agreement.xml"))
{
    DataContractSerializer serializer = new DataContractSerializer(agreement.GetType());
    serializer.WriteObject(writer, agreement);
}

Also, Entity Framework uses lazy loading by default for 1:Many relations, and if the referenced objects haven't already been loaded when you go to serialize, then all you'll get is the keys that refer to them. You have to explicitly load the related entities either by calling agreement.Children.Load() or by using .Include("Children") in your query (where "Children" is the name of the collection of related entities).

10
6/5/2011 4:33:11 AM


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