Using XML in Silverlight

XML is an important medium in the world of Silverlight especially where Web Services are involved.  The .NET 3.5 that comes with Silverlight omits some of the core XML objects that you will find in the full incarnation of .NET 3.5.  There is however the XML Reader and Writer classes that allow you high speed access to reading and writing XML documents.  In our sample on this page we use an XML reader to read a simple XML file and render the results to the page.

Our example XML Customer List

Our example XML file looks like this, as you can:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
    <customer id="10001" first="John" last="Smith" company="Donuts plc">[email protected]</customer>
    <customer id="10002" first="Rete" last="Bandy" company="This Is Bloggers Co.">[email protected]</customer>
    <customer id="10003" first="James" last="Bird" company="Timestone">[email protected]</customer>
    <customer id="10004" first="Sarah" last="McCauly" company="Automated Snowmen Ltd">[email protected]</customer>
    <customer id="10005" first="Pete" last="Rowan" company="Cooltec Consultants">[email protected]</customer>

The XAML for this tutorial is very simple, we just have one listbox and is as follows:

<UserControl x:Class="XMLTutorial.Page"
    Width="400" Height="300">
    <Grid x:Name="LayoutRoot" Background="White">
        <ListBox x:Name="customersList" Width="400" Height="200" />

In our XAML we have only one ListBox for this tutorial, all the processing is done in your C# code behind:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Net;
using System.Windows;
using System.Windows.Controls;
using System.Windows.Documents;
using System.Windows.Input;
using System.Windows.Media;
using System.Windows.Media.Animation;
using System.Windows.Shapes;
using System.Xml;

namespace XMLTutorial
    public partial class Page : UserControl
        public Page()


        private void PopulateCustomersList()
            XmlReader reader = XmlReader.Create("Customers.xml");


            while (reader.Read())
                if (reader.NodeType == XmlNodeType.Element && reader.Name == "customer")
                    customersList.Items.Add(new ListBoxItem() { Content = reader.GetAttribute("last") +
                        ", " + reader.GetAttribute("first") + " (" + reader.ReadInnerXml() + ")" });

                if (reader.NodeType == XmlNodeType.EndElement && reader.Name == "customers")


In the above code we enter a while loop reading each Customer element and outputting the First, Last names and email address.

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