Chapter 10. LINQ to XML

The .NET Framework provides a number of APIs for working with XML data. From Framework 3.5, the primary choice for general-purpose XML document processing is LINQ to XML. LINQ to XML comprises a lightweight LINQ-friendly XML document object model, plus a set of supplementary query operators. LINQ to XML is supported fully in the Metro profile.

In this chapter, we concentrate entirely on LINQ to XML. In Chapter 11, we cover the more specialized XML types and APIs, including the forward-only reader/writer, the types for working with schemas, stylesheets and XPaths, and the legacy XmlDocument-based DOM.


The LINQ to XML DOM is extremely well designed and highly performant. Even without LINQ, the LINQ to XML DOM is valuable as a lightweight façade over the low-level XmlReader and XmlWriter classes.

All LINQ to XML types are defined in the System.Xml.Linq namespace.

Architectural Overview

This section starts with a very brief introduction to the concept of a DOM, and then explains the rationale behind LINQ to XML’s DOM.

What Is a DOM?

Consider the following XML file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
<customer id="123" status="archived">

As with all XML files, we start with a declaration, and then a root element, whose name is customer. The customer element has two attributes, each with a name (id and status) and value ("123" and "archived"). Within customer, there are two child ...

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