Software Development

Monitoring change in XML data (LINQ to XML series – Part 5)

This is the 5th part in a series on LINQ to XML. In this instalment we will look at monitoring changes in XML data in the XML classes added to .NET 3.5.

The XObject class (from which XElement and XAttribute, among others) contains two events that are of interest to anyone wanting to know about changes to the XML data: Changing and Changed

The Changing event is triggered prior to a change being applied to the XML data. The Changed event is triggered after the change has been applied.

An example of adding the event handler would be something like this:

XElement root = new XElement("root");
root.Changed += new EventHandler<XObjectChangeEventArgs>(root_Changed);

The above example will trigger for any change that happens in the node the event handler is applied to and any node downstream of it. As the example is applied to the root node this means the event will trigger for any change in the XML data.

The event handler is supplied an XObjectChangeEventArgs object which contains an ObjectChange property. This is an XObjectChange enum and it lets the code know what type of change happened.

The sender contains the actual object in the XML data that has changed.

Adding an element

Take the following example where an element is added to the XML data.

XElement child = new XElement("ChildElement", "Original Value");
root.Add(child);

In this case the ObjectChanged is Add and the sender is the XElement: <ChildElement>Original Value</ChildElement>

A similar scenario happens when adding an attribute. However, instead of the sender being an XElement it will be an XAttribute.

child.Add(new XAttribute("TheAttribute", "Some Value"));

Changing an element value

If the value of the element is changed (the bit that currently says “Original Value”) then we don’t get one event fired. We get two events fired. For example:

child.Value = "New Value";

The first event with ObjectChanged set to Remove and the sender set to “Orginal Value” (which is actually an XText object) and the second event with the ObjectChanged set to Add and the sender set to “New Value” (again, this is actually an XText object).

Changing an element name

If the name of the element is changed then the ObjectChanged property will be set to Name and the sender will be the XElement that has changed.

child.Name = "JustTheChild";

Changing an attribute name

Unlike changing an element value, when the value of an attribute changes the ObjectChanged property will be Value and the sender will be the XAttribute.

child.Attribute("TheAttribute").Value = "New Attribute Value";

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