Convert comma delimited data to XML using XSLT
The attached VB.NET sample shows how to convert a comma delimited (.CSV) file to
XML using VB.NET and Extensible Stylesheet Language
Transformations (XSLT). Converting the comma delimited data using
XSL has pros and cons. On the plus side, you don't need to loop through the
input CSV file and walk the XML DOM adding elements and/or attributes. On the
minus side, attempting to transform large CSV files may produce Out of Memory
The sample takes comma delimited data of the form:
and converts it to XML looking like:
The first step is to wrap the comma delimited data with <ROOT></ROOT>
XML tags so it can be treated as an XML document. Then an XslTransform
object from the System.Xml.Xsl namespace is
created, the XSL stylesheet is loaded and the XSL transform is applied. The
VB.NET code to do this is similar to:
' Create a resolver with default credentials.
' Create the XSL Transform object.
Dim XSLT As XslTransform = New XslTransform
Dim resolver As XmlUrlResolver = New XmlUrlResolver
resolver.Credentials = System.Net.CredentialCache.DefaultCredentials
' Load the stylesheet. Transform the file.
XSLT.Transform(strInputCSVFile, strOutputXMLFile, resolver)
XSLT = Nothing
Only a few lines of VB code are needed to apply the transform. The bulk of the
code exists in the XSLT file. The XSL contains three templates
(XSL jargon for procedures). The first one matches the root XML node
(<ROOT></ROOT>) and calls the second linestorows template
which recursively convert each line in the CSV file to a ROW node in the
The linestorows template calls the third fieldstoxml template
which recursively parses the line, splits it at the commas, and creates the
corresponding XML elements.
The XSLT file is annotated and should be easy to follow if you are familiar with
XSL. If not, their are a lot of good books and online resources available.
Download Source Code
Download the source code and run it. Use the Browse buttons to select the input
comma delimited CSV file, the XSLT file to transform the data, and the XML file
to hold the results.
The sample code includes two XSL transform files. XSLT file "transform.xslt"
hard codes the names of the fields in the comma delimited file. Thus, it is
specific to the included test file. XSLT file "transform2.xslt" is generic and
will work with any .CSV file. Try the two XSLT files and view the resultant
This code will not run under version 1.0 of the .Net framework.