Android XML Parsing

If you ever tried to parse XML on Android the encouraged way, trying to parse a simple XML <foo>Hello World!</foo> will yield the following shitty code:


 import org.xmlpull.v1.XmlPullParser;
 import org.xmlpull.v1.XmlPullParserException.html;
 import org.xmlpull.v1.XmlPullParserFactory;

 public class SimpleXmlPullApp

     public static void main (String args[])
         throws XmlPullParserException, IOException
         XmlPullParserFactory factory = XmlPullParserFactory.newInstance();
         XmlPullParser xpp = factory.newPullParser();

         xpp.setInput( new StringReader ( "<foo>Hello World!</foo>" ) );
         int eventType = xpp.getEventType();
         while (eventType != XmlPullParser.END_DOCUMENT) {
          if(eventType == XmlPullParser.START_DOCUMENT) {
              System.out.println("Start document");
          } else if(eventType == XmlPullParser.END_DOCUMENT) {
              System.out.println("End document");
          } else if(eventType == XmlPullParser.START_TAG) {
              System.out.println("Start tag "+xpp.getName());
          } else if(eventType == XmlPullParser.END_TAG) {
              System.out.println("End tag "+xpp.getName());
          } else if(eventType == XmlPullParser.TEXT) {
              System.out.println("Text "+xpp.getText());
          eventType =;

A true Java-ish solution: the code is

  • complex
  • horrible
  • error-prone
  • hard to maintain
  • hard to write
  • The library API encourages you to write such shitty code
  • Everybody seems to accept the fate and be okay with it.

On top of that, the solution:

  • doesn’t validate the XML
  • exceptions won’t report precise location in the XML

No wonder nobody young and sane would pick Java as the language worth learning.

How about replacing the above monstrosity with something like this (in Kotlin):

println("<foo>Hello World!</foo>".konsumeXml().childText("foo"))

That’s what the Konsume-XML library does - it allows you to call high-level functions to parse XML, and it shields you from direct interaction with the pull parser (which is used under-the-hood). And no annotations (another Java pain point).

Written on June 5, 2019