Joe Gregorio

Ken MacLeod has an updated version of XmlToDictBySAX.py that includes a neat technique for working with namespaces. His code uses James Clark's namespace notation for referring to element names, which is a lot more elegant and robust than my original implementation.

In Clark's notation the indirect reference to the namespace URI are mapped to a direct reference. For example:

<cars:part xmlns:cars="http://www.cars.com/xml"/>

maps to an element name of:


The idea is to referer to the element by the name {uri}name which avoids the problem of picking different prefixes for the same namespace. Ken also uses a neat ability of Python, in which a class can define the function __getattr__(), which is used to resolve object attibute references. If you try to access an attribute on an object and it does not define that attribute, either in it's class or any parent class, then the __getattr__ function performs the lookup. Ken uses this trick to define a Namespace class:

 class Namespace:
    def __init__(self, uri):
        self.__uri = uri
    def __getattr__(self, local_name):
        return '{' + self.__uri + '}' + local_name
    def __getitem__(self, local_name):
        return '{' + self.__uri + '}' + local_name

which can them be used as such:

  DC = Namespace('http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/')

  print DC.date    # Prints "('http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/')date" 
I made correction between posting the original comment and updating XmlToDictBySAX, in Namespace, it should be self.__uri in place of self.uri, because an XML local-name of 'uri' is very possible, but a local-name of '__uri' is very unlikely.

Posted by Ken MacLeod on 2003-04-02

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