One of the most powerful aspects of any mobile application for a 3G phone is that it can connect to the Internet. By connecting to the Internet the application can offer much more value to the user since it becomes an interface for a web-based component, e.g. using Twitter’s API to create a Twitter application so that you can get your Twitter updates without having to open the mobile browser. The most common way of interfacing with a web-based component is by using web services in XML format.
While trying to developer my own app which reads a web service from my own server, I ran into a lot of difficulties in implementing the client that consumes the web service. Android does not have libraries for XPath handling of XML documents, so it makes deciphering XML data a little bit more difficult. From what I’ve read online the Android team is currently working on including such libraries in future versions.
After some digging around I found an amazing link that shows different methods for consuming an XML file in Android and parsing through it without the use of XPaths. The link is this: Working with XML on Android. To start off, this link is an absolute must-read. Everything that I am going to write in my post here relates to this link. The code offered on that webpage uses polymorphism to show you 4 different methods of working with XML data. It provides a fully-functional Android application and all the source code for it. The source code can be found here: AndroidXML.zip.
My post today will concentrate on how to customize the code from the application in the above link, in order to read and parse your own XML data. If you are a Java pro, you might not need this post. My Java is a little rusty, so I needed some time to figure out exactly what I had to change and where in order to get this to work with my own web service XML. Now that I’ve figured it out, I thought I’d share it. In my next post I will give the simplified version of this code – where there is no polymorphism, and thus there are only the minimum number of classes needed to implement this XML-reading solution. I can’t offer this simplified code right now – because I haven’t coded it yet :).
So until I post the simplified source code for working with XML data in Android, here are some tips on getting through the larger polymorphism-based source code and customizing it for your own XML data: