Handle XML with namespaces

29 01 2009

Yesterday, I faced an issue while working with an xml file in Flash. I was unable to parse the xml data using the normal E4X syntax such as xml.node1.node2. It would give an error. The only thing different about this particular xml is that it has a lot of namespaces declared in it. After going through the documentation I found out a way to handle this issue. Check the following code:

var xml:XML = <Workbook xmlns:c="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:component:spreadsheet" xmlns:html="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40" xmlns:o="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:spreadsheet" xmlns:x2="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/excel/2003/xml" xmlns:ss="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:spreadsheet" xmlns:x="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:excel">
	<ss:Worksheet ss:Name="Sheet1">
	<Table ss:StyleID="ta1">
		<Row ss:AutoFitHeight="0" ss:Height="13.4064">
				<Data ss:Type="String">Preview</Data>
				<Data ss:Type="String">unicode</Data>
				<Data ss:Type="String">htmlcode</Data>
				<Data ss:Type="String">htmlalt</Data>
				<Data ss:Type="String">utfcode</Data>
				<Data ss:Type="String">utfalt</Data>

namespace ns1 = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:spreadsheet";
use namespace ns1;

trace(xml..*::Table.Row[0].Cell[0].Data); //Preview

Here, I just declared the default namespace for the above xml. Try this code without the namespace statement and you will get an error. The namespace declared without a prefix is the default namespace for the xml. For this xml the default namespace is xmlns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:spreadsheet”.

In this case what I’ve done is declared the default namespace in actionscript. And to reference a deeply nested node I’ve used “..*::” instead of a simple ” ..”

Also, in case you want to remove all the namespaces mentioned in the xml, you can try doing something like this:

var arNS:Array = xml.inScopeNamespaces();
for each (var item:Namespace in arNS)

However, do note that this will not remove the default namespace.

Flex AMF3

30 10 2008

Here’s a very interesting app made by James Ward for comparing the performances of different web technologies for building RIAs – Flex & AMF3, AJAX & XML, AJAX & JSON, and so on. You select a technology pair and click Execute. The command will fetch 5000 rows from a database and show the proformance results in terms of server execution time, transfer time, and so on.


Of all the technology pairs listed in this app, I’ve used Flex XML AS, Flex XML E4X, and Flex AMF3. Out of these I’ve found Flex AMF3 very easy to use, fast, and responsive. To get started with this technology I’d recommend chapter 7 of the following book by Friends Of Ed…