untidy.net :: untidy software :: xsw(Last Update: 3rd November 2003)

XmlSerializer Workshop


The .NET Framework provides an exceptionally useful feature in the System.Xml.Serialization namespace - the XmlSerializer. This class takes classes that you have developed and turns them into an XML representation. It can then turn an XML representation of your class back into a class instance. Very useful.

When you first try to serialize a type the XmlSerializer creates some C# code which reads and writes values to and from the type. It then compiles this code into an in-memory assembly. Unfortunately, sometimes this doesn't work and you either get a bunch of exceptions telling you why or a cryptic "can't load xyzxyzab.dll" exception. Both of these error types are caused by your type being incompatible with XmlSerializer. The second type of error, though, doesn't tell you why it's incompatible.

How can XmlSerializer Workshop help?

This tool allows you to load an assembly and safely try to create an XmlSerializer for any type in that assembly. If an XmlSerializer cannot be created the software shows you why - including allowing you to view the source code created by the serializer.

XSW is released under a BSD-style open-source license - hopefully it will help others. The source shows a couple of interesting techniques including using a separate AppDomain to host the main application so that the application can delete temporary assemblies after running. If you have improvements please do send them back so that I can merge them in and release them for others to use.

This tool was heavily inspired by the Tool that Chris Sells released which helped me immensely when I was having difficulties with XmlSerializer. Thanks Chris!


Download XSW (version 1.0.1)

Download Source (version 1.0, C#)