Tutorial :Serialization vs LINQ


I am currently writing an application to manage some customers. The customers have some relations like orders. You can imagine this like the northwind database. I want to save the data in an xml file. My application should read, modify and save the data. I think, there are two approaches. The first approach is to save, read and modify the data with the XmlSerializer class. The second approach is to do the operations with LINQ-to-XML. All of my classes are written in simple C# classes. So, I am not sure. What do you think? What should I use for my needs?

Thanks in advance!


LINQ to XML is good for querying XML Documents.

If you're serializing/de-serializing an object, I would leave that to the XmlSerializer class.


Are you really, really sure that you want to use XML for this purpose? You can use SQL Server Compact Edition to have SQL Server capabilities that are built-in to your compiled application with no external footprint. A database is really a much better choice than using XML inthe way that you are describing.


There is much to consider when doing serialization. Even though the following is related to C++, it discusses some of the complications of serialization and what data structures to use when serializing.


Also if another application is going to be using the output serialization, I would avoid using XmlSerializer class and construct my own schema with data migration and backwards-compatibility in mind.


Linq to XML so leater if you change your mind to set in EF or Linq to SQL will be easy.


I would recommend that you use the DataContractSerializer instead of the XmlSerializer. The XmlSerializer is still supported, however, only critical bugs are being fixed (see the comment to XSD.EXE - Incorrect Class Generated for Abstract Type With Derived Types on 10/1/2008:

Unfortunately, we're only proactively fixing the most critical customer impactful issues in XmlSerializer and xsd.exe. If this issue is causing business impact please contact Microsoft Product Support Services and we will be happy to explore various options.

The only downside, if it is one, is that the XmlSerializer allows you detailed control over the format of the XML. If you are only going to use the XML for your own purposes, then this doesn't matter, and the improved speed and feature set of the DataContractSerializer should be attractive to you.

BTW, it allows you "the best of both worlds". It can serialize data to a binary form of XML, which is more compact, but which is still XML, and can be read in by the XmlDictionaryReader class (which is an XmlReader).

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