Adding XML namespaces via Dom4j

Hello everyone,

today’s article is about adding namespaces to your XML document using Java and Dom4j, so let’s get started…

First of all we need an instance of the Dom4j factory, here is how we do it…

//Get an instance of the dom4j document factory
DocumentFactory factory = DocumentFactory.getInstance();

…next we create an element which is going to serve as the root element as well as a new xml document using the factory object.

//use the factory to create a root element
Element rootElement = factory.createElement("RootElement");
//use the factory to create a new document with the previously created root element
Document doc = factory.createDocument(rootElement);

Now we are ready to create our namespaces.

//create some dom4j namespaces that we like to add to our new document
Namespace namespace1 = new Namespace("xsd","http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#");
Namespace namespace2 = new Namespace("rdfs","http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#");
Namespace namespace3 = new Namespace("rdf","http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#");
Namespace namespace4 = new Namespace("owl","http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#");
Namespace namespace5 = new Namespace("some","http://some/other/namespace:-)#");

The last step we have to take is to add all the namespaces to the XML document.

//add the created namespaces to the document</span>
doc.getRootElement().add(namespace1);
doc.getRootElement().add(namespace2);
doc.getRootElement().add(namespace3);
doc.getRootElement().add(namespace4);
doc.getRootElement().add(namespace5);

Finished! To check if everything worked as intended we’re going to write the document to an XML file…

try{
  //write the created document to an arbitrary file
  FileOutputStream fos = new FileOutputStream( "files/output.xml" );

  OutputFormat outformat = OutputFormat.createPrettyPrint();
  XMLWriter writer = new XMLWriter(fos, outformat);
  writer.write(doc);
  writer.flush();

}catch(FileNotFoundException e) {
  // catch exception
  e.printStackTrace();
}catch(UnsupportedEncodingException e) {
  // catch exception
  e.printStackTrace();
}catch (IOException e) {
  // catch exception
  e.printStackTrace();
}

…if everything went fine we should end up with an XML file that looks like this:

<xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8">

<RootElement xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#"
xmlns:rdfs="http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#"
xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#"
xmlns:owl="http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#"
xmlns:some="http://some/other/namespace:-)#">

</RootElement>

So this is how you add namespaces to your xml document via Dom4j…have a nice day and stay tuned for more face-melting articles :)…

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XPath Expressions Dom4j vs XMLSpy

Hello,

this is my first real article so I hope I get things right…

This article is about a “Problem” I recently encountered while using XPath expressions in Dom4j and XMLSpy. The main objective was to select certain nodes in an XML File. Just to give you a better understanding of what I wanted to select, here the related snippet of the XML File:

   <!-- Individual:http://www.co-ode.org/ontologies/pizza/pizza.owl#Germany -->
   <owl:Thing rdf:about="#Germany">
       <rdf:type rdf:resource="#Country"/>
   </owl:Thing>

   <!-- Individual: http://www.co-ode.org/ontologies/pizza/pizza.owl#Italy -->
   <owl:Thing rdf:about="#Italy">
      <rdf:type rdf:resource="#Country"/>
   </owl:Thing>

   <owl:Thing rdf:about="#AmeriCunt">
       <rdf:type rdf:resource="#American"/>
   </owl:Thing>

   <American rdf:ID="Lappland"/>

   <AmericanHot rdf:ID="Toska"></AmericanHot>

   <AnchoviesTopping rdf:ID="Lappland"/>;

   <ArtichokeTopping rdf:ID="Lappland"/></span>

   <AsparagusTopping rdf:ID="Lappland"/>

I wanted to select the elements in the lines 17 – 25 via XPath expressions. So I tried to select the first Element with the expression “//American”. In XMLSpy and everything worked just fine. Therefore I took my java code and tried to run the same XPath expression with Dom4j (see code below):

Document doc = null;
try {
      doc = new SAXReader(  ).read(
              new FileInputStream("files/pizza.owl"));

      XPath xpathSelector =
      DocumentHelper.createXPath("//American");

      List<Element> elements = xpathSelector.selectNodes(doc);
      for(Element e: elements){
          System.out.println("Found");
      }

} catch (FileNotFoundException e) {
    // TODO Auto-generated catch block
    e.printStackTrace();
} catch (DocumentException e) {
    // TODO Auto-generated catch block
    e.printStackTrace();
}

That didn’t work so well and I ended up with an empty result set. After hours I finally came up with a solution to this problem (even though I am not quite sure that the explanation why the problem occurred with Dom4j and not with XMLSpy is accurate or not…..so it’s just a guess ).

I figured out that the elements I tried to select don’t belong to any namespace (in fact they do, they belong to the standard namespace of the XML file, if defined). The elements which I wanted to select existed one level below the actual root element of the XML file.

My guess is that XMLSpy figures out the namespaces of given document on its own and therefore can select elements based on an expression like “//American”. Dom4j on the other hand doesn’t figure out namespaces on its own an therefore is incapable of correctly evaluating the expression. That is why I ended up with an empty result set on my first try.

What I did is I took the namespace (line 1 in the XML file below) which all elements belong to if they have no prefix assigned to them and made it known to Dom4j:

<rdf:RDF xmlns="http://www.co-ode.org/ontologies/pizza/pizza.owl#"
     xml:base="http://www.co-ode.org/ontologies/pizza/pizza.owl"
     xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#"
     xmlns:rdfs="http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#"
     xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#"
     xmlns:owl="http://www.w3.org/2002/07/owl#">

Java Code (the relevant changes are lokated in lines 4,5 and 8):

           try {
               doc = new SAXReader(  ).read(new FileInputStream("files/pizza.owl"));

               Map map = new HashMap();
               map.put("standard", "http://www.co-ode.org/ontologies/pizza/pizza.owl#");

               XPath xpathSelector  = DocumentHelper.createXPath("//standard:American");
               xpathSelector.setNamespaceContext(new SimpleNamespaceContext(map));

                List<Element> elements = xpathSelector.selectNodes(doc);
                for(Element e: elements){
                    System.out.println("Found");
                }

            } catch (FileNotFoundException e) {
                // TODO Auto-generated catch block
                e.printStackTrace();
            } catch (DocumentException e) {
                // TODO Auto-generated catch block
                e.printStackTrace();
            }

Now everything was working fine and I got my desired elements…