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xCBL Document Definitions and how to parse it into C# classes

Creating and parsing an schema.xsd file to c# class using the Developer Command Prompt for VS2017.

Published Dec 20, 2017

What is xCBL?

XML Common Buisness Library, aka xCBL is simply a XML document structure standard often used in buisness to buisness e-commerce.

We recently had a customer who gave us a few options in how we should recieve thier order data from thier procurement system which we had integrated with. And one of those options included using of the xCBL 3.0 Document Definition.

So I set about to google my way through understanding what it was all about.

I found my way to xCBL offcial docs and getting hold of the schema for the xCBL 3.0 standard. There were a lot files! But I managed to find the Order.xsd file in the bundle which was what I was looking for. It matched perfectly with the documentation our customer had sent us.

Now we wanted to build an ASP.NET Core 1.0 web api and build an endpoint for our customer to post thier order document to us so we could process it. We also hosted it as a Lambda on AWS behind our AWS API Gateway. But that's another story.

So, we recieve a post request from our customer and in the request body we find this xml we want to parse to shiny object, we all love objects right?!

But what does this object look like? Surely there must be a tool create this class from the Order.xsd. In comes Developer Command Prompt for VS 2017(or 2015), just search for it in the windows start menu. Now navigate to the location of your Order.xsd file and run
xsd Order.xsd /c /n:SomeNameSpace


This should generate a class named Order with the namespace SomeNameSpace and create it at the location you are at in CLI. And if you open the class and see that it's 60k lines: Woah. What a nice tool.

From this point you can include the class into your project and use it to deserialize the XML.

This is how we solved reading the request and deserializing it to an instance of the Order class. I removed the Exception handling and authentication for readability.

  public IActionResult Endpoint()
      string request = string.Empty;

      using (var sr = new StreamReader(Request.Body))
          request = sr.ReadToEnd();

      XDocument doc = XDocument.Parse(request);

      var serializer = new XmlSerializer(typeof(Order));

      Order order = (Order) serializer.Deserialize(doc);

      //continue processing of our Order class..

      return Ok();