Parsing an XML file

This is the “XMLParsing” example. In this app we will read data from xml file and display the data on the screen.

Step 1: Open the Xcode and create a new Xcode project using Navigation base application template. Give the application name “XML”. As shown in the figure below:

Step 2: Expand classes and notice Interface Builder created the RootViewController.h and RootViewController.m class for you. Expand Resources and notice the template generated a separate nib, RootViewController.xib.

Step 3: We need to add another file. Right-click on the Classes folder and choose Add -> New File. Under Cocoa Touch Class category choose Objective-C class. Name it Book.h and Book.m file.
This will be a very simple class that will take our dummy data file, read it in as an NSArray and provide some utility methods to access the data from the file.

#import <uikit/UIKit.h>
@interface Book : NSObject {

	NSInteger bookID;
	NSString *name;	//Same name as the Entity Name.
	NSString *address;	//Same name as the Entity Name.
	NSString *country;	//Same name as the Entity Name.


@property (nonatomic, readwrite) NSInteger bookID;
@property (nonatomic, retain) NSString *name;
@property (nonatomic, retain) NSString *address;
@property (nonatomic, retain) NSString *country;


Step 4: We need to add Book.m file.

#import "Book.h"
@implementation Book

@synthesize name, address, country, bookID;
- (void) dealloc {

	[country release];
	[address release];
	[name release];
	[super dealloc];

Step 5: We need to add another file. Right-click on the Resource folder and choose Add -> New File. Under Resource category choose View-XIB class. Name it BookDetailView.xib file. Double click the file and select Grouped table view.

Step 6: We need to add another file. Right-click on the Classes folder and choose Add -> New File. Under Cocoa Touch Class category choose Objective-C class. Name it XMLParser.h and XMLParser.m file. This will be a very simple class that will take our dummy data file, read it in as an NSArray and provide some utility methods to access the data from the file.

#import <uikit/UIKit.h>

@class XMLAppDelegate, Book;

@interface XMLParser : NSObject {

	NSMutableString *currentElementValue;

	XMLAppDelegate *appDelegate;
	Book *aBook;

- (XMLParser *) initXMLParser;


Step 7: We need to open XMLParser.m file.

#import "XMLParser.h"
#import "XMLAppDelegate.h"
#import "Book.h"

@implementation XMLParser

- (XMLParser *) initXMLParser {

	[super init];

	appDelegate = (XMLAppDelegate *)[[UIApplication sharedApplication] delegate];

	return self;

- (void)parser:(NSXMLParser *)parser didStartElement:(NSString *)elementName
  namespaceURI:(NSString *)namespaceURI qualifiedName:(NSString *)qualifiedName
	attributes:(NSDictionary *)attributeDict {

	if([elementName isEqualToString:@"Books"]) {
		//Initialize the array.
		appDelegate.books = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init];
	else if([elementName isEqualToString:@"Book"]) {

		//Initialize the book.
		aBook = [[Book alloc] init];

		//Extract the attribute here.
		aBook.bookID = [[attributeDict objectForKey:@"id"] integerValue];

		NSLog(@"Reading id value :%i", aBook.bookID);

	NSLog(@"Processing Element: %@", elementName);

- (void)parser:(NSXMLParser *)parser foundCharacters:(NSString *)string {

		currentElementValue = [[NSMutableString alloc] initWithString:string];
		[currentElementValue appendString:string];

	NSLog(@"Processing Value: %@", currentElementValue);


- (void)parser:(NSXMLParser *)parser didEndElement:(NSString *)elementName
  namespaceURI:(NSString *)namespaceURI qualifiedName:(NSString *)qName {

	if([elementName isEqualToString:@"Books"])

	//There is nothing to do if we encounter the Books element here.
	//If we encounter the Book element howevere, we want to add the book object to the array
	// and release the object.
	if([elementName isEqualToString:@"Book"]) {
		[appDelegate.books addObject:aBook];

		[aBook release];
		aBook = nil;
		[aBook setValue:currentElementValue forKey:elementName];

	[currentElementValue release];
	currentElementValue = nil;

- (void) dealloc {

	[aBook release];
	[currentElementValue release];
	[super dealloc];


Step 8: We need to add another file. Right-click on the Classes folder and choose Add -> New File. Under Cocoa Touch Class category choose UIViewController class. Name it BookDetailViewController.h and BookDetailViewController.m file.

#import <uikit/UIKit.h>

@class Book;

@interface BookDetailViewController : UIViewController {

	IBOutlet UITableView *tableView;

	Book *aBook;

@property (nonatomic, retain) Book *aBook;


Step 9: We need to open BookDetailViewController.m file.

- (UITableViewCell *)tableView:(UITableView *)tv cellForRowAtIndexPath:(NSIndexPath *)indexPath {

    static NSString *CellIdentifier = @"Cell";

    UITableViewCell *cell = [tableView dequeueReusableCellWithIdentifier:CellIdentifier];
    if (cell == nil) {
        cell = [[[UITableViewCell alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectZero reuseIdentifier:CellIdentifier] autorelease];
		case 0:
			cell.text =;
		case 1:
			cell.text = aBook.address;
		case 2:
			cell.text =;
	return cell;

- (NSString *)tableView:(UITableView *)tblView titleForHeaderInSection:(NSInteger)section {

	NSString *sectionName = nil;

		case 0:
			sectionName = [NSString stringWithString:@"Name"];
		case 1:
			sectionName = [NSString stringWithString:@"Address"];
		case 2:
			sectionName = [NSString stringWithString:@"Country"];
	return sectionName;

Step 10: We need to open XmlAppDelegate.h file.

#import <uikit/UIKit.h>

@interface XMLAppDelegate : NSObject <uiapplicationDelegate> {

    UIWindow *window;
    UINavigationController *navigationController;

	NSMutableArray *books;

@property (nonatomic, retain) IBOutlet UIWindow *window;
@property (nonatomic, retain) IBOutlet UINavigationController *navigationController;

@property (nonatomic, retain) NSMutableArray *books;


Step 11: We need to open XmlAppDelegate.m file.

#import "XMLAppDelegate.h"
#import "RootViewController.h"
#import "XMLParser.h"

@implementation XMLAppDelegate

@synthesize window;
@synthesize navigationController, books;

- (void)applicationDidFinishLaunching:(UIApplication *)application {

	NSURL *url = [[NSURL alloc] initWithString:@""];
	NSXMLParser *xmlParser = [[NSXMLParser alloc] initWithContentsOfURL:url];

	//Initialize the delegate.
	XMLParser *parser = [[XMLParser alloc] initXMLParser];

	//Set delegate
	[xmlParser setDelegate:parser];

	//Start parsing the XML file.
	BOOL success = [xmlParser parse];

		NSLog(@"No Errors");
		NSLog(@"Error Error Error!!!");

	// Configure and show the window
	[window addSubview:[navigationController view]];
	[window makeKeyAndVisible];

Step 12: Now build and run the code and view the Output in the Simulator.

You can download source code from here XML

  • Rick
  • April 15, 2011
  • iOS

About the Author

Leave a Reply 27 comments

abuyaqeen - April 15, 2011 Reply

thank you very much ..

Patrick - April 17, 2011 Reply


J.L.G - May 7, 2011 Reply

thanks for such tutorial.

i have a couple questions. is there any way to contact you directly?

Pulkit - May 10, 2011 Reply

Thanks you for putting this together.

I followed the tutorial closely and the following lines were the only ones missing (in BookDetailViewController.m) that weren’t mentioned explicitly and prevented me from building the code:
#import “Book.h”
@synthesize aBook;

… After I downloaded your source, I was able to peek inside and resolve this. But the build didn’t show the expected visual output. It seems the older auto project generated root view controller was still hooked up to the window. I didn’t have the motivation to dig deeper into the source as I’m a beginner but it would be fantastic if you could actively talk about how to clean up the auto-generated views and wire up the one in your tutorial to an actual window :)

Brad Robinson - May 14, 2011 Reply


Great tutorial but i just had one question, i would like to show an image either in the current detail view or in a new detail view possibly accessed by a button at the bottom of the current view any help would be much appreciated.

If you think that the button at the bottom is the best idea i would like the url for the image loaded into the button from the xml data on the internet.

As i said i would really appreciate the help as i am still a beginner and would like to be able to complete this app.


Ross - May 19, 2011 Reply

I changed the link in the app delegate .m file to my own XML file on the internet and now the app builds but crashes with the error “terminate called after throwing an instance of ‘NSException’ ” I’ve also tried changing the link to a different XML file on the same site with identical results. (

Any idea what is going on?

kalpesh - May 31, 2011 Reply

@interface XMLParser : NSObject


need little bit Change…Not ..Neccesary.
Here You will Found How To use Delegate…
Or A Class As Delegate…Make Differance…

thanks …

DonOnGuitar - June 1, 2011 Reply

The link to your XML file gives 404 error.

    Sushant - June 2, 2011 Reply

    i have changed the link , you can checked now and also updated the code.

      Ross - June 6, 2011 Reply

      Sushant: Just downloaded your updated code, and now the table is completely empty. Just a heads up.

        Sushant - June 9, 2011 Reply

        I have downloaded SourceCode from post and compile it. Working perfectly. You try it once again.

Brad Robinson - June 2, 2011 Reply

hi guys

thanks for the info about the image and simpleURL, i have another problem now i want to apply a search facility to the table but the problem i have is that all the code on the internet is showing that you need to make a copy of the array before you start searching but i am not sure how this will be accomplished importing the array from another class.



Rahul - July 28, 2011 Reply

Hi, I am trying to get the data from the following website and loading it in the UITableview as per your tutorial, but my tableview is loading blank. Any suggestions.

david boon - August 27, 2011 Reply

sushant bhai its showing me a error like “pattern colors on iOS versions prior to 3.0, as well the build is failed… what to do?

thanks in advance

Micha Radi - November 6, 2011 Reply

How do you do all of this in Tab Bar Application which has two view controllers; one with this (parsing an XML file) and another one with only a UIViewController. I know how to do the 2nd controller, but I cannot figure out how to do the first one.

Because in the UINavigation App, you parsed the XML file from the delegate itself. Is it the same with UITabBar App?

Thanks a million!


antuks - December 13, 2011 Reply

I was able to run your code – thanks!

My only problem is when I added a new View (this is my login) before the RootViewController – when I click the button it shows the Main table view but when I click the data on each row it didn\’t show the details view like nothing happened. Any idea what I did wrong? Details View works flawlessly without the login View

Javi - December 14, 2011 Reply

i downloaded the code and works perfect, but if i putmy file XML in xcode how i can parse it, this is for a url for internet but i have a local file, can you help me?

James - February 20, 2012 Reply

Have you seen Pegasus? It’s a framework that lets you create the ENTIRE UI out of XML:

srikanth - September 23, 2012 Reply

i don’t know how to use the JSON services.
please can u help me with code.

sapphire - February 5, 2013 Reply

i want to show image in to do??

sapphire - February 5, 2013 Reply
this is my XML file

i want to show image in table view.

now i can show name only.

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