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How To Populate a TreeView Control with XML Data in Visual Basic .NET

This article was previously published under Q308063
For a Microsoft Visual C# .NET version of this article, see 317597.
For a Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 version of this article, see 244954.


This step-by step article describes how to populate a TreeView control by using Extensible Markup Language (XML) data in Visual Basic .NET. Because both XML and the TreeView control represent the data in a hierarchical format, the TreeView control is a natural choice to display XML data.

The TreeView control has a Nodes collection with root TreeNode objects. Each TreeNode in turn has its own Nodes collection that holds more than one child TreeNode.

NOTE: This sample uses the Document Object Model (DOM) parsing classes of .NET to process XML.

For more information about the design of XML in .NET Framework, see the "References" section of this article.


The following list outlines the recommended hardware, software, network infrastructure, and service packs that you need:
  • Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows 2000, or Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 6a
  • Microsoft Data Access Components 2.6 (MDAC) or later
  • Microsoft Visual Studio .NET
This article assumes that you are familiar with the following topics:
  • Visual Basic .NET syntax
  • XML and the related standards
  • Windows Forms

Steps to Create and Populate the TreeView Control with XML

  1. Paste the following XML sample code in a new text file named "Sample.xml". This file is the sample XML data for this example:
    <?xml version="1.0"?><family><parent>id="grandfather"    <parent>id="father"         <parent>id="brother"            <child>id="niece"            </child>         </parent>         <parent>id="me"            <child>id="son"</child>            <child>id="daughter"</child>         </parent>         <child>id="sister"</child>     </parent>     <parent>id="uncle"         <parent>id="cousin sister"            <child>id="second cousin"</child>         </parent>         <child>id="cousin brother"</child>     </parent></parent></family>					
  2. Create a new Windows-based application in Visual Basic .NET. Form1 is added to the application by default.
  3. Drag new TreeView, Button, Label, and TextBox controls onto Form1.
  4. Add the following sample code as the first line in the Code window in Form1.vb:
    Imports System.Xml					
  5. In the Form1.vb file, replace the entire code after the "Windows Form Designer generated code" section with the following sample code:
       Private Sub Form1_Load(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles MyBase.Load      ' Initialize the controls and the form.      Label1.Text = "File Path"      Label1.SetBounds(8, 8, 50, 20)      TextBox1.Text = Application.StartupPath() & "\Sample.xml"      TextBox1.SetBounds(64, 8, 256, 20)      Button1.Text = "Populate the TreeView with XML"      Button1.SetBounds(8, 40, 200, 20)      Me.Text = "TreeView control from XML"      Me.Width = 336      Me.Height = 368      TreeView1.SetBounds(8, 72, 312, 264)   End Sub   Private Sub Button1_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As System.EventArgs) Handles Button1.Click      Try         ' SECTION 1. Create a DOM Document and load the XML data into it.         Dim dom As New XmlDocument()         dom.Load(TextBox1.Text)         ' SECTION 2. Initialize the treeview control.         TreeView1.Nodes.Clear()         TreeView1.Nodes.Add(New TreeNode(dom.DocumentElement.Name))         Dim tNode As New TreeNode()         tNode = TreeView1.Nodes(0)         ' SECTION 3. Populate the TreeView with the DOM nodes.         AddNode(dom.DocumentElement, tNode)         TreeView1.ExpandAll()      Catch xmlEx As XmlException         MessageBox.Show(xmlEx.Message)      Catch ex As Exception         MessageBox.Show(ex.Message)      End Try   End Sub   Private Sub AddNode(ByRef inXmlNode As XmlNode, ByRef inTreeNode As TreeNode)      Dim xNode As XmlNode      Dim tNode As TreeNode      Dim nodeList As XmlNodeList      Dim i As Long      ' Loop through the XML nodes until the leaf is reached.      ' Add the nodes to the TreeView during the looping process.      If inXmlNode.HasChildNodes() Then         nodeList = inXmlNode.ChildNodes         For i = 0 To nodeList.Count - 1            xNode = inXmlNode.ChildNodes(i)            inTreeNode.Nodes.Add(New TreeNode(xNode.Name))            tNode = inTreeNode.Nodes(i)            AddNode(xNode, tNode)         Next      Else         ' Here you need to pull the data from the XmlNode based on the         ' type of node, whether attribute values are required, and so forth.         inTreeNode.Text = (inXmlNode.OuterXml).Trim      End If   End Sub					
  6. Press F5 to build and run the application. Make sure that the XML file path is correct and then click the button. The XML data should appear in the TreeView control.
NOTE: The resource could be a file, a URL or an XML Stream. Refer to the "References" section of this article for information about using the XmlDocument class to load XML data from different resources.

Steps to Populate the TreeView Control with Required Data

The previous code sample maps the XML tree data directly onto the TreeView and displays all the data. Alternatively, you can add extra information to the display or skip unwanted data.

In many instances, you may want to display only part of the XML data. The portion of the data that you want to display may be dynamically constructed, the result of an Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) transformation, or the result of an XPath query. This section describes how to build a new XML document with only the required nodes and then add the new document to the TreeView control.

For example, the following steps retrieve only the child elements of the originial XML data by using XPath query, and then add this list as a new node to the TreeView.
  1. Paste following code just before the TreeView1.ExpandAll line in the previous sample:
             ' SECTION 4. Create a new TreeView Node with only the child nodes.         Dim nodelist As XmlNodeList = dom.SelectNodes("//child")         Dim cDom As New XmlDocument()         cDom.LoadXml("<children></children>")         Dim node As XmlNode         For Each node In nodelist            Dim newElem As XmlNode = cDom.CreateNode(XmlNodeType.Element, node.Name, node.LocalName)            newElem.InnerText = node.InnerText            cDom.DocumentElement.AppendChild(newElem)         Next         TreeView1.Nodes.Add(New TreeNode(cDom.DocumentElement.Name))         tNode = TreeView1.Nodes(1)         AddNode(cDom.DocumentElement, tNode)					
  2. Build and then run the application. This application should display a new "children" root node in the TreeView, in addition to the original data.


For additional information, refer to the following Knowledge Base article and Microsoft .NET Software Development Kit (SDK) documentation:
313651 Roadmap for XML in the .NET Framework
Microsoft .NET Development

Article ID: 308063 - Last Review: 07/15/2004 17:32:55 - Revision: 4.4

  • Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2002 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic .NET 2003 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1
  • kbtreeview kbbcl kbctrl kbhowtomaster kbwindowsforms KB308063