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Iterparse and ElementTree confusion


Im trying to parse a large(150MB) xml file in order to extract specific
required records.

import sys
from elementtree.Ele mentTree import ElementTree

root = ElementTree(fil e=big.xml')

This works fine for smaller versions of the same xml file but...when i
attempted the above my PC goes to lala land, theres much HDD grinding
followed by "windows runnign low on virtual memory" popup after
10-15mins. Then just more grinding...for an hour before i gave up

XML file format:
Aug 17 '05 #1
4 4646
Further to the above....

I pass my found element 'Product' to ElementTree's handy print all

def print_all(eleme nt):
root = element
#Create an iterator
iter = root.getiterato r()
for element in iter:
#First the element tag name
print "Element:", element.tag
#Next the attributes (available on the instance itself using
#the Python dictionary protocol
if element.keys():
print "\tAttribut es:"
for name, value in element.items() :
print "\t\tName: '%s', Value: '%s'"%(name, value)
#Next the child elements and text
print "\tChildren :"
#Text that precedes all child elements (may be None)
if element.text:
text = element.text
text = len(text) > 40 and text[:40] + "..." or text
print "\t\tText:" , repr(text)
if element.getchil dren():
#Can also use: "for child in element.getchil dren():"
for child in element:
#Child element tag name
print "\t\tElemen t", child.tag
#The "tail" on each child element consists of the text
#that comes after it in the parent element content, but
#before its next sibling.
if child.tail:
text = child.tail
text = len(text) > 40 and text[:40] + "..." or text
print "\t\tText:" , repr(text)

if the element i pass to the above is from

root = ElementTree(fil e='somefile.xml ')
iter = root.getiterato r()
for element in iter:
if element.tag == 'Product':
print_all(eleme nt)

I print all of my required element's attributes, children, children's
children, etc

However if i pass the element i get from iterparse

for event, elem in iterparse(filen ame):
if elem.tag == "Products":

i only get the attributes for <product> and a list of its children, no
further iteration into the children and the children's children

what am i missing?

Aug 17 '05 #2
pa***********@g mail.com wrote:
def parse_for_produ cts(filename):

for event, elem in iterparse(filen ame):
if elem.tag == "Products":
root = ElementTree(ele m)

My problem is that if i pass the 'elem' found by iterparse then try to
print all attributes, children and tail text i only get
elem.tag....ele m.keys returns nothing as do all of the other previously
useful elementtree methods.

Am i right in thinking that you can pass an element into ElementTree?
How might i manually iterate through <product>...</product> grabbing

by default, iterparse only returns "end" events, which means that the
iterator will visit the Products children before you see the Products
element itself. with the code above, this means that the children will
be nuked before you get around to process the parent.

depending on how much rubbish you have in the file, you can do

for event, elem in iterparse(filen ame):
if elem.tag == "Products":


for event, elem in iterparse(filen ame):
if elem.tag == "Products":
elif elem.tag in ("Rubbish1", "Rubbish2") :


inside = False
for event, elem in iterparse(filen ame, events=("start" , "end")):
if event == "start":
# we've seen the start tag for this element, but not
# necessarily the end tag
if elem.tag == "Products":
inside = True
# we've seen the end tag
if elem.tag == "Products":
inside = False
elif not inside:

for more info, see



Aug 17 '05 #3
"when i attempted [to load 150MB xml file] my PC goes to lala land,
theres much HDD grinding followed by "windows runnign low on virtual
memory" popup after 10-15mins. Then just more grinding...for an hour
before i gave up"

I have had great success using SAX to parse large XML files. If you use
care your memory use will peak at a low number no matter how much XML
you chew through.

Aug 17 '05 #4

Thankyou so much. All is well, using the Iterparse takes a mere 3mins
to find the last product in the xml and this is probably due to my
checking 10000 products for a specific.

<looks at shoes>I feel rather honoured to have 'the' effbot reply to my
humble post....</looks at shoes>

Thanks again


Aug 18 '05 #5

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