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How to remove all namespaces from XML with C#?


How to remove all namespaces from XML with C# is a commonly found questions in developments. It is not the best practice to remove the namespace and I see it as an anti-pattern to remove it rather than utilizing it, but there are cases that this can be an 'acceptable' solution.

One of the example could be this - Converting a DTD / XSD to strongly typed C# class

In this scenario, I was working with multiple servers that their returning namespaces are different each time, and the serializer fail to validate the namespace. Given the return xml is only so short lived and it was not worth the effort to implement multiple or dynamic namespaces.


After looking up the stackoverflow, I was a little surprise that the first few answers seem to have issues with attributes being remove. They did not seem to serve the purpose of what they were asking - A clean, elegant and smart solution to remove namespacees from all XML elements.

Since no working solutions are available to me, I had an attempt to write my own as follow.

public static XElement RemoveAllNamespaces(this XElement element)
    return new XElement(element.Name.LocalName,
        element.HasAttributes ? element.Attributes().Select(a => new XAttribute(a.Name.LocalName, a.Value)) : null,
        element.HasElements ? element.Elements().Select(e => RemoveAllNamespaces(e)) : null,

And I have tested the code with the following XML that have multiple level of nodes and attributes.

The 4 liner solution all serve it's purpose.

  1. Firstly, it creates the root node
  2. Appends all attributes
  3. Append all elements 
  4. Lastly, the value

The trick is in line 3, where it picks all the elements() and pushed back to it's own function from the current element. Thus, recursively doing the same thing for all the nodes.

The magic for it to work is the elegant way of how the XElement constructor works. I often found using XElement will end up with a 1 liner solution because of it's constructor, so a good coding style and line breaks will really help the next person who read your code.

Did my solution look clean, elegant and smart to you? Share your thoughts :)

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