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Converting Strings to .NET Framework Data Types

If you want to convert a string to a .NET Framework data type, use the XmlConvert method that fits the application requirements. For a list of all conversion methods available in the XmlConvert class, see XmlConvert Members.

The string returned from the ToString method is a string version of the data that is passed in. Additionally, there are several .NET Framework types that convert using the XmlConvert class yet they do not use the methods in the System.Convert class. The XmlConvert class follows the XML Schema (XSD) data type specification and has a data type that the XmlConvert can map to.

The following table lists .NET Framework data types and the string types that are returned using XML Schema (XSD) data type mapping. These .NET Framework types cannot be processed using System.Convert.

.NET Framework type String returned
Boolean "true", "false"
Single.PositiveInfinity "INF"
Single.NegativeInfinity "-INF"
Double.PositiveInfinity "INF"
Double.NegativeInfinity "-INF"
DateTime Format is "yyyy-MM-ddTHH:mm:ss"
that is, 2001-08-04T02:20:00
is the year 2001, the month is August, the day is the 4th, and the time is 2am, 20 minutes, zero seconds.
Timespan Format is PnYnMnTnHnMnS
that is, P2Y10M15DT10H30M20S is a duration of 2 years, 10 months, 15 days, 10 hours, 30 minutes, and 20 seconds.
Note   If converting any of the .NET Framework types listed in the table to a string using the ToString method, the returned string is not the base type, but the XML Schema (XSD) string type.

The DateTime and Timespan value type differs in that a DateTime represents an instant in time, whereas a TimeSpan represents a time interval. The DateTime and Timespan formats are specified in the XML Schema (XSD) data types specification. For example:

Dim writer As New XmlTextWriter("myfile.xml", Nothing)
Dim [date] As New DateTime(2001, 8, 4)
writer.WriteElementString("Date", XmlConvert.ToString([date]))
[C#]XmlTextWriter writer = new XmlTextWriter("myfile.xml", null);
DateTime date = new DateTime (2001, 08, 04);
writer.WriteElementString("Date", XmlConvert.ToString(date));

Output

<Date>2001-08-04T00:00:00</Date>.

The following code converts and integer to a string:

Dim writer As New XmlTextWriter("myfile.xml", Nothing)
Dim value As Int32 = 200
writer.WriteElementString("Number", XmlConvert.ToString(value))
[C#]XmlTextWriter writer = new XmlTextWriter("myfile.xml", null);
Int32 value = 200;
writer.WriteElementString("Number", XmlConvert.ToString(value));

Output

<Number>200</Number>

However, if you are converting a string to Boolean, Single, or Double, the .NET Framework type that is returned is not the same as the type returned when using the System.Convert class.

String to Boolean

The following table shows what type is generated for the given input strings, when converting a string to Boolean using the ToBoolean method.

Valid string input parameter .NET Framework output type
"true" Boolean.True
"1" Boolean.True
"false" Boolean.False
"0" Boolean.False

For example, given the following XML:

Input

<Boolean>true</Boolean>
<Boolean>1</Boolean> 

Both can be understood by the following code, and bvalue is System.Boolean.True:

Dim bvalue As Boolean = _
   XmlConvert.ToBoolean(reader.ReadElementString())
Console.WriteLine(bvalue)
[C#]Boolean bvalue = XmlConvert.ToBoolean(reader.ReadElementString());
Console.WriteLine(bvalue);

String to Single

The following table shows what type is generated for the given input strings, when converting a string to a Single using the ToSingle method.

Valid string input parameter .NET Framework output type
"INF" Single.PositiveInfinity
"-INF" Single.NegativeInfinity

String to Double

The following table shows what type is generated for the given input strings, when converting a string to a Single using the ToDouble method.

Valid string input parameter .NET Framework output type
"INF" Double.PositiveInfinity
"-INF" Double.NegativeInfinity

The following code writes <Infinity>INF</Infinity>:

Dim value As Double = Double.PositiveInfinity
writer.WriteElementString("Infinity", XmlConvert.ToString(value))
[C#]Double value = Double.PositiveInfinity;
writer.WriteElementString("Infinity", XmlConvert.ToString(value));

See Also

Conversion of XML Data Types | Converting .NET Framework Types to Strings

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