Creating New Attributes for Elements in the DOM


Creating new attributes is different than creating other node types, because attributes are not nodes, but are properties of an element node and are contained in an XmlAttributeCollection associated with the element. There are multiple ways to create an attribute and attach it to an element:

  • Get the element node and use SetAttribute to add an attribute to the attribute collection of that element.

  • Create an XmlAttribute node using the CreateAttribute method, get the element node, then use SetAttributeNode to add the node to the attribute collection of that element.

The following example shows how to add an attribute to an element using the SetAttribute method.

using System;  
using System.IO;  
using System.Xml;  
public class Sample  
  public static void Main()  
    XmlDocument doc = new XmlDocument();  
    doc.LoadXml("<book xmlns:bk='urn:samples' bk:ISBN='1-861001-57-5'>" +  
                "<title>Pride And Prejudice</title>" +  
    XmlElement root = doc.DocumentElement;  
    // Add a new attribute.  
    root.SetAttribute("genre", "urn:samples", "novel");  
    Console.WriteLine("Display the modified XML...");  

The following example shows a new attribute being created using the CreateAttribute method. It then shows the attribute added to the attribute collection of the book element using the SetAttributeNode method.

Given the following XML:

<book genre='novel' ISBN='1-861001-57-5'>  
<title>Pride And Prejudice</title>  

create a new attribute and give it a value:

XmlAttribute attr = doc.CreateAttribute("publisher");  
attr.Value = "WorldWide Publishing";  

and attach it to the element:



<book genre="novel" ISBN="1-861001-57-5" publisher="WorldWide Publishing">  
<title>Pride And Prejudice</title>  

The full code sample can be found at XmlDocument.CreateAttribute Method.

You can also create an XmlAttribute node and use the InsertBefore or InsertAfter methods to place it in the appropriate position in the collection. If an attribute with the same name is already present in the attribute collection, the existing XmlAttribute node is removed from the collection and the new XmlAttribute node is inserted. This performs the same way as the SetAttribute method. These methods take, as a parameter, an existing node as a reference point to do the InsertBefore and InsertAfter. If you do not provide a reference node indicating where to insert the new node, the default for the InsertAfter method is to insert the new node at the beginning of the collection. The default position for the InsertBefore, if no reference node is provided, is at the end of the collection.

If you created an XmlNamedNodeMap of attributes, you can add an attribute by name using the SetNamedItem Method. For more information, see Node Collections in NamedNodeMaps and NodeLists.

If you create an element that is declared to have a default attribute, then a new default attribute with its default value is created by the XML Document Object Model (DOM) and attached to the element. The child nodes of the default attribute are also created at this time.

The value of an attribute node becomes its child nodes. There are only two types of valid child nodes: XmlText nodes, and XmlEntityReference nodes. These are child nodes in the sense that methods such as FirstChild and LastChild process them as child nodes. This distinction of an attribute having child nodes is important when trying to remove attributes or attribute child nodes. For more information, see Removing Attributes from an Element Node in the DOM.

XML Document Object Model (DOM)