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How to pretty print XML from Java?

Posted by: admin November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I have a Java String that contains XML, with no line feeds or indentations. I would like to turn it into a String with nicely formatted XML. How do I do this?

String unformattedXml = "<tag><nested>hello</nested></tag>";
String formattedXml = new [UnknownClass]().format(unformattedXml);

Note: My input is a String. My output is a String.

Answers:
Transformer transformer = TransformerFactory.newInstance().newTransformer();
transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
transformer.setOutputProperty("{http://xml.apache.org/xslt}indent-amount", "2");
//initialize StreamResult with File object to save to file
StreamResult result = new StreamResult(new StringWriter());
DOMSource source = new DOMSource(doc);
transformer.transform(source, result);
String xmlString = result.getWriter().toString();
System.out.println(xmlString);

Note: Results may vary depending on the Java version. Search for workarounds specific to your platform.

Questions:
Answers:

Here’s an answer to my own question. I combined the answers from the various results to write a class that pretty prints XML.

No guarantees on how it responds with invalid XML or large documents.

package ecb.sdw.pretty;

import org.apache.xml.serialize.OutputFormat;
import org.apache.xml.serialize.XMLSerializer;
import org.w3c.dom.Document;
import org.xml.sax.InputSource;
import org.xml.sax.SAXException;

import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilder;
import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory;
import javax.xml.parsers.ParserConfigurationException;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.StringReader;
import java.io.StringWriter;
import java.io.Writer;

/**
 * Pretty-prints xml, supplied as a string.
 * <p/>
 * eg.
 * <code>
 * String formattedXml = new XmlFormatter().format("<tag><nested>hello</nested></tag>");
 * </code>
 */
public class XmlFormatter {

    public XmlFormatter() {
    }

    public String format(String unformattedXml) {
        try {
            final Document document = parseXmlFile(unformattedXml);

            OutputFormat format = new OutputFormat(document);
            format.setLineWidth(65);
            format.setIndenting(true);
            format.setIndent(2);
            Writer out = new StringWriter();
            XMLSerializer serializer = new XMLSerializer(out, format);
            serializer.serialize(document);

            return out.toString();
        } catch (IOException e) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);
        }
    }

    private Document parseXmlFile(String in) {
        try {
            DocumentBuilderFactory dbf = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance();
            DocumentBuilder db = dbf.newDocumentBuilder();
            InputSource is = new InputSource(new StringReader(in));
            return db.parse(is);
        } catch (ParserConfigurationException e) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);
        } catch (SAXException e) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);
        } catch (IOException e) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);
        }
    }

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String unformattedXml =
                "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"UTF-8\"?><QueryMessage\n" +
                        "        xmlns=\"http://www.SDMX.org/resources/SDMXML/schemas/v2_0/message\"\n" +
                        "        xmlns:query=\"http://www.SDMX.org/resources/SDMXML/schemas/v2_0/query\">\n" +
                        "    <Query>\n" +
                        "        <query:CategorySchemeWhere>\n" +
                        "   \t\t\t\t\t         <query:AgencyID>ECB\n\n\n\n</query:AgencyID>\n" +
                        "        </query:CategorySchemeWhere>\n" +
                        "    </Query>\n\n\n\n\n" +
                        "</QueryMessage>";

        System.out.println(new XmlFormatter().format(unformattedXml));
    }

}

Questions:
Answers:

a simpler solution based on this answer:

public static String prettyFormat(String input, int indent) {
    try {
        Source xmlInput = new StreamSource(new StringReader(input));
        StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter();
        StreamResult xmlOutput = new StreamResult(stringWriter);
        TransformerFactory transformerFactory = TransformerFactory.newInstance();
        transformerFactory.setAttribute("indent-number", indent);
        Transformer transformer = transformerFactory.newTransformer(); 
        transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
        transformer.transform(xmlInput, xmlOutput);
        return xmlOutput.getWriter().toString();
    } catch (Exception e) {
        throw new RuntimeException(e); // simple exception handling, please review it
    }
}

public static String prettyFormat(String input) {
    return prettyFormat(input, 2);
}

testcase:

prettyFormat("<root><child>aaa</child><child/></root>");

returns:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<root>
  <child>aaa</child>
  <child/>
</root>

Questions:
Answers:

Now it’s 2012 and Java can do more than it used to with XML, I’d like to add an alternative to my accepted answer. This has no dependencies outside of Java 6.

import org.w3c.dom.Node;
import org.w3c.dom.bootstrap.DOMImplementationRegistry;
import org.w3c.dom.ls.DOMImplementationLS;
import org.w3c.dom.ls.LSSerializer;
import org.xml.sax.InputSource;

import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory;
import java.io.StringReader;

/**
 * Pretty-prints xml, supplied as a string.
 * <p/>
 * eg.
 * <code>
 * String formattedXml = new XmlFormatter().format("<tag><nested>hello</nested></tag>");
 * </code>
 */
public class XmlFormatter {

    public String format(String xml) {

        try {
            final InputSource src = new InputSource(new StringReader(xml));
            final Node document = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance().newDocumentBuilder().parse(src).getDocumentElement();
            final Boolean keepDeclaration = Boolean.valueOf(xml.startsWith("<?xml"));

        //May need this: System.setProperty(DOMImplementationRegistry.PROPERTY,"com.sun.org.apache.xerces.internal.dom.DOMImplementationSourceImpl");


            final DOMImplementationRegistry registry = DOMImplementationRegistry.newInstance();
            final DOMImplementationLS impl = (DOMImplementationLS) registry.getDOMImplementation("LS");
            final LSSerializer writer = impl.createLSSerializer();

            writer.getDomConfig().setParameter("format-pretty-print", Boolean.TRUE); // Set this to true if the output needs to be beautified.
            writer.getDomConfig().setParameter("xml-declaration", keepDeclaration); // Set this to true if the declaration is needed to be outputted.

            return writer.writeToString(document);
        } catch (Exception e) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);
        }
    }

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String unformattedXml =
                "<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"UTF-8\"?><QueryMessage\n" +
                        "        xmlns=\"http://www.SDMX.org/resources/SDMXML/schemas/v2_0/message\"\n" +
                        "        xmlns:query=\"http://www.SDMX.org/resources/SDMXML/schemas/v2_0/query\">\n" +
                        "    <Query>\n" +
                        "        <query:CategorySchemeWhere>\n" +
                        "   \t\t\t\t\t         <query:AgencyID>ECB\n\n\n\n</query:AgencyID>\n" +
                        "        </query:CategorySchemeWhere>\n" +
                        "    </Query>\n\n\n\n\n" +
                        "</QueryMessage>";

        System.out.println(new XmlFormatter().format(unformattedXml));
    }
}

Questions:
Answers:

Just to note that top rated answer requires the use of xerces.

If you don’t want to add this external dependency then you can simply use the standard jdk libraries (which actually are built using xerces internally).

N.B. There was a bug with jdk version 1.5 see http://bugs.sun.com/bugdatabase/view_bug.do?bug_id=6296446 but it is resolved now.,

(Note if an error occurs this will return the original text)

package com.test;

import java.io.ByteArrayInputStream;
import java.io.ByteArrayOutputStream;

import javax.xml.transform.OutputKeys;
import javax.xml.transform.Source;
import javax.xml.transform.Transformer;
import javax.xml.transform.sax.SAXSource;
import javax.xml.transform.sax.SAXTransformerFactory;
import javax.xml.transform.stream.StreamResult;

import org.xml.sax.InputSource;

public class XmlTest {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        XmlTest t = new XmlTest();
        System.out.println(t.formatXml("<a><b><c/><d>text D</d><e value='0'/></b></a>"));
    }

    public String formatXml(String xml){
        try{
            Transformer serializer= SAXTransformerFactory.newInstance().newTransformer();
            serializer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
            //serializer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.OMIT_XML_DECLARATION, "yes");
            serializer.setOutputProperty("{http://xml.apache.org/xslt}indent-amount", "2");
            //serializer.setOutputProperty("{http://xml.customer.org/xslt}indent-amount", "2");
            Source xmlSource=new SAXSource(new InputSource(new ByteArrayInputStream(xml.getBytes())));
            StreamResult res =  new StreamResult(new ByteArrayOutputStream());            
            serializer.transform(xmlSource, res);
            return new String(((ByteArrayOutputStream)res.getOutputStream()).toByteArray());
        }catch(Exception e){
            //TODO log error
            return xml;
        }
    }

}

Questions:
Answers:

I’ve pretty printed in the past using the org.dom4j.io.OutputFormat.createPrettyPrint() method

public String prettyPrint(final String xml){  

    if (StringUtils.isBlank(xml)) {
        throw new RuntimeException("xml was null or blank in prettyPrint()");
    }

    final StringWriter sw;

    try {
        final OutputFormat format = OutputFormat.createPrettyPrint();
        final org.dom4j.Document document = DocumentHelper.parseText(xml);
        sw = new StringWriter();
        final XMLWriter writer = new XMLWriter(sw, format);
        writer.write(document);
    }
    catch (Exception e) {
        throw new RuntimeException("Error pretty printing xml:\n" + xml, e);
    }
    return sw.toString();
}

Questions:
Answers:

Here’s a way of doing it using dom4j:

Imports:

import org.dom4j.Document;  
import org.dom4j.DocumentHelper;  
import org.dom4j.io.OutputFormat;  
import org.dom4j.io.XMLWriter;

Code:

String xml = "<your xml='here'/>";  
Document doc = DocumentHelper.parseText(xml);  
StringWriter sw = new StringWriter();  
OutputFormat format = OutputFormat.createPrettyPrint();  
XMLWriter xw = new XMLWriter(sw, format);  
xw.write(doc);  
String result = sw.toString();

Questions:
Answers:

Since you are starting with a String, you need to covert to a DOM object (e.g. Node) before you can use the Transformer. However, if you know your XML string is valid, and you don’t want to incur the memory overhead of parsing a string into a DOM, then running a transform over the DOM to get a string back – you could just do some old fashioned character by character parsing. Insert a newline and spaces after every </...> characters, keep and indent counter (to determine the number of spaces) that you increment for every <...> and decrement for every </...> you see.

Disclaimer – I did a cut/paste/text edit of the functions below, so they may not compile as is.

public static final Element createDOM(String strXML) 
    throws ParserConfigurationException, SAXException, IOException {

    DocumentBuilderFactory dbf = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance();
    dbf.setValidating(true);
    DocumentBuilder db = dbf.newDocumentBuilder();
    InputSource sourceXML = new InputSource(new StringReader(strXML))
    Document xmlDoc = db.parse(sourceXML);
    Element e = xmlDoc.getDocumentElement();
    e.normalize();
    return e;
}

public static final void prettyPrint(Node xml, OutputStream out)
    throws TransformerConfigurationException, TransformerFactoryConfigurationError, TransformerException {
    Transformer tf = TransformerFactory.newInstance().newTransformer();
    tf.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.OMIT_XML_DECLARATION, "yes");
    tf.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.ENCODING, "UTF-8");
    tf.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
    tf.transform(new DOMSource(xml), new StreamResult(out));
}

Questions:
Answers:

If using a 3rd party XML library is ok, you can get away with something significantly simpler than what the currently highest-voted answers suggest.

It was stated that both input and output should be Strings, so here’s a utility method that does just that, implemented with the XOM library:

import nu.xom.*;
import java.io.*;

[...]

public static String format(String xml) throws ParsingException, IOException {
    ByteArrayOutputStream out = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
    Serializer serializer = new Serializer(out);
    serializer.setIndent(4);  // or whatever you like
    serializer.write(new Builder().build(xml, ""));
    return out.toString("UTF-8");
}

I tested that it works, and the results do not depend on your JRE version or anything like that. To see how to customise the output format to your liking, take a look at the Serializer API.

This actually came out longer than I thought – some extra lines were needed because Serializer wants an OutputStream to write to. But note that there’s very little code for actual XML twiddling here.

(This answer is part of my evaluation of XOM, which was suggested as one option in my question about the best Java XML library to replace dom4j. For the record, with dom4j you could achieve this with similar ease using XMLWriter and OutputFormat. Edit: …as demonstrated in mlo55’s answer.)

Questions:
Answers:

Hmmm… faced something like this and it is a known bug …
just add this OutputProperty ..

transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputPropertiesFactory.S_KEY_INDENT_AMOUNT, "8");

Hope this helps …

Questions:
Answers:

Kevin Hakanson said:
“However, if you know your XML string is valid, and you don’t want to incur the memory overhead of parsing a string into a DOM, then running a transform over the DOM to get a string back – you could just do some old fashioned character by character parsing. Insert a newline and spaces after every characters, keep and indent counter (to determine the number of spaces) that you increment for every <…> and decrement for every you see.”

Agreed. Such an approach is much faster and has far fewer dependencies.

Example solution:

/**
 * XML utils, including formatting.
 */
public class XmlUtils
{
  private static XmlFormatter formatter = new XmlFormatter(2, 80);

  public static String formatXml(String s)
  {
    return formatter.format(s, 0);
  }

  public static String formatXml(String s, int initialIndent)
  {
    return formatter.format(s, initialIndent);
  }

  private static class XmlFormatter
  {
    private int indentNumChars;
    private int lineLength;
    private boolean singleLine;

    public XmlFormatter(int indentNumChars, int lineLength)
    {
      this.indentNumChars = indentNumChars;
      this.lineLength = lineLength;
    }

    public synchronized String format(String s, int initialIndent)
    {
      int indent = initialIndent;
      StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
      for (int i = 0; i < s.length(); i++)
      {
        char currentChar = s.charAt(i);
        if (currentChar == '<')
        {
          char nextChar = s.charAt(i + 1);
          if (nextChar == '/')
            indent -= indentNumChars;
          if (!singleLine)   // Don't indent before closing element if we're creating opening and closing elements on a single line.
            sb.append(buildWhitespace(indent));
          if (nextChar != '?' && nextChar != '!' && nextChar != '/')
            indent += indentNumChars;
          singleLine = false;  // Reset flag.
        }
        sb.append(currentChar);
        if (currentChar == '>')
        {
          if (s.charAt(i - 1) == '/')
          {
            indent -= indentNumChars;
            sb.append("\n");
          }
          else
          {
            int nextStartElementPos = s.indexOf('<', i);
            if (nextStartElementPos > i + 1)
            {
              String textBetweenElements = s.substring(i + 1, nextStartElementPos);

              // If the space between elements is solely newlines, let them through to preserve additional newlines in source document.
              if (textBetweenElements.replaceAll("\n", "").length() == 0)
              {
                sb.append(textBetweenElements + "\n");
              }
              // Put tags and text on a single line if the text is short.
              else if (textBetweenElements.length() <= lineLength * 0.5)
              {
                sb.append(textBetweenElements);
                singleLine = true;
              }
              // For larger amounts of text, wrap lines to a maximum line length.
              else
              {
                sb.append("\n" + lineWrap(textBetweenElements, lineLength, indent, null) + "\n");
              }
              i = nextStartElementPos - 1;
            }
            else
            {
              sb.append("\n");
            }
          }
        }
      }
      return sb.toString();
    }
  }

  private static String buildWhitespace(int numChars)
  {
    StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
    for (int i = 0; i < numChars; i++)
      sb.append(" ");
    return sb.toString();
  }

  /**
   * Wraps the supplied text to the specified line length.
   * @lineLength the maximum length of each line in the returned string (not including indent if specified).
   * @indent optional number of whitespace characters to prepend to each line before the text.
   * @linePrefix optional string to append to the indent (before the text).
   * @returns the supplied text wrapped so that no line exceeds the specified line length + indent, optionally with
   * indent and prefix applied to each line.
   */
  private static String lineWrap(String s, int lineLength, Integer indent, String linePrefix)
  {
    if (s == null)
      return null;

    StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
    int lineStartPos = 0;
    int lineEndPos;
    boolean firstLine = true;
    while(lineStartPos < s.length())
    {
      if (!firstLine)
        sb.append("\n");
      else
        firstLine = false;

      if (lineStartPos + lineLength > s.length())
        lineEndPos = s.length() - 1;
      else
      {
        lineEndPos = lineStartPos + lineLength - 1;
        while (lineEndPos > lineStartPos && (s.charAt(lineEndPos) != ' ' && s.charAt(lineEndPos) != '\t'))
          lineEndPos--;
      }
      sb.append(buildWhitespace(indent));
      if (linePrefix != null)
        sb.append(linePrefix);

      sb.append(s.substring(lineStartPos, lineEndPos + 1));
      lineStartPos = lineEndPos + 1;
    }
    return sb.toString();
  }

  // other utils removed for brevity
}

Questions:
Answers:

Using scala:

import xml._
val xml = XML.loadString("<tag><nested>hello</nested></tag>")
val formatted = new PrettyPrinter(150, 2).format(xml)
println(formatted)

You can do this in Java too, if you depend on the scala-library.jar. It looks like this:

import scala.xml.*;

public class FormatXML {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String unformattedXml = "<tag><nested>hello</nested></tag>";
        PrettyPrinter pp = new PrettyPrinter(150, 3);
        String formatted = pp.format(XML.loadString(unformattedXml), TopScope$.MODULE$);
        System.out.println(formatted);
    }
}

The PrettyPrinter object is constructed with two ints, the first being max line length and the second being the indentation step.

Questions:
Answers:

Regarding comment that “you must first build a DOM tree”: No, you need not and should not do that.

Instead, create a StreamSource (new StreamSource(new StringReader(str)), and feed that to the identity transformer mentioned. That’ll use SAX parser, and result will be much faster.
Building an intermediate tree is pure overhead for this case.
Otherwise the top-ranked answer is good.

Questions:
Answers:

Just for future reference, here’s a solution that worked for me (thanks to a comment that @George Hawkins posted in one of the answers):

DOMImplementationRegistry registry = DOMImplementationRegistry.newInstance();
DOMImplementationLS impl = (DOMImplementationLS) registry.getDOMImplementation("LS");
LSSerializer writer = impl.createLSSerializer();
writer.getDomConfig().setParameter("format-pretty-print", Boolean.TRUE);
LSOutput output = impl.createLSOutput();
ByteArrayOutputStream out = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
output.setByteStream(out);
writer.write(document, output);
String xmlStr = new String(out.toByteArray());

Questions:
Answers:

slightly improved version from milosmns

public static String getPrettyXml(String xml) {
    if (xml == null || xml.trim().length() == 0) return "";

    int stack = 0;
    StringBuilder pretty = new StringBuilder();
    String[] rows = xml.trim().replaceAll(">", ">\n").replaceAll("<", "\n<").split("\n");

    for (int i = 0; i < rows.length; i++) {
        if (rows[i] == null || rows[i].trim().length() == 0) continue;

        String row = rows[i].trim();
        if (row.startsWith("<?")) {
            pretty.append(row + "\n");
        } else if (row.startsWith("</")) {
            String indent = repeatString(--stack);
            pretty.append(indent + row + "\n");
        } else if (row.startsWith("<") && row.endsWith("/>") == false) {
            String indent = repeatString(stack++);
            pretty.append(indent + row + "\n");
            if (row.endsWith("]]>")) stack--;
        } else {
            String indent = repeatString(stack);
            pretty.append(indent + row + "\n");
        }
    }

    return pretty.toString().trim();
}

private static String repeatString(int stack) {
     StringBuilder indent = new StringBuilder();
     for (int i = 0; i < stack; i++) {
        indent.append(" ");
     }
     return indent.toString();
} 

Questions:
Answers:

If you’re sure that you have a valid XML, this one is simple, and avoids XML DOM trees. Maybe has some bugs, do comment if you see anything

public String prettyPrint(String xml) {
            if (xml == null || xml.trim().length() == 0) return "";

            int stack = 0;
            StringBuilder pretty = new StringBuilder();
            String[] rows = xml.trim().replaceAll(">", ">\n").replaceAll("<", "\n<").split("\n");

            for (int i = 0; i < rows.length; i++) {
                    if (rows[i] == null || rows[i].trim().length() == 0) continue;

                    String row = rows[i].trim();
                    if (row.startsWith("<?")) {
                            // xml version tag
                            pretty.append(row + "\n");
                    } else if (row.startsWith("</")) {
                            // closing tag
                            String indent = repeatString("    ", --stack);
                            pretty.append(indent + row + "\n");
                    } else if (row.startsWith("<")) {
                            // starting tag
                            String indent = repeatString("    ", stack++);
                            pretty.append(indent + row + "\n");
                    } else {
                            // tag data
                            String indent = repeatString("    ", stack);
                            pretty.append(indent + row + "\n");
                    }
            }

            return pretty.toString().trim();
    }

Questions:
Answers:

All above solutions didn’t work for me, then I found this http://myshittycode.com/2014/02/10/java-properly-indenting-xml-string/

The clue is remove whitespaces with XPath

    String xml = "<root>" +
             "\n   " +
             "\n<name>Coco Puff</name>" +
             "\n        <total>10</total>    </root>";

try {
    Document document = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance()
            .newDocumentBuilder()
            .parse(new InputSource(new ByteArrayInputStream(xml.getBytes("utf-8"))));

    XPath xPath = XPathFactory.newInstance().newXPath();
    NodeList nodeList = (NodeList) xPath.evaluate("//text()[normalize-space()='']",
                                                  document,
                                                  XPathConstants.NODESET);

    for (int i = 0; i < nodeList.getLength(); ++i) {
        Node node = nodeList.item(i);
        node.getParentNode().removeChild(node);
    }

    Transformer transformer = TransformerFactory.newInstance().newTransformer();
    transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.ENCODING, "UTF-8");
    transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.OMIT_XML_DECLARATION, "yes");
    transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
    transformer.setOutputProperty("{http://xml.apache.org/xslt}indent-amount", "4");

    StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter();
    StreamResult streamResult = new StreamResult(stringWriter);

    transformer.transform(new DOMSource(document), streamResult);

    System.out.println(stringWriter.toString());
}
catch (Exception e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
}

Questions:
Answers:

Just another solution which works for us

import java.io.StringWriter;
import org.dom4j.DocumentHelper;
import org.dom4j.io.OutputFormat;
import org.dom4j.io.XMLWriter;

**
 * Pretty Print XML String
 * 
 * @param inputXmlString
 * @return
 */
public static String prettyPrintXml(String xml) {

    final StringWriter sw;

    try {
        final OutputFormat format = OutputFormat.createPrettyPrint();
        final org.dom4j.Document document = DocumentHelper.parseText(xml);
        sw = new StringWriter();
        final XMLWriter writer = new XMLWriter(sw, format);
        writer.write(document);
    }
    catch (Exception e) {
        throw new RuntimeException("Error pretty printing xml:\n" + xml, e);
    }
    return sw.toString();
}

Questions:
Answers:

As an alternative to the answers from max, codeskraps, David Easley and milosmns, have a look at my lightweight, high-performance pretty-printer library: xml-formatter

// construct lightweight, threadsafe, instance
PrettyPrinter prettyPrinter = PrettyPrinterBuilder.newPrettyPrinter().build();

StringBuilder buffer = new StringBuilder();
String xml = ..; // also works with char[] or Reader

if(prettyPrinter.process(xml, buffer)) {
     // valid XML, print buffer
} else {
     // invalid XML, print xml
}

Sometimes, like when running mocked SOAP services directly from file, it is good to have a pretty-printer which also handles already pretty-printed XML:

PrettyPrinter prettyPrinter = PrettyPrinterBuilder.newPrettyPrinter().ignoreWhitespace().build();

As some have commented, pretty-printing is just a way of presenting XML in a more human-readable form – whitespace strictly does not belong in your XML data.

The library is intended for pretty-printing for logging purposes, and also includes functions for filtering (subtree removal / anonymization) and pretty-printing of XML in CDATA and Text nodes.

Questions:
Answers:

This code below working perfectly

import javax.xml.transform.OutputKeys;
import javax.xml.transform.Source;
import javax.xml.transform.Transformer;
import javax.xml.transform.TransformerFactory;
import javax.xml.transform.stream.StreamResult;
import javax.xml.transform.stream.StreamSource;

String formattedXml1 = prettyFormat("<root><child>aaa</child><child/></root>");

public static String prettyFormat(String input) {
    return prettyFormat(input, "2");
}

public static String prettyFormat(String input, String indent) {
    Source xmlInput = new StreamSource(new StringReader(input));
    StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter();
    try {
        TransformerFactory transformerFactory = TransformerFactory.newInstance();
        Transformer transformer = transformerFactory.newTransformer();
        transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
        transformer.setOutputProperty("{http://xml.apache.org/xslt}indent-amount", indent);
        transformer.transform(xmlInput, new StreamResult(stringWriter));

        String pretty = stringWriter.toString();
        pretty = pretty.replace("\r\n", "\n");
        return pretty;              
    } catch (Exception e) {
        throw new RuntimeException(e);
    }
}

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Answers:

I had the same problem and I’m having great success with JTidy (http://jtidy.sourceforge.net/index.html)

Example:

Tidy t = new Tidy();
t.setIndentContent(true);
Document d = t.parseDOM(
    new ByteArrayInputStream("HTML goes here", null);

OutputStream out = new ByteArrayOutputStream();
t.pprint(d, out);
String html = out.toString();

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Using jdom2 : http://www.jdom.org/

import java.io.StringReader;
import org.jdom2.input.SAXBuilder;
import org.jdom2.output.Format;
import org.jdom2.output.XMLOutputter;

String prettyXml = new XMLOutputter(Format.getPrettyFormat()).
                         outputString(new SAXBuilder().build(new StringReader(uglyXml)));

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there is a very nice command line xml utility called xmlstarlet(http://xmlstar.sourceforge.net/) that can do a lot of things which a lot of people use.

Your could execute this program programatically using Runtime.exec and then readin the formatted output file. It has more options and better error reporting than a few lines of Java code can provide.

download xmlstarlet : http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=66612&package_id=64589

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I have found that in Java 1.6.0_32 the normal method to pretty print an XML string (using a Transformer with a null or identity xslt) does not behave as I would like if tags are merely separated by whitespace, as opposed to having no separating text. I tried using <xsl:strip-space elements="*"/> in my template to no avail. The simplest solution I found was to strip the space the way I wanted using a SAXSource and XML filter. Since my solution was for logging I also extended this to work with incomplete XML fragments. Note the normal method seems to work fine if you use a DOMSource but I did not want to use this because of the incompleteness and memory overhead.

public static class WhitespaceIgnoreFilter extends XMLFilterImpl
{

    @Override
    public void ignorableWhitespace(char[] arg0,
                                    int arg1,
                                    int arg2) throws SAXException
    {
        //Ignore it then...
    }

    @Override
    public void characters( char[] ch,
                            int start,
                            int length) throws SAXException
    {
        if (!new String(ch, start, length).trim().equals("")) 
               super.characters(ch, start, length); 
    }
}

public static String prettyXML(String logMsg, boolean allowBadlyFormedFragments) throws SAXException, IOException, TransformerException
    {
        TransformerFactory transFactory = TransformerFactory.newInstance();
        transFactory.setAttribute("indent-number", new Integer(2));
        Transformer transformer = transFactory.newTransformer();
        transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
        transformer.setOutputProperty("{http://xml.apache.org/xslt}indent-amount", "4");
        StringWriter out = new StringWriter();
        XMLReader masterParser = SAXHelper.getSAXParser(true);
        XMLFilter parser = new WhitespaceIgnoreFilter();
        parser.setParent(masterParser);

        if(allowBadlyFormedFragments)
        {
            transformer.setErrorListener(new ErrorListener()
            {
                @Override
                public void warning(TransformerException exception) throws TransformerException
                {
                }

                @Override
                public void fatalError(TransformerException exception) throws TransformerException
                {
                }

                @Override
                public void error(TransformerException exception) throws TransformerException
                {
                }
            });
        }

        try
        {
            transformer.transform(new SAXSource(parser, new InputSource(new StringReader(logMsg))), new StreamResult(out));
        }
        catch (TransformerException e)
        {
            if(e.getCause() != null && e.getCause() instanceof SAXParseException)
            {
                if(!allowBadlyFormedFragments || !"XML document structures must start and end within the same entity.".equals(e.getCause().getMessage()))
                {
                    throw e;
                }
            }
            else
            {
                throw e;
            }
        }
        out.flush();
        return out.toString();
    }

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The solutions I have found here for Java 1.6+ do not reformat the code if it is already formatted. The one that worked for me (and re-formatted already formatted code) was the following.

import org.apache.xml.security.c14n.CanonicalizationException;
import org.apache.xml.security.c14n.Canonicalizer;
import org.apache.xml.security.c14n.InvalidCanonicalizerException;
import org.w3c.dom.Element;
import org.w3c.dom.bootstrap.DOMImplementationRegistry;
import org.w3c.dom.ls.DOMImplementationLS;
import org.w3c.dom.ls.LSSerializer;
import org.xml.sax.InputSource;
import org.xml.sax.SAXException;

import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory;
import javax.xml.parsers.ParserConfigurationException;
import javax.xml.transform.TransformerException;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.StringReader;

public class XmlUtils {
    public static String toCanonicalXml(String xml) throws InvalidCanonicalizerException, ParserConfigurationException, SAXException, CanonicalizationException, IOException {
        Canonicalizer canon = Canonicalizer.getInstance(Canonicalizer.ALGO_ID_C14N_OMIT_COMMENTS);
        byte canonXmlBytes[] = canon.canonicalize(xml.getBytes());
        return new String(canonXmlBytes);
    }

    public static String prettyFormat(String input) throws TransformerException, ParserConfigurationException, IOException, SAXException, InstantiationException, IllegalAccessException, ClassNotFoundException {
        InputSource src = new InputSource(new StringReader(input));
        Element document = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance().newDocumentBuilder().parse(src).getDocumentElement();
        Boolean keepDeclaration = input.startsWith("<?xml");
        DOMImplementationRegistry registry = DOMImplementationRegistry.newInstance();
        DOMImplementationLS impl = (DOMImplementationLS) registry.getDOMImplementation("LS");
        LSSerializer writer = impl.createLSSerializer();
        writer.getDomConfig().setParameter("format-pretty-print", Boolean.TRUE);
        writer.getDomConfig().setParameter("xml-declaration", keepDeclaration);
        return writer.writeToString(document);
    }
}

It is a good tool to use in your unit tests for full-string xml comparison.

private void assertXMLEqual(String expected, String actual) throws ParserConfigurationException, IOException, SAXException, CanonicalizationException, InvalidCanonicalizerException, TransformerException, IllegalAccessException, ClassNotFoundException, InstantiationException {
    String canonicalExpected = prettyFormat(toCanonicalXml(expected));
    String canonicalActual = prettyFormat(toCanonicalXml(actual));
    assertEquals(canonicalExpected, canonicalActual);
}

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For those searching for a quick and dirty solution – which doesn’t need the XML to be 100% valid. e.g. in case of REST / SOAP logging (you never know what the others send ;-))

I found and advanced a code snipped I found online which I think is still missing here as a valid possible approach:

public static String prettyPrintXMLAsString(String xmlString) {
    /* Remove new lines */
    final String LINE_BREAK = "\n";
    xmlString = xmlString.replaceAll(LINE_BREAK, "");
    StringBuffer prettyPrintXml = new StringBuffer();
    /* Group the xml tags */
    Pattern pattern = Pattern.compile("(<[^/][^>]+>)?([^<]*)(</[^>]+>)?(<[^/][^>]+/>)?");
    Matcher matcher = pattern.matcher(xmlString);
    int tabCount = 0;
    while (matcher.find()) {
        String str1 = (null == matcher.group(1) || "null".equals(matcher.group())) ? "" : matcher.group(1);
        String str2 = (null == matcher.group(2) || "null".equals(matcher.group())) ? "" : matcher.group(2);
        String str3 = (null == matcher.group(3) || "null".equals(matcher.group())) ? "" : matcher.group(3);
        String str4 = (null == matcher.group(4) || "null".equals(matcher.group())) ? "" : matcher.group(4);

        if (matcher.group() != null && !matcher.group().trim().equals("")) {
            printTabs(tabCount, prettyPrintXml);
            if (!str1.equals("") && str3.equals("")) {
                ++tabCount;
            }
            if (str1.equals("") && !str3.equals("")) {
                --tabCount;
                prettyPrintXml.deleteCharAt(prettyPrintXml.length() - 1);
            }

            prettyPrintXml.append(str1);
            prettyPrintXml.append(str2);
            prettyPrintXml.append(str3);
            if (!str4.equals("")) {
                prettyPrintXml.append(LINE_BREAK);
                printTabs(tabCount, prettyPrintXml);
                prettyPrintXml.append(str4);
            }
            prettyPrintXml.append(LINE_BREAK);
        }
    }
    return prettyPrintXml.toString();
}

private static void printTabs(int count, StringBuffer stringBuffer) {
    for (int i = 0; i < count; i++) {
        stringBuffer.append("\t");
    }
}

public static void main(String[] args) {
    String x = new String(
            "<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap=\"http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/\"><soap:Body><soap:Fault><faultcode>soap:Client</faultcode><faultstring>INVALID_MESSAGE</faultstring><detail><ns3:XcbSoapFault xmlns=\"\" xmlns:ns3=\"http://www.someapp.eu/xcb/types/xcb/v1\"><CauseCode>20007</CauseCode><CauseText>INVALID_MESSAGE</CauseText><DebugInfo>Problems creating SAAJ object model</DebugInfo></ns3:XcbSoapFault></detail></soap:Fault></soap:Body></soap:Envelope>");
    System.out.println(prettyPrintXMLAsString(x));
}

here is the output:

<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">
  <soap:Body>
    <soap:Fault>
        <faultcode>soap:Client</faultcode>
        <faultstring>INVALID_MESSAGE</faultstring>
        <detail>
            <ns3:XcbSoapFault xmlns="" xmlns:ns3="http://www.someapp.eu/xcb/types/xcb/v1">
                <CauseCode>20007</CauseCode>
                <CauseText>INVALID_MESSAGE</CauseText>
                <DebugInfo>Problems creating SAAJ object model</DebugInfo>
            </ns3:XcbSoapFault>
        </detail>
    </soap:Fault>
  </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

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I saw one answer using Scala, so here is another one in Groovy, just in case someone finds it interesting. The default indentation is 2 steps, XmlNodePrinter constructor can be passed another value as well.

def xml = "<tag><nested>hello</nested></tag>"
def stringWriter = new StringWriter()
def node = new XmlParser().parseText(xml);
new XmlNodePrinter(new PrintWriter(stringWriter)).print(node)
println stringWriter.toString()

Usage from Java if groovy jar is in classpath

  String xml = "<tag><nested>hello</nested></tag>";
  StringWriter stringWriter = new StringWriter();
  Node node = new XmlParser().parseText(xml);
  new XmlNodePrinter(new PrintWriter(stringWriter)).print(node);
  System.out.println(stringWriter.toString());

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In case you do not need indentation that much but a few line breaks, it could be sufficient to simply regex…

String leastPrettifiedXml = uglyXml.replaceAll("><", ">\n<");

The code is nice, not the result because of missing indentation.


(For solutions with indentation, see other answers.)

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Try this:

 try
                    {
                        TransformerFactory transFactory = TransformerFactory.newInstance();
                        Transformer transformer = null;
                        transformer = transFactory.newTransformer();
                        StringWriter buffer = new StringWriter();
                        transformer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.OMIT_XML_DECLARATION, "yes");
                        transformer.transform(new DOMSource(element),
                                  new StreamResult(buffer)); 
                        String str = buffer.toString();
                        System.out.println("XML INSIDE IS #########################################"+str);
                        return element;
                    }
                    catch (TransformerConfigurationException e)
                    {
                        e.printStackTrace();
                    }
                    catch (TransformerException e)
                    {
                        e.printStackTrace();
                    }