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How to : minifying JSON or XML data

March 2021

One of the common problems encountered when serializing .NET objects to JSON or XML is that the JSON/XML ends up containing a lot of unwanted properties and values. To solve the issue of unwanted JSON/XML, xsd2code has a range of built-in options to fine-tune what gets written from a serialized object.

Step-by-step guide

For XML and/or JSON

  1. In the Serialization section, activate the option ShouldSerialize (IgnoreEmtyCollection, IgnoreEmptyComplexType, IgnoreEnumType, IgnoreNullable, IgnoreSimpleType, IgnoreEmtytring to true) the individual effect of theses settings can be found in here.
  2. In the JSon Attribute section, enable the option (DefaultValueHandling=Ignore, NullValueHandling=Ignore)

Detailed instructions

  1. The ShouldSerialize option allows to generate a method named ShouldSerialize [PropertyName] depending on the type. This method is invoked by serializing to each of the inspected properties. If a string type is null or empty the method will return false. Similarly if a numeric type is at its default value, it will be ignored. For a collection with no element, it will be ignored. For a null type, if it has no value, it will be ignored.
Image showing the different ShouldSerialize options and it's effects

Here is a summary table of how the ShouldSerialize [PropertyName] methods will inform the serializer to ignore the property :

Type Ignored if
Collection is null or empty
ComplexType is null
string is null or empty
int, float, double if value is equal to default type valueand the value has not been explicitly assigned
Nullable has no value
Enum if value is equal to default type valueand the value has not been explicitly assigned.

Sample of class with SouldSerialize methods

public partial class Product : EntityBase<Product>
{
    #region Private fields
    private bool _shouldSerializeqty;
    [EditorBrowsable(EditorBrowsableState.Never)]
    private string _sKU;
    [EditorBrowsable(EditorBrowsableState.Never)]
    private string _name;
    [EditorBrowsable(EditorBrowsableState.Never)]
    private int _qty;
    #endregion
 
    [XmlElement(Form = System.Xml.Schema.XmlSchemaForm.Unqualified)]
    [Newtonsoft.Json.JsonPropertyAttribute("SKU")]
    public string SKU
    {
        get
        {
            return _sKU;
        }
        set
        {
            if ((_sKU == value))
            {
                return;
            }
            if (((_sKU == null)
                        || (_sKU.Equals(value!= true)))
            {
                _sKU = value;
                OnPropertyChanged("SKU");
            }
        }
    }
 
    [XmlElement(Form = System.Xml.Schema.XmlSchemaForm.Unqualified)]
    [Newtonsoft.Json.JsonPropertyAttribute("Name")]
    public string Name
    {
        get
        {
            return _name;
        }
        set
        {
            if ((_name == value))
            {
                return;
            }
            if (((_name == null)
                        || (_name.Equals(value!= true)))
            {
                _name = value;
                OnPropertyChanged("Name");
            }
        }
    }
 
    [XmlElement(Form = System.Xml.Schema.XmlSchemaForm.Unqualified)]
    [Newtonsoft.Json.JsonPropertyAttribute("qty")]
    public int qty
    {
        get
        {
            return _qty;
        }
        set
        {
            if ((_qty.Equals(value!= true))
            {
                _qty = value;
                OnPropertyChanged("qty");
            }
            _shouldSerializeqty = true;
        }
    }
 
    /// <summary>
    /// Test whether qty should be serialized
    /// </summary>
    public virtual bool ShouldSerializeqty()
    {
        if (_shouldSerializeqty)
        {
            return true;
        }
        return (_qty != default(int));
    }
 
    /// <summary>
    /// Test whether SKU should be serialized
    /// </summary>
    public virtual bool ShouldSerializeSKU()
    {
        return !string.IsNullOrEmpty(SKU);
    }
 
    /// <summary>
    /// Test whether Name should be serialized
    /// </summary>
    public virtual bool ShouldSerializeName()
    {
        return !string.IsNullOrEmpty(Name);
    }
}

You've minified your data ! The environment thanks you, if the size of your files is important consider the MessagePack format also handled by Xsd2code++ it is the smallest of all formats in our tool.

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