I have a set of XML documents that have a rather long list of tags and corresponding values that I am interested in. For simplicity, I decided to create a class that would let me get an object with all the relevant attributes parsed from the XML file. Having little experience with OOP in Python, I guess I might have made mistakes or suboptimal choices in terms of class design. Probably, my decision to have a separate utility class for XMLParser was a bad idea, but at least I couldn't come up with a better one.

To sum up, I would appreciate any type of criticism, advice or suggestions with regard to how the classes are designed, as well as code quality in general. Even though it seems that everything works as I expected, I feel like it's a good opportunity to learn new approaches, concepts and level-up my understanding of OOP in Python. Thanks in advance!

from xml.dom import minidom

class XMLDoc:
    def __init__(self, path_to_xml):
        self.tree = minidom.parse(path_to_xml)
        self.parser = XMLParser(self.tree)
        self.goods = self._make_goods_list()
        self.language = self.parser._get('language')
        self.service_type = self.parser._get('serviceType')
        self.trader_declaration_number = self.parser._get('traderDeclarationNumber')
        self.trader_reference = self.parser._get('traderReference')
        self.clearance_location = self.parser._get('clearanceLocation')
        self.declaration_time = self.parser._get('declarationTime')
        self.declaration_type = self.parser._get('declarationType')
        self.correction_code = self.parser._get('correctionCode')
        self.customs_office_number = self.parser._get('customsOfficeNumber')
        self.dispatch_country = self.parser._get('dispatchCountry')
        self.transport_in_container = self.parser._get("transportInContainer")
        self.previous_document = PreviousDocument(self.tree, self.parser)
        self.consignor = Consignor(self.tree,self.parser)
        self.consignee = Consignee(self.tree, self.parser)
        self.importer = Importer(self.tree, self.parser)
        self.transport_means = Transport(self.tree,self.parser)
        self.business = BusinessData(self.tree, self.parser)

    def __repr__(self):
        return f"XMLDoc {self.trader_reference}"

    def _make_goods_list(self):
        goods_list = []
        all_goods = self.parser.get_goods()
        for g in all_goods:
            fields_list = self.parser.filter_nested_items(g)
            goods_item = GoodsItem(fields_list,self.parser)
        return goods_list

class Consignor:
    def __init__(self, tree, parser):
        self.tree = tree
        self.parser = parser
        self.name = self.parser._get("consignor", "name")
        self.street = self.parser._get("consignor", "street")
        self.postal_code = self.parser._get("consignor", "postalCode")
        self.city = self.parser._get("consignor", "city")
        self.country = self.parser._get("consignor", "country")

    def __repr__(self):
        return f"Consignor object: {self.name}"

class Importer:
    def __init__(self, tree, parser):
        self.tree = tree
        self.parser = parser
        self.name = self.parser._get("importer", "name")
        self.street = self.parser._get("importer", "street")
        self.postal_code = self.parser._get("importer", "postalCode")
        self.city = self.parser._get("importer", "city")
        self.country = self.parser._get("importer", "country")
        self.trader_id = self.parser._get("importer", "traderIdentificationNumber")
        self.reference = self.parser._get("importer", "importerReference")

    def __repr__(self):
        return f"Importer object: {self.name}"

class Consignee:
    def __init__(self, tree, parser):
        self.tree = tree
        self.parser = parser
        self.name = self.parser._get("consignee", "name")
        self.street = self.parser._get("consignee", "street")
        self.postal_code = self.parser._get("consignee", 
        self.city = self.parser._get("consignee", "city")
        self.country = self.parser._get("consignee", "country")
        self.trader_id = self.parser._get("consignee", 

    def __repr__(self):
        return f"Consignee object: {self.name}"

class Transport:
    def __init__(self, tree, parser):
        self.tree = tree
        self.parser = parser
        self.mode = self.parser._get("transportMeans", 
        self.transportation_type = self.parser._get("transportMeans", 
        self.transportation_country = self.parser._get("transportMeans", 
        self.transportation_number = self.parser._get("transportMeans", 

class GoodsItem:
    def __init__(self, fields_list, parser):
        self.fields_list = fields_list
        self.parser = parser
        self.trader_item_id = self._get("traderItemID")
        self.description = self._get("description")
        self.commodity_code = self._get("commodityCode")        
        self.gross_mass = self._get("grossMass")
        self.net_mass = self._get("netMass")
        self.permit_obligation = self._get("permitObligation")        
        self.non_customs_law_obligation = self._get("nonCustomsLawObligation")
        self.origin_country = self._get("origin", "originCountry")
        self.origin_preference = self._get("origin", "preference")
        self.package_type = self._get("packaging", "packagingType")
        self.package_quantity = self._get("packaging", "quantity")
        self.package_reference_number = self._get("packaging", 
        # self.document_type = self._get("producedDocument","documentType")
        # self.document_reference_number = self._get("producedDocument","packagingReferenceNumber")
        # self.document_issue_date = self._get("producedDocument","issueDate")
        self.vat_value = self._get("valuation", "VATValue")
        self.vat_code = self._get("valuation", "VATCode")

    def _get_inner_field(self, external, field):
        matching_tags = self.parser.search_dom_list(self.fields_list, external)
        filtered_matching_tags = self.parser.filter_nested_items(matching_tags)
        inner_tag = self.parser.search_dom_list(filtered_matching_tags, field)
        return inner_tag

    def _get(self, field_name, inner_field=None):
        if not inner_field:
            return self.parser.search_dom_list(self.fields_list, 
            return self._get_inner_field(field_name, 

class BusinessData:
    def __init__(self,tree,parser):
        self.tree = tree
        self.parser = parser
        self.incoterms = self.parser._get("business", "incoterms")
        self.customs_account = self.parser._get("business", 
        self.vat_account = self.parser._get("business", "VATAccount")
        self.vat_number = self.parser._get("business", "VATNumber")
        self.vat_suffix = self.parser._get("business", "VATSuffix")
        self.invoice_currency_type = self.parser._get("business", 

class PreviousDocument:
    def __init__(self, tree, parser):
        self.tree = tree
        self.parser = parser
        self.doctype = self.parser._get("previousDocument", 
        self.reference = self.parser._get("previousDocument", 

class XMLParser:
    def __init__(self, tree):
        self.tree = tree

    def get_nested_tag(self, parent_tag, element):
        reference = [item.firstChild.nodeValue for item in
                     if item.nodeType != 3 and item.tagName == element]
            return reference[0]

        except IndexError:
            return None

    def get_single_tag(self, element):
        reference = self.tree.getElementsByTagName(element)[0].firstChild.nodeValue
        return reference

    def get_goods(self):
        goods = self.tree.getElementsByTagName('goodsItem')
        return goods

    def search_dom_list(self, dom_list, name):
        dom_list = self.filter_items(dom_list)
        for item in dom_list:
            if item.tagName == name:
                return item

    def filter_nested_items(self, goods_item):
        values = [item for item in goods_item.childNodes if item.nodeType != 3]
        return values

    def filter_items(self, items):
        return [item for item in items if item.nodeType != 3]

    def _get(self, field_name, inner_field=None):
        if not inner_field:
            return self.get_single_tag(field_name)

            return self.get_nested_tag(field_name, inner_field)


1 Answer 1


You could save yourself a lot of repetition by defining a generic class that takes elements of the tree and saves them. This way you can separate the class from the data needed to build it.

In one file you can have all your fields defined:

XMLDOC_FIELDS = {"language": ("language",),
                 "service_type": ("serviceType",),
                 "trader_declaration_number": ("traderDeclarationNumber",),
                 "trader_reference": ("traderReference",),
                 "clearance_location": ("clearanceLocation",),
                 "declaration_time": ("declarationTime",),
                 "declaration_type": ("declarationType",),
                 "correction_code": ("correctionCode",),
                 "customs_office_number": ("customsOfficeNumber",),
                 "dispatch_country": ("dispatchCountry",),
                 "transport_in_container": ("transportInContainer",)}

CONSIGNOR_FIELDS = {"name": ("consignor", "name"),
                    "street": ("consignor", "street"),
                    "postal_code": ("consignor", "postalCode"),
                    "city": ("consignor", "city"),
                    "country": ("consignor", "country")}

IMPORTER_FIELDS = {"name": ("importer", "name"),
                   "street": ("importer", "street"),
                   "postal_code": ("importer", "postalCode"),
                   "city": ("importer", "city"),
                   "country": ("importer", "country"),
                   "trader_id": ("importer", "traderIdentificationNumber"),
                   "reference": ("importer", "importerReference")}

CONSIGNEE_FIELDS = {"name": ("consignee", "name"),
                    "street": ("consignee", "street"),
                    "postal_code": ("consignee", "postalCode"),
                    "city": ("consignee", "city"),
                    "country": ("consignee", "country"),
                    "trader_id": ("consignee", "traderIdentificationNumber")}


Which you can then use like this in your main file:

from fields import *

class Entity:
    def __init__(self, cls_name, parser, fields):
        self.cls_name = cls_name
        self.name = ""
        for field_name, path in fields.items():
            setattr(self, field_name, parser._get(*path))

    def __repr__(self):
        return f"{self.cls_name}: {self.name}"

class XMLDoc(Entity):
    def __init__(self, path_to_xml):
        self.tree = minidom.parse(path_to_xml)
        self.parser = XMLParser(self.tree)
        self.goods = self._make_goods_list()
        super().__init__("XMLDoc", self.parser, XMLDOC_FIELDS)
        self.name = self.trader_reference
        self.consignor = Entity("Consignor", self.parser, CONSIGNOR_FIELDS)
        self.importer = Entity("Importer", self.parser, IMPORTER_FIELDS)
        self.consignee = Entity("Consignee", self.parser, CONSIGNEE_FIELDS)

Only the GoodsItem class cannot be replaced with this, for that you probably still need a separate class.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. That definitely helps get rid of duplication. You added the name attribute to XMLDoc for some reason as self.trader_reference. Was that intentional? \$\endgroup\$
    – Don Draper
    Mar 9, 2020 at 14:50
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @DonDraper: It was, because it will be picked up by the Entity.__repr__ method, in order to (almost) replicate your current different implementations of __repr__ for the different classes. \$\endgroup\$
    – Graipher
    Mar 9, 2020 at 14:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I got it. At first, I thought that you had renamed the attribute, but you just set the name attribute to avoid duplication in __repr__ implementation. Other than that, do you think that the code is clean enough and, well, Pythonic? \$\endgroup\$
    – Don Draper
    Mar 9, 2020 at 15:06

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