XStream - First Application


Before going into the details of the XStream library, let us see an application in action. In this example, we've created Student and Address classes. We will create a student object and then serialize it to an XML String. Then de-serialize the same XML string to obtain the student object back.

Create a java class file named XStreamTester in C:\>XStream_WORKSPACE.

File: XStreamTester.java

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;

import com.thoughtworks.xstream.XStream;
import com.thoughtworks.xstream.io.xml.StaxDriver;

public class XStreamTester {

   public static void main(String args[]) {
      XStreamTester tester = new XStreamTester();
      XStream xstream = new XStream(new StaxDriver());
      Student student = tester.getStudentDetails();
      //Object to XML Conversion
      String xml = xstream.toXML(student);
      //XML to Object Conversion
      Student student1 = (Student)xstream.fromXML(xml);
   private Student getStudentDetails() {
      Student student = new Student();

      Address address = new Address();
      address.setArea("H.No. 16/3, Preet Vihar.");

      return student;
   public static String formatXml(String xml) {
      try {
         Transformer serializer = SAXTransformerFactory.newInstance().newTransformer();
         serializer.setOutputProperty(OutputKeys.INDENT, "yes");
         serializer.setOutputProperty("{http://xml.apache.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) {
         return xml;

class Student {
   private int rollNo;
   private String firstName;
   private String lastName;
   private String className;
   private Address address;

   public String getFirstName() {
      return firstName;
   public void setFirstName(String firstName) {
      this.firstName = firstName;
   public String getLastName() {
      return lastName;
   public void setLastName(String lastName) {
      this.lastName = lastName;
   public int getRollNo() {
      return rollNo;
   public void setRollNo(int rollNo) {
      this.rollNo = rollNo;
   public String getClassName() {
      return className;
   public void setClassName(String className) {
      this.className = className;
   public Address getAddress() {
      return address;
   public void setAddress(Address address) {
      this.address = address;
   public String toString() {
      StringBuilder stringBuilder = new StringBuilder();
      stringBuilder.append("Student [ ");
      stringBuilder.append("\nfirstName: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\nlastName: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\nrollNo: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\nclassName: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\naddress: ");
      stringBuilder.append(" ]");
      return stringBuilder.toString();

class Address {
   private String area;
   private String city;
   private String state;
   private String country;
   private int pincode;

   public String getArea() {
      return area;

   public void setArea(String area) {
      this.area = area;

   public String getCity() {
      return city;

   public void setCity(String city) {
      this.city = city;

   public String getState() {
      return state;

   public void setState(String state) {
      this.state = state;

   public String getCountry() {
      return country;

   public void setCountry(String country) {
      this.country = country;

   public int getPincode() {
      return pincode;

   public void setPincode(int pincode) {
      this.pincode = pincode;

   public String toString() {

      StringBuilder stringBuilder = new StringBuilder();

      stringBuilder.append("\nAddress [ ");
      stringBuilder.append("\narea: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\ncity: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\nstate: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\ncountry: ");
      stringBuilder.append("\npincode: ");	
      stringBuilder.append(" ]");

      return stringBuilder.toString();

Verify the Result

Compile the classes using javac compiler as follows −

C:\XStream_WORKSPACE>javac XStreamTester.java

Now run the XStreamTester to see the result −

C:\XStream_WORKSPACE>java XStreamTester

Verify the output as follows

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
      <area>H.No. 16/3, Preet Vihar.</area>

Student [ 
   firstName: Mahesh
   lastName: Parashar
   rollNo: 1
   className: 1st
   Address [ 
      area: H.No. 16/3, Preet Vihar.
      city: Delhi
      state: Delhi
      country: India
      pincode: 110012

Steps to Remember

Following are the important steps to be considered here.

Step 1: Create an XStream Object

Create an XStream object by passing it a StaxDriver. StaxDriver uses Stax pull parser (available from java 6) and is a fast xml parser.

XStream xstream = new XStream(new StaxDriver());

Step 2: Serialize the Object to XML

Use toXML() method to get the XML string representation of the object.

//Object to XML Conversion
String xml = xstream.toXML(student);

Step 3: De-serialize XML to Get the Object

Use fromXML() method to get the object from the XML.

//XML to Object Conversion		
Student student1 = (Student)xstream.fromXML(xml);