New to Programming - XML Processing

Rustom Mody rustompmody at
Wed Apr 1 06:17:38 CEST 2015

On Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 8:57:15 AM UTC+5:30, catperson wrote:
> I am new to programming, though not new to computers.  I'm looking to
> teach myself Python 3 and am working my way through a tutorial.  At
> the point I'm at in the tutorial I am tasked with parsing out an XML
> file created with a Garmin Forerunner and am just having a terrible
> time getting my head around the concepts.  What I'm looking for is
> some suggested reading that might give me some of the theory of
> operation behind ElementTree and then how to parse out specific
> elements.  Most of what I have been able to find in examples that I
> can understand use very simplistic XML files and this Garmin file is
> many levels of sub-elements and some of those elements have attributes
> assigned, like <Activity Sport="Running">.
> I'm hoping with enough reading I can experiment and work my way
> through the problem and end up with a hopefully clear understanding of
> the ElementTree module and Dictionairies.  
> Thanks for any suggestions in advance.

1. Learn to use the interpreter interactively; ie (at the least)¹ ie

a. Start up python (without a program)
b. Play around with trivial expressions
c. Explore introspective features - help(), type() dir()

2. Do you know about triple-quoted strings?
a. Start small (or trivial) sub-parts of your XML as triple-quoted examples in the 
interpreter and start throwing them at elementtree
b. If they dont work trivialize further; if they work add complexity
¹ At the least because environments like Idle are more conducive to such playing

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