New to Programming - XML Processing

Andrew Farrell amfarrell at
Wed Apr 1 06:26:30 CEST 2015

> I am new to programming, though not new to computers.

One quick tip: when starting a new project, it is sometimes is useful to
see if others have done the same thing and use their approach to guide
yours. In your case, googling "Garmin Forerunner xml python" results in
this blog post which is recent enough that it should be helpful.

Note that coming up with good phrases for google to help you with a
programming task is a skill that you get better at with time.

Welcome to Python! ^-^

On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 11:08 PM, Ben Finney <ben+python at>

> catperson <me at anonymous.invalid> writes:
> > 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.
> Congratulations! Python 3 is a fine language to be your first.
> Which tutorial are you following? It may be relevant.
> > 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.
> Have you worked with manipulating XML documents in the past?
> If I describe XML as a machine-readable hierarchical data serialisation
> format, does that sound like noise or are you comfortable that you
> understand that description?
> > 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.
> You'll need to understand the principles behind XML, then. Warning: it
> is not simple! XML is machine-readable, but rarely pleasant for *humans*
> to read or understand.
> > 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.
> XML is a standard – a large number of standards, really – from the W3
> Consortium. They have a good overview of the “core” of XML
> <URL:>.
> There are countless XML formats though; XML is a markup language to use
> as a basis for constructing data serialisation formats. You need to know
> what the specific format (called a “schema”) is before you can expect to
> make sense of it, and so in order to understand what's in the document
> you need a description of the specific schema from whoever wrote the
> document.
> General XML tutorials do exist; here is one comprehensive one
> <URL:>. You'll likely want to
> learn more about the specifics of whatever XML format is being used,
> though, before going much beyond the basic principles.
> --
>  \            “Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in |
>   `\       choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.” —John |
> _o__)                                    Kenneth Galbraith, 1962-03-02 |
> Ben Finney
> --
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