Compare two XML strings ignoring element order

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Suppose I have two xml strings

<test>
  <elem>a</elem>
  <elem>b</elem>
</test>

<test>
  <elem>b</elem>
  <elem>a</elem>
</test>

How to write a test that compares those two strings and ignores the element order?

I want the test to be as short as possible, no place for 10-line XML parsing etc. I’m looking for a simple assertion or something similar.

I have this (which doesn’t work)

   Diff diff = XMLUnit.compareXML(expectedString, actualString);   
   XMLAssert.assertXMLEqual("meh", diff, true);

Answer

My original answer is outdated. If I would have to build it again i would use xmlunit 2 and xmlunit-matchers. Please note that for xml unit a different order is always ‘similar’ not equals.

@Test
public void testXmlUnit() {
    String myControlXML = "<test><elem>a</elem><elem>b</elem></test>";
    String expected = "<test><elem>b</elem><elem>a</elem></test>";
    assertThat(myControlXML, isSimilarTo(expected)
            .withNodeMatcher(new DefaultNodeMatcher(ElementSelectors.byNameAndText)));
    //In case you wan't to ignore whitespaces add ignoreWhitespace().normalizeWhitespace()
    assertThat(myControlXML, isSimilarTo(expected)
        .ignoreWhitespace()
        .normalizeWhitespace()
        .withNodeMatcher(new DefaultNodeMatcher(ElementSelectors.byNameAndText)));
}  

If somebody still want’t to use a pure java implementation here it is. This implementation extracts the content from xml and compares the list ignoring order.

public static Document loadXMLFromString(String xml) throws Exception {
    DocumentBuilderFactory factory = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance();
    DocumentBuilder builder = factory.newDocumentBuilder();
    InputSource is = new InputSource(new StringReader(xml));
    return builder.parse(is);
}

@Test
public void test() throws Exception {
    Document doc = loadXMLFromString("<test>n" +
            "  <elem>b</elem>n" +
            "  <elem>a</elem>n" +
            "</test>");
    XPathFactory xPathfactory = XPathFactory.newInstance();
    XPath xpath = xPathfactory.newXPath();
    XPathExpression expr = xpath.compile("//test//elem");
    NodeList all = (NodeList) expr.evaluate(doc, XPathConstants.NODESET);
    List<String> values = new ArrayList<>();
    if (all != null && all.getLength() > 0) {
        for (int i = 0; i < all.getLength(); i++) {
            values.add(all.item(i).getTextContent());
        }
    }
    Set<String> expected = new HashSet<>(Arrays.asList("a", "b"));
    assertThat("List equality without order",
            values, containsInAnyOrder(expected.toArray()));
}


Source: stackoverflow