XML Country List File

    December 20, 2006

Today, I had to bind a list of countries to a drop down list in ASP.NET 2.0. I wanted to use an XML file to store the countries. There are more than 200 so there was not way I was going to hard code them in the HTML.

I have done this many times before, but never from an XML file. Normally I store the countries in a database, because other database tables would reference it. Today, I just wanted a list of countries with no relation to any data at all.

My plan was clear and simple. Find an XML file of countries on the internet and bind them to a drop down list. How hard could that be? After 15 minutes of searching Google and Live.com for the XML country file I gave up. It wasn’t out there.

Luckily, I have dozens of country tables in various databases I’ve built during the last couple of years, so I generated my own XML list by exporting from SQL server to a CSV file and then created a method in C# that generated the XML file from it.

For anybody else in need for an XML country list, look no further. I’ll share mine with you.

If you want to bind it to a drop down list, here’s the code for that. First add the drop down list to your page:

<asp:DropDownList runat="Server" ID="ddlCountry" />

Then use this C# code to bind the countries to the drop down list:

using System.Xml;

protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    if (!Page.IsPostBack)

private void BindCountry()
    XmlDocument doc = new XmlDocument();

    foreach (XmlNode node in doc.SelectNodes("//country"))
      ddlCountry.Items.Add(new ListItem(node.InnerText, node.Attributes["code"].InnerText));

Remember to add the countries.xml in the root of your website.

Download countries.xml (12,48 KB)


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Mads Kristensen currently works as a Senior Developer at Traceworks located
in Copenhagen, Denmark. Mads graduated from Copenhagen Technical Academy with a multimedia degree in
2003, but has been a professional developer since 2000. His main focus is on ASP.NET but is responsible for Winforms, Windows- and
web services in his daily work as well. A true .NET developer with great passion for the simple solution.