Developers Guide

This guide has been created to help developers to build applications using the library as an engine, or contribute to the library through our GitHub. Unless specified, all files that are referred in this guide belong to the Parsers package. No data is modified in the validations or the writing process.

Code styling

Code has been adapted to PEP8 style guidelines with maximum 80 columns. It allows the developers to easily navigate through the code and check the documentation at the same time.

3rd party applications connection

Any external applications should use the API methods and the classes defined in the Model package. All methods starting with a _ defined in those classes are intended to be used by the processes defined below and should NOT be used by any 3rd party application as they may produce unwanted results.

High level architecture

SDMXthon provides three main features:
  • Reading an SDMX-ML file

  • Validate its content

  • Write the content to a SDMX-ML file

The library is divided in 4 main packages: API, Model, Parsers and Utils. These packages are connected with each other via several methods depending on the operations we want to make.


All reading methods are triggered by the API methods, depending on the parameters and the desired output they will be suitable for any specific case, as defined in the API Package.

There are 3 elements that are common to all SDMX-ML files: the Header, the data or metadata XML elements and their attributes. All headers are parsed via the Header class, defined in the Model Package. The XML elements and its attributes are parsed with the build_children and the build_attributes methods of object and its implementations in each class.

Depending on the content of each XML file, we will go through different classes to parse it through these two methods.


For more details of the errors triggered by the library please refer to the Validations

Data validations processes can be found in the file. These methods are triggered by the structural_validation method in the Dataset class in the Model package.

Metadata validations processes can be found in the metadata_validations file. These processes are only triggered when the metadata is parsed, as the setters in each Model class related to metadata should prevent any misbehaviour if used correctly.

Structural validations is performed on XML files prior to its parsing if the validate parameter on each API method is set to True.


The writing processes can be triggered from a Dataset or a Message, by using the write process. The processes can be found in the file.

To perform the data writing from a Pandas Dataframe to an SDMX file, we found that best approach was to adapt the to_csv() method to write SDMX-ML files (XML format), without modifying the Pandas package. It allows a chunking process to write large files without a huge impact on memory.

The metadata writing process has been implemented in a similar way to the Reading process, by going through each class in a specific order to be compliant with the XML Schemas. The methods used are the parse_XML and the to_XML, depending on each class. Due to the library structure, this method can only be triggered from the Message class.