What is the best/simplest way to read in an XML file in Java application?

There are of course a lot of good solutions based on what you need. If it is just configuration, you should have a look at Jakarta commons-configuration and commons-digester.

You could always use the standard JDK method of getting a document :

import java.io.File;
import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilder;
import javax.xml.parsers.DocumentBuilderFactory;
import org.w3c.dom.Document;


File file = new File("some/path");
DocumentBuilderFactory dbf = DocumentBuilderFactory.newInstance();
DocumentBuilder db = dbf.newDocumentBuilder();
Document document = db.parse(file);

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