PHP 5.6.0 released

Basic SimpleXML usage

Many examples in this reference require an XML string. Instead of repeating this string in every example, we put it into a file which we include in each example. This included file is shown in the following example section. Alternatively, you could create an XML document and read it with simplexml_load_file().

Example #1 Include file example.php with XML string

<?php
$xmlstr 
= <<<XML
<?xml version='1.0' standalone='yes'?>
<movies>
 <movie>
  <title>PHP: Behind the Parser</title>
  <characters>
   <character>
    <name>Ms. Coder</name>
    <actor>Onlivia Actora</actor>
   </character>
   <character>
    <name>Mr. Coder</name>
    <actor>El Act&#211;r</actor>
   </character>
  </characters>
  <plot>
   So, this language. It's like, a programming language. Or is it a
   scripting language? All is revealed in this thrilling horror spoof
   of a documentary.
  </plot>
  <great-lines>
   <line>PHP solves all my web problems</line>
  </great-lines>
  <rating type="thumbs">7</rating>
  <rating type="stars">5</rating>
 </movie>
</movies>
XML;
?>

The simplicity of SimpleXML appears most clearly when one extracts a string or number from a basic XML document.

Example #2 Getting <plot>

<?php
include 'example.php';

$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

echo 
$movies->movie[0]->plot;
?>

The above example will output:


   So, this language. It's like, a programming language. Or is it a
   scripting language? All is revealed in this thrilling horror spoof
   of a documentary.

Accessing elements within an XML document that contain characters not permitted under PHP's naming convention (e.g. the hyphen) can be accomplished by encapsulating the element name within braces and the apostrophe.

Example #3 Getting <line>

<?php
include 'example.php';

$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

echo 
$movies->movie->{'great-lines'}->line;
?>

The above example will output:

PHP solves all my web problems

Example #4 Accessing non-unique elements in SimpleXML

When multiple instances of an element exist as children of a single parent element, normal iteration techniques apply.

<?php
include 'example.php';

$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

/* For each <character> node, we echo a separate <name>. */
foreach ($movies->movie->characters->character as $character) {
   echo 
$character->name' played by '$character->actorPHP_EOL;
}

?>

The above example will output:

Ms. Coder played by Onlivia Actora
Mr. Coder played by El ActÓr

Note:

Properties ($movies->movie in previous example) are not arrays. They are iterable and accessible objects.

Example #5 Using attributes

So far, we have only covered the work of reading element names and their values. SimpleXML can also access element attributes. Access attributes of an element just as you would elements of an array.

<?php
include 'example.php';

$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

/* Access the <rating> nodes of the first movie.
 * Output the rating scale, too. */
foreach ($movies->movie[0]->rating as $rating) {
    switch((string) 
$rating['type']) { // Get attributes as element indices
    
case 'thumbs':
        echo 
$rating' thumbs up';
        break;
    case 
'stars':
        echo 
$rating' stars';
        break;
    }
}
?>

The above example will output:

7 thumbs up5 stars

Example #6 Comparing Elements and Attributes with Text

To compare an element or attribute with a string or pass it into a function that requires a string, you must cast it to a string using (string). Otherwise, PHP treats the element as an object.

<?php
include 'example.php';

$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

if ((string) 
$movies->movie->title == 'PHP: Behind the Parser') {
    print 
'My favorite movie.';
}

echo 
htmlentities((string) $movies->movie->title);
?>

The above example will output:

My favorite movie.PHP: Behind the Parser

Example #7 Comparing Two Elements

Two SimpleXMLElements are considered different even if they point to the same element since PHP 5.2.0.

<?php
include 'example.php';

$movies1 = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);
$movies2 = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);
var_dump($movies1 == $movies2); // false since PHP 5.2.0
?>

The above example will output:

bool(false)

Example #8 Using XPath

SimpleXML includes built-in XPath support. To find all <character> elements:

<?php
include 'example.php';

$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

foreach (
$movies->xpath('//character') as $character) {
    echo 
$character->name'played by '$character->actorPHP_EOL;
}
?>

'//' serves as a wildcard. To specify absolute paths, omit one of the slashes.

The above example will output:

Ms. Coder played by Onlivia Actora
Mr. Coder played by El ActÓr

Example #9 Setting values

Data in SimpleXML doesn't have to be constant. The object allows for manipulation of all of its elements.

<?php
include 'example.php';
$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

$movies->movie[0]->characters->character[0]->name 'Miss Coder';

echo 
$movies->asXML();
?>

The above example will output:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="yes"?>
<movies>
 <movie>
  <title>PHP: Behind the Parser</title>
  <characters>
   <character>
    <name>Miss Coder</name>
    <actor>Onlivia Actora</actor>
   </character>
   <character>
    <name>Mr. Coder</name>
    <actor>El Act&#xD3;r</actor>
   </character>
  </characters>
  <plot>
   So, this language. It's like, a programming language. Or is it a
   scripting language? All is revealed in this thrilling horror spoof
   of a documentary.
  </plot>
  <great-lines>
   <line>PHP solves all my web problems</line>
  </great-lines>
  <rating type="thumbs">7</rating>
  <rating type="stars">5</rating>
 </movie>
</movies>

Example #10 Adding elements and attributes

Since PHP 5.1.3, SimpleXML has had the ability to easily add children and attributes.

<?php
include 'example.php';
$movies = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

$character $movies->movie[0]->characters->addChild('character');
$character->addChild('name''Mr. Parser');
$character->addChild('actor''John Doe');

$rating $movies->movie[0]->addChild('rating''PG');
$rating->addAttribute('type''mpaa');

echo 
$movies->asXML();
?>

The above example will output:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone="yes"?>
<movies>
 <movie>
  <title>PHP: Behind the Parser</title>
  <characters>
   <character>
    <name>Ms. Coder</name>
    <actor>Onlivia Actora</actor>
   </character>
   <character>
    <name>Mr. Coder</name>
    <actor>El Act&#xD3;r</actor>
   </character>
  <character><name>Mr. Parser</name><actor>John Doe</actor></character></characters>
  <plot>
   So, this language. It's like, a programming language. Or is it a
   scripting language? All is revealed in this thrilling horror spoof
   of a documentary.
  </plot>
  <great-lines>
   <line>PHP solves all my web problems</line>
  </great-lines>
  <rating type="thumbs">7</rating>
  <rating type="stars">5</rating>
 <rating type="mpaa">PG</rating></movie>
</movies>

Example #11 DOM Interoperability

PHP has a mechanism to convert XML nodes between SimpleXML and DOM formats. This example shows how one might change a DOM element to SimpleXML.

<?php
$dom 
= new DOMDocument;
$dom->loadXML('<books><book><title>blah</title></book></books>');
if (!
$dom) {
    echo 
'Error while parsing the document';
    exit;
}

$books simplexml_import_dom($dom);

echo 
$books->book[0]->title;
?>

The above example will output:

blah

add a note add a note

User Contributed Notes 11 notes

up
22
jishcem at gmail dot com
1 year ago
For me it was easier to use arrays than objects,

So, I used this code,

$xml = simplexml_load_file('xml_file.xml');
   
$json_string = json_encode($xml);
   
$result_array = json_decode($json_string, TRUE);

Hope it would help someone
up
3
RiKdnUA at mail dot ru
8 months ago
Если кодировка XML-документа отличается от UTF-8, объявление кодировки должно следовать сразу после version='...' и перед standalone='...'. Это требование стандарта XML.

If encoding XML-document differs from UTF-8. Encoding declaration should follow immediately after the version = '...' and before standalone = '...'. This requirement is standard XML.

<?xml version='1.0' encoding='windows-1251' standalone='yes'?>
Ok
<?xml version='1.0' standalone='yes' encoding='windows-1251'?>
<body>Русский язык. Russian language</body>
Fatal error: Uncaught exception 'Exception' with message 'String could not be parsed as XML' in...
up
7
ie dot raymond at gmail dot com
4 years ago
If you need to output valid xml in your response, don't forget to set your header content type to xml in addition to echoing out the result of asXML():

<?php

$xml
=simplexml_load_file('...');
...
...
xml stuff
...

//output xml in your response:
header('Content-Type: text/xml');
echo
$xml->asXML();
?>
up
2
bjorn at xQmail dot eu
5 years ago
If you're not sure the XML will be valid you'd better use:

<?php
$xmlObject
= simplexml_load_string($xml);
// or
$xmlObject = simplexml_load_file(xml);
?>

Both of these return a SimpleXMLElement Object or a libXMLError Object.
up
1
gkokmdam at zonnet dot nl
3 years ago
A quick tip on xpath queries and default namespaces. It looks like the XML-system behind SimpleXML has the same workings as I believe the XML-system .NET uses: when one needs to address something in the default namespace, one will have to declare the namespace using registerXPathNamespace and then use its prefix to address the otherwise in the default namespace living element.

<?php
$string
= <<<XML
<?xml version='1.0'?>
<document xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom">
<title>Forty What?</title>
<from>Joe</from>
<to>Jane</to>
<body>
  I know that's the answer -- but what's the question?
</body>
</document>
XML;

$xml = simplexml_load_string($string);
$xml->registerXPathNamespace("def", "http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom");

$nodes = $xml->xpath("//def:document/def:title");

?>
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0
eng dot emad_2010 at yahoo dot com
10 months ago
Example #  DOM Interoperability التشغيل البيني   
PHP has a mechanism to convert XML nodes between SimpleXML and DOM formats. This example shows how one might change a DOM element to SimpleXML  .
The simplexml_import_dom() function returns a SimpleXMLElement object from a DOM node.
DOM         object

<?php
//create DOM  document $dom that contain XML
$dom = new DOMDocument;
$dom->loadXML('<books><book><title>blah</title></book></books>');
if (!
$dom) {
    echo
'Error while parsing the document';
    exit;
}
//convert DOM document $dom to object $books
$books = simplexml_import_dom($dom);

//access object $books
echo $books->book[0]->title;
?>
up
0
kdos
3 years ago
Using stuff like: is_object($xml->module->admin) to check if there actually is a node called "admin", doesn't seem to work as expected, since simplexml always returns an object- in that case an empty one  - even if a particular node does not exist.
For me good old empty() function seems to work just fine in such cases.

Cheers
up
0
Max K.
4 years ago
From the README file:

SimpleXML is meant to be an easy way to access XML data.

SimpleXML objects follow four basic rules:

1) properties denote element iterators
2) numeric indices denote elements
3) non numeric indices denote attributes
4) string conversion allows to access TEXT data

When iterating properties then the extension always iterates over
all nodes with that element name. Thus method children() must be
called to iterate over subnodes. But also doing the following:
foreach ($obj->node_name as $elem) {
  // do something with $elem
}
always results in iteration of 'node_name' elements. So no further
check is needed to distinguish the number of nodes of that type.

When an elements TEXT data is being accessed through a property
then the result does not include the TEXT data of subelements.

Known issues
============

Due to engine problems it is currently not possible to access
a subelement by index 0: $object->property[0].
up
0
php at keith tyler dot com
4 years ago
[Editor's Note: The SimpleXMLIterator class, however, does implement these methods.]

While SimpleXMLElement claims to be iterable, it does not seem to implement the standard Iterator interface functions like ::next and ::reset properly. Therefore while foreach() works, functions like next(), current(), or each() don't seem to work as you would expect -- the pointer never seems to move or keeps getting reset.
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0
radams at circlepix com
5 years ago
To test whether an element exists:

<?php

    $xml
= <<<EOT
<?xml version='1.0' standalone='yes'?>
<root>
    <test1></test1>
    <test2 />
    <test4> </test4>
</root>
EOT;

   
$xmlDoc = new SimpleXMLElement($xml);

echo
"Test1: \n";
var_dump($xmlDoc->test1);
echo
"\n(" . (bool)$xmlDoc->test1 . ")";
echo
"\n\n";

echo
"Test2: \n";
var_dump($xmlDoc->test2);
echo
"\n(" . (bool)$xmlDoc->test2 . ")";
echo
"\n\n";

echo
"Test3: \n";
var_dump($xmlDoc->test3);
echo
"\n(" . (bool)$xmlDoc->test3 . ")";
echo
"\n\n";

echo
"Test4: \n";
var_dump($xmlDoc->test4);
echo
"\n(" . (bool)$xmlDoc->test4 . ")";
echo
"\n\n";

?>

The var_dumps for test1, test2, and test3 are identical, but the (bool) test gives a '1' for test1 and test2, and a '' for test3.
up
-1
dmitron1036 at mail dot ru
1 year ago
Hello, everyboady!
How can I change attributes in xml object?
like this:
$children[0]["@attributes"]['x'] = '0';

I try:
$children = $xml->children();
var_dump($children[0]["@attributes"]);//"NULL"
var_dump($children[0]);//(2) ["@attributes"]=>array(1) {['x']=> string(1) '2'}
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