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Converting XML Into a PHP Data Structure

Dante explains how to convert data from XML to the more PHP friendly arrays and arrays in arrays so that it can be used easily in your code.

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By: Dante Lorenso
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January 06, 2003
  1. · Converting XML Into a PHP Data Structure
  2. · A Look at the XML File Structure
  3. · Using an Array as a Data Structure
  4. · Make PHP Do The Hard Work
  5. · Watching the XML Parsing Events: Callback Functions
  6. · Building the Array Tree
  7. · The Completed XMLToArray Class
  8. · How to Use the Class
  9. · Conclusion

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Converting XML Into a PHP Data Structure
(Page 1 of 9 )

In the last few years, XML has received great media attention, and most languages support the parsing and extraction of data from XML documents. Besides being a great three-letter anacronym to sprinkle on your résumé, XML is actually a useful data storage structure for PHP programmers.

Before you begin to use XML, you must first determine if your project really needs what XML offers. There are alternative data storage formats like fixed-width column files, tab-delimited files, CSV files, and database tables, but these formats typically can only manage a simple grid of rows and columns of data.

XML provides several additional benefits for programmers including:
  • data format abstraction,
  • simple document tag/data validation,
  • the ability to store data in a tree-like hierarchy,
  • platform independence,
  • ease of integration,
  • and more...

...but you already know that. What you want to do is use XML data inside your sparkling new web application. We'll explore one simple way to do this in the remainder of this article.
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