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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.

Author Info:
By: Dante Lorenso
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 60
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 - The Completed XMLToArray Class
(Page 7 of 9 )

class XMLToArray

// private variables
var $parser;
var $node_stack = array();

* If a string is passed in, parse it right away.
function XMLToArray($xmlstring="") {
if ($xmlstring) return($this->parse($xmlstring));

* Parse a text string containing valid XML into a multidimensional array
* located at rootnode.
function parse($xmlstring="") {
// set up a new XML parser to do all the work for us
$this->parser = xml_parser_create();
xml_set_object($this->parser, $this);
xml_parser_set_option($this->parser, XML_OPTION_CASE_FOLDING, false);
xml_set_element_handler($this->parser, "startElement", "endElement");
xml_set_character_data_handler($this->parser, "characterData");

// Build a Root node and initialize the node_stack...
$this->node_stack = array();
$this->startElement(null, "root", array());

// parse the data and free the parser...
xml_parse($this->parser, $xmlstring);

// recover the root node from the node stack
$rnode = array_pop($this->node_stack);

// return the root node...

* Start a new Element. This means we push the new element onto the stack
* and reset it's properties.
function startElement($parser, $name, $attrs)

// create a new node...
$node = array();
$node["_NAME"] = $name;
foreach ($attrs as $key => $value) {
$node[$key] = $value;

$node["_DATA"] = "";
$node["_ELEMENTS"] = array();

// add the new node to the end of the node stack
array_push($this->node_stack, $node);

* End an element. This is done by popping the last element from the
* stack and adding it to the previous element on the stack.
function endElement($parser, $name) {
// pop this element off the node stack
$node = array_pop($this->node_stack);
$node["_DATA"] = trim($node["_DATA"]);

// and add it an an element of the last node in the stack...
$lastnode = count($this->node_stack);
array_push($this->node_stack[$lastnode-1]["_ELEMENTS"], $node);

* Collect the data onto the end of the current chars.
function characterData($parser, $data) {
// add this data to the last node in the stack...
$lastnode = count($this->node_stack);
$this->node_stack[$lastnode-1]["_DATA"] .= $data;


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