xml_parser

An unopinionated XML parser that can read, traverse, and write XML documents.

Documentation (API Reference): https://pub.dev/documentation/xml_parser/latest/

Usage

import 'package:xml_parser/xml_parser.dart';

Parsing

Documents

XML documents can be parsed from a string with the XmlDocument.fromString method, or from a URI with the XmlDocument.fromUri method.

String xmlString = '''
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>
<!DOCTYPE root SYSTEM "rootDtd" "dtd/root.dtd">
<root>
    <element>Child 1</element>
    <element>Child 2</element>
    <element>Child 3</element>
</root>
''';

XmlDocument xmlDocument = XmlDocument.fromString(xmlString);

print(xmlDocument.xmlDeclaration.version); // 1.0
print(xmlDocument.xmlDeclaration.encoding); // UTF-8
print(xmlDocument.xmlDeclaration.standalone); // true

print(xmlDocument.doctype.element); // root
print(xmlDocument.doctype.externalDtdUri); // dtd/root.dtd

print(xmlDocument.root.children.length); // 3
// Parse this package's pub.dev page as a XML document.
XmlDocument xmlDocument = await
    XmlDocument.fromUri('http://pub.dev/packages/xml_parser');

// Get the first `h2` element with a class of `title`.
XmlElement title = xmlDocument
    .getElementWhere(
       XmlElement(
        name: 'h2',
        attributes: [XmlAttribute('class', 'title')],
      ),
    );

print(title.text); // xml_parser 0.1.0

Note: HTML documents, as long as their empty tags are self-closing, can be parsed as XML. See the example for a more in-depth look at parsing this page: https://pub.dev/packages/xml_parser#-example-tab-

Extracting Nodes

For many use cases there isn't a need to parse the entire XML document. In cases where you know the structure of the document and where the data you need to retrieve can be found you can extract just the nodes you need without parsing any more of the document than necessary.

Each XML node class has the static methods fromString and parseString. fromString will parse the inputted string and return the first node found of its type, while parseString will return a list of every node of that type found. These are methods are explained in more detail for each of their respective nodes below.

The base XmlNode class also has the fromString and parseString static methods with an option, returnNodesOfType, for retrieving nodes of multiple types.

/// Returns all XML declarations, DOCTYPE declarations, and elements
/// found within [xmlString], ignoring all other node types.
///
/// Only the highest level nodes will be returned. If any of the returned
/// nodes have children, all children will be parsed regardless of type.
List<XmlNode> nodes = XmlNode.parseString(
  xmlString,
  returnNodesOfType: <Type>[XmlDeclaration, XmlDoctype, XmlElement],
);

Navigating Documents

XmlDocuments and every type of node that can have children store their children in lists of XmlNodes.

Because XML nodes have varying properties, the only toString and toFormattedString methods are available every node (more on those at the bottom.) As such, all other getters and methods are specific to each node.

To access the properties of a node, test its type with the is operator:

String xmlString = '''
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>
<!DOCTYPE root SYSTEM "rootDtd" "dtd/root.dtd">
<root>
    <element>Child 1</element>
    <element>Child 2</element>
    <element>Child 3</element>
</root>
''';

XmlDocument document = XmlDocument.fromString(xmlString);

for (XmlNode child in document.children) {
  if (child is XmlDeclaration) {
    print(child.version); // 1.0
  } else if (child is XmlDoctype) {
    print(child.externalDtdName); // rootDtd
  } else if (child is XmlElement) {
    print(child.name); // root
  }
}

For convenience, all nodes that have a children property (XmlDocument, XmlElement, and XmlConditional), have the following getters and methods for retrieving nested XmlElements.

Note: Check the API reference for more detailed information regarding each method's parameters.

/// Returns the first [XmlElement] found in [children].
XmlElement get firstChild;

/// Returns the nth [XmlElement] found in [children].
XmlElement nthChild(int index);

/// Returns the last [XmlElement] found in [children].
XmlElement get lastChild;

/// Returns the first direct child named [elementName].
XmlElement getChild(String elementName);

/// Returns the nth direct child named [elementName].
XmlElement getNthChild(int index, String elementName);

/// Returns the last direct child named [elementName].
XmlElement getLastChild(String elementName);

/// Returns all direct children named [elementName] between [start] and [stop].
List<XmlElement> getChildren(String elementName, {int start = 0, int stop});

/// Returns the first direct child with properties matching those specified.
XmlElement getChildWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
});

/// Returns the nth direct child with properties matching those specified.
XmlElement getNthChildWhere(
  int index, {
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
})

/// Returns the last direct child with properties matching those specified.
XmlElement getLastChildWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
});

/// Returns all direct children with properties matching those specified.
List<XmlElement> getChildrenWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
  bool ignoreNestedMatches = true,
  int start = 0,
  int stop,
});

Each of the above getChild methods also have a corresponding getElement method that recursively checks all elements and their children, all the way down the tree, and returns any matching elements.

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and
/// returns the first element found named [elementName].
XmlElement getElement(String elementName);

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and
/// returns the nth element found named [elementName].
XmlElement getNthElement(
  int index,
  String elementName, {
  bool ignoreNestedMatches = true
});

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and
/// returns the last element found named [elementName].
XmlElement getLastElement(String elementName);

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and returns
/// any elements found named [elementName] between [start] and [stop].
List<XmlElement> getElements(
  String elementName, {
  bool ignoreNestedMatches = true,
  int start = 0,
  int stop,
});

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and returns
/// the first element found with properties matching those specified.
XmlElement getElementWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
});

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and returns
/// the nth element found with properties matching those specified.
XmlElement getNthElementWhere(
  int index, {
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
});

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and returns
/// the last element found with properties matching those specified.
XmlElement getLastElementWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
});

/// Recursively checks all elements within the node tree and returns
/// any elements found with properties matching those specified.
List<XmlElement> getElementsWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
  bool ignoreNestedMatches = true,
  int start = 0,
  int stop,
});

The following methods also exist for testing if a child exists:

/// Returns `true` if [children] isn't `null` or empty.
bool get hasChildren;

/// Returns `true` if this element contains a direct child named [elementName].
bool hasChild(String elementName);

/// Returns `true` if this element contains a direct child with
/// properties matching those specified.
bool hasChildWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
});

/// Recursively checks all nested elements and returns `true` if one
/// is found named [elementName].
bool hasElement(String elementName);

/// Recursively checks all nested elements and returns `true` if one
/// is found with properties matching those specified.
bool hasElementWhere({
  String name,
  String id,
  List<String> attributeNames,
  List<XmlAttribute> attributes,
  bool matchAllAttributes = false,
  bool attributesMustBeIdentical = false,
  List<XmlNode> children,
  bool matchAllChildren = false,
  bool childrenMustBeIdentical = false,
});

Document Structure

Documents are parsed as XmlDocument nodes. XmlDocuments have a single property, children, a list of XmlNodes.

A document's XML and DOCTYPE declarations are parsed as XmlDeclaration and XmlDoctype nodes respectively, and can be referenced with the xmlDeclaration and doctype getters.

The document's root element is parsed as a XmlElement and can be referenced with the root getter.

Note: Valid XML documents only have a single XML declaration, DOCTYPE declaration and root element. While XmlDocument doesn't limit children to containing a single instance of each of these nodes, however only the first found node of each type will be returned with their respective getters.

XML Declarations

XML declarations are parsed as XmlDeclaration nodes.

The XmlDeclaration node has 3 parameters: version, encoding, and standalone. All values are stored as Strings, only version is required.

XmlDeclarations can be parsed with the XmlDeclaration.fromString method, or every instance of a XML declaration found within a string, parsed, and extracted with the XmlDeclaration.parseString method.

String xmlDeclarationString =
    '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>';

XmlDeclaration xmlDeclaration =
    XmlDeclaration.fromString(xmlDeclarationString);

print(xmlDeclaration.version); // 1.0
print(xmlDeclaration.encoding); // UTF-8
print(xmlDeclaration.standalone) // true

Note: Valid XML documents should only contain a single XML declaration as the first root-level node, but are allowed to be contained anywhere by the parser.

DOCTYPE Declarations

DOCTYPE declarations are parsed as XmlDoctype nodes.

Note: Valid XML documents should only contain DOCTYPE declarations as a root-level node, but are allowed to be contained anywhere by the parser.

XmlDoctypes with external DTD values, and a fully qualified URI linking to them, can be returned as a new XmlDoctype node containing their external DTD nodes, by calling the loadExternalDtd method. null will be returned if the URI couldn't be reached. All XML nodes found at the URI will be retrieved, not just the valid DTD nodes.

XmlDoctype doctype = XmlDoctype.fromString(
    '<!DOCTYPE root PUBLIC "https://test.com/root.dtd">');

doctype = await doctype.loadExternalDtd();

print(doctype.externalDtd); // [<!ELEMENT author (#PCDATA)>, <!ELEMENT text (#PCDATA)>]

Note: If the XmlDoctype node is contained within a XmlDocument, XmlDocument's loadExternalDtd method can be called instead. All XmlDoctype and XmlEntity nodes will be checked for external DTD declarations and attempt to load each one.

Elements

XmlElements are parsed as XmlElement nodes.

XmlElement has 3 parameters, name, attributes, and children.

children can be referenced or traversed as described above.

attributes stores a list of XmlAttributes, which contain a name and a value. Valid XML documents may not posess attributes without a value but, should the parser identify any attributes without a value, they will be parsed with a null value, and written by the toString and toFormattedString methods with an empty value.

XmlElement has several methods related to the attributes list. Attribute names are not case sensitive, but the values are.

/// Returns true if this element has an attribute named [attributeName].
bool hasAttribute(String attributeName);

/// Returns true if this element has an attribute named
/// [attributeName] and a value of [attributeValue].
bool hasAttributeWhere(String attributeName, String attributeValue);

/// Returns the value of the first attribute named [attributeName].
String getAttribute(String attributeName);

An element's ID can be retrieved with the getter id, which will find the first attribute named id, if it exists, and return its value.

All XmlElements without any children will be considered an empty element, and will written with a self-closing tag by the toString and toFormattedString methods.

By default, XmlElement's parseString method will only return top-level elements. Its global option can be set to true to return all elements, nested or not.

parseString has four options for filtering the returned elements. returnElementsNamed, returnElementsWithId, returnElementsWithAttributeNamed, and returnElementsWithAttribute.

parseString and all get methods that return Lists have start and stop parameters to limit the elements returned to only the indexes found that fall on or after start and before stop, which may be null. Indexes are counted from 0.

String xmlString = '''
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>
<!DOCTYPE root SYSTEM "rootDtd" "dtd/root.dtd">
<root>
    <element>Child 1</element>
    <element>Child 2</element>
    <element>Child 3</element>
    <element>Child 4</element>
    <element>Child 5</element>
    <element>Child 6</element>
</root>
''';

List<XmlElement> elements = XmlElement.parseString(
  xmlString,
  returnElementsNamed: ['element'],
  start: 2,
  stop: 4,
);

print(elements); // [<element>Child 3</element>, <element>Child 4</element>, <element>Child 5</element>]

Plain Text Values

Plain text values are parsed as XmlText nodes. XmlText can be instanced directly, or parsed with the XmlText.fromString method, which has options to parse for character entities and trim whitespace.

String text = 'The `&amp;`, `&lt;`, and `&gt;` characters are reserved in XML.';

print(XmlText(text)); // The `&amp;`, `&lt;`, and `&gt;` characters are reserved in XML.

print(XmlText.fromString(text)); // The `&`, `<`, and `>` characters are reserved in XML.

The toString and toFormattedString methods have options to encode characters as character entities. By default, only the &, <, and > characters will be encoded. XmlNodes with their isMarkup parameter set to true, will never have their characters encoded even if the encodeCharacterEntities option is set to true, (it is by default.)

String text = '<text>Just some text.</text>';

print(XmlText(text)); // &lt;text&gt;Just some text.&lt;/text&gt;

print(XmlText(text).toString(encodeCharacterEntities: false)); // <text>Just some text.</text>

print(XmlText(text, isMarkup: true)); // <text>Just some text.</text>

XML nodes that can't be identified while parsing are also stored as XmlText nodes with the isMarkup parameter set to true. This way, when writing the document unidentifiable nodes will always be returned exactly as they were found.

Extracting Text:

Properly nested plain text values can be extracted from a XML string with the parseString method.

String xmlString = '''
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes" ?>
<!DOCTYPE root SYSTEM "rootDtd" "dtd/root.dtd">
<root>
    <element>Child 1</element>
    <element>Child 2</element>
    <text>Child 3</text>
</root>
''';

print(XmlText.parseString(xmlString)); // [Child 1, Child 2, Child 3]

XmlElement's text getter will retrieve all top-level XmlText nodes from children and return their joined values as a string.

String xmlString = '''
<element>
  This text will
  <child>not be joined with this text.</child>
  be joined with this text.
</element>
''';

XmlElement element = XmlElement.fromString(xmlString);

print(element.text); // This text will be joined with this text.

print(element.firstChild.text); // not be joined with this text.

CDATA Sections

CDATA sections are parsed as XmlCdata nodes.

XmlCdata only contains a single parameter, value, a string which must not null, but may be empty.

XmlCdata's value is left unmodified by the parser, with the exception of unnecessary whitespace if the trimWhtiespace option is true.

NOTE: By default CDATA sections are captured by the parser as XmlText nodes, allowing CDATA sections to be returned as text with the XmlElement.text getter. To parse CDATA as an XmlCdata node, you can set the parseCdataAsText option to false on the toString and parseString methods that support it.

Comments

Comments are parsed as XmlComment nodes.

By default, the parsing methods on XmlDocument and the nodes that can contain children will remove comments, rather than parsing them. The parsing methods that support it, have a parseComments option, if you'd like comments to be captured, parsed, and instanced as a node.

Note: Valid XML documents don't allow comments within element tags or other node delimiters, outside of values that contain nested nodes. The parser removes comments found within nodes that don't support them, they can not be captured by any parsing methods besides XmlComment's own fromString and parseString methods.

Conditional Sections

Conditional sections are parsed as XmlConditional nodes. They have two parameters, condition and children.

Because conditionals can accept an entity for the condition, and the parser doesn't decode XML entities (it has an option to parse for HTML, hex, and ascii entities,) condition is stored as a String. For convienence, the XmlConditional class has 2 static methods, include and ignore for building XmlConditionals with the condition set to INCLUDE and IGNORE, respectively.

ENTITY Declarations

XML entities and DTD parameter entities are both parsed as XmlEntity, with the latter having the isParameter option set to true. XmlEntity has 6 other parameters, name, value, isSystem, isPublic, externalEntities, and ndata.

name and value are accepted as positional parameters and must be provided.

isSystem and isPublic define whether SYSTEM or PUBLIC flags were declared on the entity. Only one may be true.

externalEntities isn't captured by the parser when parsing an entity declaration, but can be loaded with the loadExternalEntities method, which returns a new XmlEntity instance with externalEntities set, assuming the URI stored in value can be reached, otherwise null is returned. If XmlDocument's loadExternalEntities method is called, any XmlEntitys with external entity declarations will have their external entities loaded and replaced within the document with the new XmlEntity instance.

ndata is identified by the parser by the NDATA flag. Any content found after the flag is captured as the ndata value.

NOTATION Declarations

Notation declarations are parsed as XmlNotation nodes. XmlNotation has 5 parameters, name, isSystem, isPublic, publicId, and uri.

Processing Instructions

Processing instructions are parsed as XmlProcessingInstruction nodes. XmlProcessingInstruction has 2 parameters, target and content.

As processing instructions vary by application, their content is left unmodified, with the exception of any unnecessary whitespace if the trimWhitespace option is true.

ELEMENT Type Declarations

DTD element type declarations are parsed as XmlEtd nodes.

As the parser doesn't validate XML code, XmlEtds are captured in the same way XmlProcessingInstructions are, but with name and children parameters. No distinction is made by the parser between parent and child element type declarations, and their children values are left unparsed.

ATTLIST Declarations

DTD ATTLIST declarations are parsed as XmlAttlist nodes. XmlAttlists have 5 parameters: element, attribute, type, identifier, and defaultValue.

element, attribute, and type are required, or parsing will fail, and the node will be parsed as text. identifier is optional and is parsed as an enum value, XmlAttlistIdentifier. defaultValue should only be provided with XmlAttlistIdentifier.FIXED values.

Building Documents/Nodes

xml_parser takes a hands-off approach to building documents and nodes. No building methods are provided. Instead, XmlDocument, and all nodes that can contain children, store their nested nodes in modifiable Lists.

Because every node is constant, to modify them, you must overwrite their reference within the list that contains them.

XmlDocument xmlDocument = XmlDocument([
  XmlDeclaration(version: '1.0', encoding: 'UTF-8'),
  XmlElement(name: 'root', children: [
    XmlElement(name: 'child', children: [XmlText('Child 1')]),
    XmlElement(name: 'child', children: [XmlText('Child 2')]),
    XmlElement(name: 'child', children: [XmlText('Child 3')]),
    XmlElement(name: 'child', children: [XmlText('Child 4')]),
  ]),
]);

xmlDocument.root.children[2] = XmlComment('Child 3');

print(xmlDocument.writeToFile('document.xml'));

The above code would write document.xml to the project root as:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<root>
    <child>Child 1</child>
    <child>Child 2</child>
    <!--Child 3-->
    <child>Child 4</child>
</root>

Writing Documents/Nodes

XmlDocument, and every node, have toString and toFormattedString methods.

  • toString will output unformatted XML code without any line breaks.

  • toFormattedString will format the XML code, breaking the line with each node/element, indenting each line as necessary. (Note: toFormattedString is rather rudimentary at the moment and I'd like to add additional formatting options to it at some point.)

Libraries

xml_parser