View on GitHub


Raku bindings to the libxml2 native library

[Raku LibXML Project] / [LibXML Module] / Parser

class LibXML::Parser

Parse XML with LibXML


use LibXML;

# Parser constructor

my LibXML $parser .= new: :$catalog, |%opts;

# Parsing XML

$dom = LibXML.parse(
    location => $file-or-url,
    # parser options ...
$dom = LibXML.parse(
    file => $file-or-url,
    # parser options ...
$dom = LibXML.parse(
    string => $xml-string,
    # parser options ...
$dom = LibXML.parse(
    io => $raku-file-handle,
    # parser options ...
# dispatch to above depending on type
$dom = $parser.parse($src ...);
# Parsing HTML

$dom = LibXML.parse(..., :html);
$dom = $parser.parse(..., :html);
$parser.html = True; $parser.parse(...);
# Parsing well-balanced XML chunks
my LibXML::DocumentFragment $chunk = $parser.parse-balanced( string => $wbxml);

# Processing XInclude

$parser.process-xincludes( $doc );
$parser.processXIncludes( $doc );

# Push parser
$parser.parse-chunk($string, :$terminate);
$doc = $parser.finish-push( :$recover );

# Set/query parser options

my LibXML $parser .= new: name => $value, ...;
# -OR-
$parser.set-option($name, $value);
$parser.set-options(name => $value, ...);

# XML catalogs
my LibXML $parser .= new: catalog => $catalog-file, |%opts
# -OR-
$parser.load-catalog( $catalog-file );


An XML document is read into a data structure such as a DOM tree by a piece of software, called a parser. LibXML currently provides four different parser interfaces:

Creating a Parser Instance

LibXML provides an OO interface to the libxml2 parser functions.

method new

method new(Str :$catalog, *%opts) returns LibXML
my LibXML $parser .= new: :$opt1, :$opt2, ...;

Create a new XML and HTML parser instance. Each parser instance holds default values for various parser options. Optionally, one can pass options to override default.

DOM Parser

One of the common parser interfaces of LibXML is the DOM parser. This parser reads XML data into a DOM like data structure, so each tag can get accessed and transformed.

LibXML’s DOM parser is not only able to parse XML data, but also (strict) HTML files. There are three ways to parse documents - as a string, as a Raku filehandle, or as a filename/URL. The return value from each is a LibXML::Document object, which is a DOM object.

All of the functions listed below will throw an exception if the document is invalid. To prevent this causing your program exiting, wrap the call in a try {} block

method parse

method parse(*%opts) returns LibXML::Document

my LibXML::Document $dom;

$dom = LibXML.parse(
    location => $file-or-url,
    :$html, :$URI, :$enc,
    # parser options ...
$dom = LibXML.parse(
    string => $xml-string,
    :$html, :$URI, :$enc,
    # parser options ...
$dom = LibXML.parse(
    io => $raku-path-or-file-handle,
    :$html, :$URI, :$enc,
    # parser options ...
$dom = LibXML.parse(
    buf => $raku-blob-or-buf,
    :$html, :$URI, :$enc,
    # parser options ...
$dom = LibXML.parse( $src, :$html, :$URI, :$enc,
    # parser options ...
$dom = $parser.parse(...);

This method provides an interface to the XML parser that parses given file (or URL), string, or input stream to a DOM tree. The function can be called as a class method or an object method. In both cases it internally creates a new parser instance passing the specified parser options; if called as an object method, it clones the original parser (preserving its settings) and additionally applies the specified options to the new parser. See the constructor new and Parser Options for more information.

Note: Although this method usually returns a LibXML::Document object. It can be requisitioned to return other document types by providing a :sax-handler that returns an alternate document via a publish() method. See LibXML::SAX::Builder. LibXML::SAX::Handler::XML, for example produces pure Raku XML document objects.

method parse - :html option

use LibXML::Document :HTML;  
my HTML $dom = LibXML.parse: :html, ...;
my HTML $dom = $parser.parse: :html, ...;

The :html option provides an interface to the HTML parser.

Parsing HTML may cause problems, especially if the ampersand (‘&’) is used. This is a common problem if HTML code is parsed that contains links to CGI-scripts. Such links cause the parser to throw errors. In such cases libxml2 still parses the entire document as there was no error, but the error causes LibXML to stop the parsing process. However, the document is not lost. Such HTML documents should be parsed using the recover flag. By default recovering is deactivated.

The functions described above are implemented to parse well formed documents. In some cases a program gets well balanced XML instead of well formed documents (e.g. an XML fragment from a database). With LibXML it is not required to wrap such fragments in the code, because LibXML is capable even to parse well balanced XML fragments.

method parse :file option

$doc = $parser.parse: :file( $xmlfilename );

The :file option parses an XML document from a file or network; $xmlfilename can be either a filename or an URL.

method parse :io option

$doc = $parser.parse: :io( $io-fh );

parse: :io parses an IO::Handle object.

method parse :string option

$doc = $parser.parse: :string( $xmlstring);

This function parses an XML document that is available as a single string in memory. You can pass an optional base URI string to the function.

my $doc = $parser.parse: :string($xmlstring);
my $doc = $parser.parse: :string($xmlstring), :$URI;

method parse :location option

my $location = "";
$doc = $parser.parse: :$location, :network;

This option accepts a simple filename, a file URL with a file: prefix, or a HTTP URL with a http: prefix.

The file is streamed as it is loaded, which may may be faster than fetching and loading from the URL in two stages. Please note:

method parse :html option

use LibXML::Document :HTML;
my HTML $doc;
$doc = $parser.parse: :html, :file( $htmlfile) , |%opts;
$doc = $parser.parse: :html, :io($io-fh), |%opts;
$doc = $parser.parse: :html: :string($htmlstring), |%opts;
# etc..

method parse-balanced

method parse-balanced(
    Str() string => $string,
    LibXML::Document :$doc
) returns LibXML::DocumentFragment;

This function parses a well balanced XML string into a LibXML::DocumentFragment object. The string argument contains the input XML string.

method process-xincludes (alias processXIncludes)

method process-xincludes( LibXML::Document $doc ) returns UInt;

By default LibXML does not process XInclude tags within an XML Document (see options section below). LibXML allows one to post-process a document to expand XInclude tags.

After a document is parsed into a DOM structure, you may want to expand the documents XInclude tags. This function processes the given document structure and expands all XInclude tags (or throws an error) by using the flags and callbacks of the given parser instance.

Note that the resulting Tree contains some extra nodes (of type XML_XINCLUDE_START and XML_XINCLUDE_END) after successfully processing the document. These nodes indicate where data was included into the original tree. if the document is serialized, these extra nodes will not show up.

Remember: A Document with processed XIncludes differs from the original document after serialization, because the original XInclude tags will not get restored!

If the parser flag “expand-xinclude” is set to True, you need not to post process the parsed document.

Push Parser

LibXML provides a push parser interface. Rather than pulling the data from a given source the push parser waits for the data to be pushed into it.

Please see LibXML::PushParser for more details.

For Perl compatibilty, the following methods are available to invoke a push-parser from a LibXML::Parser object.

method init-push

method init-push($first-chunk?) returns Mu

Initializes the push parser.

method push

method push($chunks) returns Mu

This function pushes a chunk to libxml2’s parser. $chunk may be a string or blob. This method can be called repeatedly.

method append

method append(@chunks) returns Mu

This function pushes the data stored inside the array to libxml2’s parser. Each entry in @chunks may be a string or blob. This method can be called repeatedly.

method finish-push

method finish-push(
    Str :$URI, Bool :$recover
) returns LibXML::Document

This function returns the result of the parsing process. If this function is called without a parameter it will complain about non well-formed documents. If :$recover is True, the push parser can be used to restore broken or non well formed (XML) documents.

Pull Parser (Reader)

LibXML also provides a pull-parser interface similar to the XmlReader interface in .NET. This interface is almost streaming, and is usually faster and simpler to use than SAX. See LibXML::Reader.

Direct SAX Parser

LibXML provides a direct SAX parser in the LibXML::SAX module.

DOM based SAX Parser

Aside from the regular parsing methods, you can access the DOM tree traverser directly, using the reparse() method:

my LibXML::Document $doc = build-yourself-a-document();
my $saxparser = $ ... );
$parser.reparse( $doc );

This is useful for serializing DOM trees, for example that you might have done prior processing on, or that you have as a result of XSLT processing.


This is NOT a streaming SAX parser. This parser reads the entire document into a DOM and serialises it. If you want a streaming SAX parser look at the LibXML::SAX man page

Serialization Options

LibXML provides some functions to serialize nodes and documents. The serialization functions are described on the LibXML::Node or the LibXML::Document documentation. LibXML checks three global flags that alter the serialization process:

They are defined globally, but can be overriden by options to the Str or Blob methods on nodes. For example:

say $doc.Str: :skip-xml-declaration, :skip-dtd, :tag-expansion;

If skip-xml-declaration is True, the XML declaration is omitted during serialization.

If skip-dtd is defined is True, the document is serialized with the internal DTD removed.

If tag-expansion is True empty tags are displayed as open and closing tags rather than the shortcut. For example the empty tag foo will be rendered as <foo></foo> rather than <foo/>.

Parser Options

method option-exists

method option-exists(Str $name) returns Bool

Returns True if the current LibXML version supports the option $name, otherwise returns False (note that this does not necessarily mean that the option is supported by the underlying libxml2 library).

method get-option

method get-option(Str $name) returns Mu

Returns the current value of the parser option, where $name is both case and snake/kebab-case independent.

Note also that boolean options can be negated via a no- prefix.

$parser.recover = False;
$ = True;

method set-option

$parser.set-option($name, $value);
$parser.option($name) = $value;
$parser."$name"() = $value;

Sets option $name to value $value.

method set-options

$parser.set-options: |%options;

Sets multiple parsing options at once.

Each of the flags listed below is labeled

Unless specified otherwise, the default for boolean valued options is False.

The available options are:

The following obsolete methods trigger parser options in some special way:

XML Catalogs

libxml2 supports XML catalogs. Catalogs are used to map remote resources to their local copies. Using catalogs can speed up parsing processes if many external resources from remote addresses are loaded into the parsed documents (such as DTDs or XIncludes).

Note that libxml2 has a global pool of loaded catalogs, so if you apply the method load-catalog to one parser instance, all parser instances will start using the catalog (in addition to other previously loaded catalogs).

Note also that catalogs are not used when a custom external entity handler is specified. At the current state it is not possible to make use of both types of resolving systems at the same time.

method load-catalog

method load-catalog( Str $catalog-file ) returns Mu;

Loads the XML catalog file $catalog-file.

# Global external entity loader (similar to ext-ent-handler option
# but this works really globally, also in XML::LibXSLT include etc..)
LibXML.external-entity-loader = &my-loader;

Error Reporting

LibXML throws exceptions during parsing, validation or XPath processing (and some other occasions). These errors can be caught by using try or CATCH blocks.

LibXML throws errors as they occur. If the try is omitted, LibXML will always halt your script by throwing an exception.

2001-2007, Ltd.

2002-2006, Christian Glahn.

2006-2009, Petr Pajas.


This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the Artistic License 2.0