PHP Tutorial

PHP HOME PHP Intro PHP Install PHP Syntax PHP Comments PHP Variables PHP Echo / Print PHP Data Types PHP Strings PHP Numbers PHP Math PHP Constants PHP Operators PHP If...Else...Elseif PHP Switch PHP Loops PHP Functions PHP Arrays PHP Superglobals PHP RegEx

PHP Forms

PHP Form Handling PHP Form Validation PHP Form Required PHP Form URL/E-mail PHP Form Complete

PHP Advanced

PHP Date and Time PHP Include PHP File Handling PHP File Open/Read PHP File Create/Write PHP File Upload PHP Cookies PHP Sessions PHP Filters PHP Filters Advanced PHP Callback Functions PHP JSON PHP Exceptions


PHP What is OOP PHP Classes/Objects PHP Constructor PHP Destructor PHP Access Modifiers PHP Inheritance PHP Constants PHP Abstract Classes PHP Interfaces PHP Traits PHP Static Methods PHP Static Properties PHP Namespaces PHP Iterables

MySQL Database

MySQL Database MySQL Connect MySQL Create DB MySQL Create Table MySQL Insert Data MySQL Get Last ID MySQL Insert Multiple MySQL Prepared MySQL Select Data MySQL Where MySQL Order By MySQL Delete Data MySQL Update Data MySQL Limit Data


PHP XML Parsers PHP SimpleXML Parser PHP SimpleXML - Get PHP XML Expat PHP XML DOM



PHP Examples

PHP Examples PHP Compiler PHP Quiz PHP Exercises PHP Certificate

PHP Reference

PHP Overview PHP Array PHP Calendar PHP Date PHP Directory PHP Error PHP Exception PHP Filesystem PHP Filter PHP FTP PHP JSON PHP Keywords PHP Libxml PHP Mail PHP Math PHP Misc PHP MySQLi PHP Network PHP Output Control PHP RegEx PHP SimpleXML PHP Stream PHP String PHP Variable Handling PHP XML Parser PHP Zip PHP Timezones

PHP. Lessons for beginners


PHP XML Expat Parser

The built-in XML Expat Parser makes it possible to process XML documents in PHP.

The XML Expat Parser

The Expat parser is an event-based parser.

Look at the following XML fraction:


An event-based parser reports the XML above as a series of three events:

  • Start element: from
  • Start CDATA section, value: Jani
  • Close element: from

The XML Expat Parser functions are part of the PHP core. There is no installation needed to use these functions.

The XML File

The XML file "note.xml" will be used in the example below:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<body>Don't forget me this weekend!</body>

Initializing the XML Expat Parser

We want to initialize the XML Expat Parser in PHP, define some handlers for different XML events, and then parse the XML file.


// Initialize the XML parser

// Function to use at the start of an element
function start($parser,$element_name,$element_attrs) {
  switch($element_name) {
    case "NOTE":
    echo "-- Note --<br>";
    case "TO":
    echo "To: ";
    case "FROM":
    echo "From: ";
    case "HEADING":
    echo "Heading: ";
    case "BODY":
    echo "Message: ";

// Function to use at the end of an element
function stop($parser,$element_name) {
  echo "<br>";

// Function to use when finding character data
function char($parser,$data) {
  echo $data;

// Specify element handler

// Specify data handler

// Open XML file

// Read data
while ($data=fread($fp,4096)) {
  xml_parse($parser,$data,feof($fp)) or
  die (sprintf("XML Error: %s at line %d",

// Free the XML parser
Run example »

Example explained:

  1. Initialize the XML parser with the xml_parser_create() function
  2. Create functions to use with the different event handlers
  3. Add the xml_set_element_handler() function to specify which function will be executed when the parser encounters the opening and closing tags
  4. Add the xml_set_character_data_handler() function to specify which function will execute when the parser encounters character data
  5. Parse the file "note.xml" with the xml_parse() function
  6. In case of an error, add xml_error_string() function to convert an XML error to a textual description
  7. Call the xml_parser_free() function to release the memory allocated with the xml_parser_create() function

More PHP XML Expat Parser

For more information about the PHP Expat functions, visit our PHP XML Parser Reference.