How to get data from XML file in PHP

In this article, you will learn to get data from XML file using PHP programming language.

XML(Extensible Markup Language) servers the best choice to use in web services and data transports. It is widely used in web applications. We can easily render data stored in XML as it stores data in a formatted way, that is easy to search and understand. It makes easier for an informative application to store, retrieve and display data. It is widely used in business to business transactions, generating metadata, e-commerce applications and so on.

PHP provides a set of methods that help in XML creation and manipulation. By using SimpleXML extension, we can easily get XML data. XML data is returned from webservices and with the help of SimpleXML, we can easily parse the data.

Simple XML Manipulation In PHP

Suppose, the web service returns the following student data in an XML file 'students.xml' -


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="iso-8859-1"?>
<students>
<student>
<firstname>John</firstname>
<lastname>Player</lastname>
<age>12</age>
<class>5</class>
</student>
<student>
<firstname>Smith</firstname>
<lastname>Soy</lastname>
<age>11</age>
<class>4</class>
</student>
</students> 


PHP simplexml_load_file()

The simplexml_load_file() function interprets an XML file into an object. It returns an object with properties containing the data held within the XML document.


<?php
$studentdata = simplexml_load_file('students.xml');
if(!$studentdata){
    echo 'Fail to load XML file';
}
else{
    foreach($studentdata as $student){
        echo 'Firstname: '.$student->firstname.'<br/>';
        echo 'Lastname: '.$student->lastname.'<br/>';
        echo 'Age: '.$student->age.'<br/>';
        echo 'Class: '.$student->class.'<br/><br/>';
    }
}
?>    

When you run the above code in the browser, it returns the data in the given format -

Firstname: John 
Lastname: Player
Age: 12
Class: 5

Firstname: Smith
Lastname: Soy
Age: 11
Class: 4


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