A simple module for parsing and composing XML.
JavaScript
Latest commit 2f6b761 Oct 25, 2016 @jhuckaby Version 1.0.10
Added the ability to customize the XML formatting (indent and EOL characters).
Can now produce "compact" XML all on one line by setting both indent and EOL to empty strings.
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README.md Version 1.0.10 Oct 25, 2016
package.json Version 1.0.10 Oct 25, 2016
xml.js Version 1.0.10 Oct 25, 2016

README.md

Overview

This module provides a lightweight, fast, easy-to-use XML parser which generates a simplified object / array tree. This can be very useful for parsing XML configuration files and the like. It is 100% pure JavaScript and has no dependencies.

  • Pure JavaScript, no dependencies
  • Very fast parser (About 6X faster than xml2js)
  • Low memory usage (About 60% less than xml2js)
  • Fully synchronous operation, no callbacks
  • Can parse XML strings, Buffers or load from files
  • Can preserve or flatten attributes
  • Can convert all keys to lower-case
  • Can serialize objects back to pretty-printed or compact XML

Usage

Use npm to install the module:

npm install pixl-xml

Then use require() to load it in your code:

var XML = require('pixl-xml');

Simplified API

The simplified API provides basic XML.parse() and XML.stringify() standalone functions for parsing and serializing XML. Also see the Object-Oriented API below, for more control over your XML.

Parse some XML by passing a string to XML.parse():

var xml_string = '<?xml version="1.0"?><Document>' + 
    '<Simple>Hello</Simple>' + 
    '<Node Key="Value">Complex</Node>' + 
    '</Document>';

var doc = XML.parse( xml_string );
console.log( doc );

That would produce an object like the following:

{
  "Simple": "Hello",
  "Node": {
    "Key": "Value",
    "_Data": "Complex"
  }
}

Note that the outermost element is omitted from the object (<Document> in this case). Also, for complex elements that have both attributes (or sub-elements) and plain data, the plain data goes into a _Data property. Multiple elements with the same name at the same level are converted to an array.

You can also pass in a path to an XML file on disk, and it'll be loaded, then parsed:

var config = XML.parse( 'conf/config.xml' );
console.log( config );

Parsing errors will be thrown as exceptions, so you'd better wrap parse() calls in a try/catch for safety:

var doc = null;
try {
    doc = XML.parse( 'my_xml_file.xml' );
}
catch (err) {
    console.log("XML Parser Error: " + err);
}
console.log( doc );

Options

You can pass an optional 2nd argument to parse(), which can be an object containing any of the following properties:

preserveAttributes

This optional property, when set to true, will cause all XML attributes to be kept separate in their own sub-object called _Attribs for each element. For example, consider this snippet:

var xml_string = '<?xml version="1.0"?><Document>' + 
    '<Simple>Hello</Simple>' + 
    '<Node Key="Value">Complex</Node>' + 
    '</Document>';

var doc = XML.parse( xml_string, { preserveAttributes: true } );
console.log( doc );

With the preserveAttributes flag set to true, this would produce the following object:

{
  "Simple": "Hello",
  "Node": {
    "_Attribs": {
      "Key": "Value"
    },
    "_Data": "Content"
  }
}

Notice the Key attribute of the <Node> element is now kept in an _Attribs sub-object. The only real purpose for this is if you expect to write the XML back out again (see Composing XML below).

lowerCase

This optional property, when set to true, will cause all keys to be lower-cased as the XML is parsed. This affects both elements and attributes. Example:

var xml_string = '<?xml version="1.0"?><Document>' + 
    '<Simple>Hello</Simple>' + 
    '<Node Key="Value">Complex</Node>' + 
    '</Document>';

var doc = XML.parse( xml_string, { lowerCase: true } );
console.log( doc );

With the lowerCase flag set to true, this would produce the following object:

{
  "simple": "Hello",
  "node": {
    "key": "Value",
    "_data": "Content"
  }
}

Note that the values themselves are not touched -- only the keys are lower-cased.

preserveDocumentNode

If you want the outermost root node (also called the document node) preserved when parsing, set the preserveDocumentNode property to true when parsing. Example:

var xml_string = '<?xml version="1.0"?><Document>' + 
    '<Simple>Hello</Simple>' + 
    '<Node Key="Value">Complex</Node>' + 
    '</Document>';

var doc = XML.parse( xml_string, { preserveDocumentNode: true } );
console.log( doc );

With the preserveDocumentNode flag set to true, this would produce the following object:

{
    "Document": {
        "Simple": "Hello",
        "Node": {
            "Key": "Value",
            "_Data": "Complex"
        }
    }
}

Composing XML

To compose XML back to a string, call XML.stringify() and pass in your pre-parsed XML object, and an outer wrapper element name. It helps to parse using the preserveAttributes option for this, as it will honor the _Attribs sub-objects and convert them back into real XML attributes. Example:

var xml_string = XML.stringify( doc, 'Document' );
console.log( xml_string );

This would produce something like:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<Document>
    <Node Key="Value">Content</Node>
    <Simple>Hello</Simple>
</Document>

Note that elements and attributes may lose their original ordering, as hashes have an undefined key order. However, to keep things consistent, they are both alphabetically sorted when serialized.

If you are composing an XML document which has the document root node preserved (see preserveDocumentNode above), simply omit the name parameter, and only pass in the object. Example:

var xml_string = XML.stringify( doc );

Compact XML

To produce compact XML output (i.e. without indentation nor EOLs) you simply have to call stringify() with three additional arguments. Pass in 0 indicating a zero indent level, and then two empty strings, one representing the indentation character (defaults to \t) and finally the EOL character (defaults to \n). Example:

var xml_string = XML.stringify( doc, 'Document', 0, "", "" );
console.log( xml_string );

This would produce something like:

<?xml version="1.0"?><Document><Node Key="Value">Content</Node><Simple>Hello</Simple></Document>

If you are composing an XML document which has the document root node preserved (see preserveDocumentNode above), simply pass in an empty string for the name parameter. Example:

var xml_string = XML.stringify( doc, "", 0, "", "" );

Object-Oriented API

In addition to the Simplified API, an object-oriented API is also available. Using this, you instantiate an XML.Parser class instance, and use that to parse, manipulate and serialize XML. The constructor accepts up to two arguments, the raw XML string, and an optional object with configuration options.

After constructing the XML.Parser object, and no error was thrown, call getTree() to get a reference to the simplified XML structure in memory, manipulate it if you want, then call compose() to serialize the object tree back into XML.

The main reason for using this API is that it preserves any PI (Processing Instruction) and DTD (Document Type Definition) elements in the source XML file, and they will be serialized into the output. Example:

var xml_string = '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><Document>' + 
    '<Simple>Hello</Simple>' + 
    '<Node Key="Value">Complex</Node>' + 
    '</Document>';

var parser = null;
try {
    parser = new XML.Parser( xml_string, { preserveAttributes: true } );
}
catch (err) {
    throw err;
}

var doc = parser.getTree();
doc.Simple = "Hello, I changed this.";

console.log( parser.compose() );

This would produce the following output:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Document>
    <Node Key="Value">Complex</Node>
    <Simple>Hello, I changed this.</Simple>
</Document>

Notice that the PI element with its encoding attribute was preserved and serialized.

To manipulate the PI nodes, access the piNodeList property on your parser object. It is an array of strings, each one representing one raw PI node sans the surrounding angle brackets, e.g. ?xml version="1.0"?. Similarly, any DTD nodes are stored in a dtdNodeList property (also an array). Feel free to change these to customize your serialized XML documents.

parser.piNodeList = [ '?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?' ];
parser.dtdNodeList = [ '!DOCTYPE MyAppConfig SYSTEM "/dtds/AppConfig.dtd"' ];

console.log( parser.compose() );

Custom XML Formatting

To produce custom XML formatting using the object-oriented API, you can pass two arguments to the compose() method. The first argument represents the indentation character (defaults to \t) and the second argument represents the EOL character (defaults to \n).

For example, to produce compact XML (i.e. all crammed onto one line) set both arguments to empty strings. Example:

console.log( parser.compose("", "") );

This would produce the following output:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?><Document><Node Key="Value">Complex</Node><Simple>Hello, I changed this.</Simple></Document>

Utility Functions

Here are a few utility functions that are provided in the package:

encodeEntities

STRING encodeEntities( STRING )

This function will take a string, and encode the three standard XML entities, ampersand (&), left-angle-bracket (<) and right-angle-bracket (>), into their XML-safe counterparts. It returns the result. Example:

var text = '<Hello>&<There>';
console.log( XML.encodeEntities(text) );
// Would output: &lt;Hello&gt;&amp;&lt;There&gt;

encodeAttribEntities

STRING encodeAttribEntities( STRING )

This function does basically the same thing as encodeEntities, but it also includes encoding for single-quotes (') and double-quotes ("). It is used for encoding an XML string for composing into an attribute value. It returns the result. Example:

var text = '<Hello>"&"<There>';
console.log( XML.encodeAttribEntities(text) );
// Would output: &lt;Hello&gt;&quot;&amp;&quot;&lt;There&gt;

decodeEntities

STRING decodeEntities( STRING )

This function decodes all the standard XML entities back into their original characters. This includes ampersand (&), left-angle-bracket (<), right-angle-bracket (>), single-quote (') and double-quote ("). It is used when parsing XML element and attribute values. Example:

var text = '&lt;Hello&gt;&quot;&amp;&quot;&lt;There&gt;';
console.log( XML.decodeEntities(text) );
// Would output: <Hello>"&"<There>

alwaysArray

ARRAY alwaysArray( MIXED )

This function will wrap anything passed to it into an array and return the array, unless the item passed is already an array, in which case it is simply returned verbatim.

var arr = XML.alwaysArray( maybe_array );

hashKeysToArray

ARRAY hashKeysToArray( OBJECT )

This function returns all the hash keys as an array. Useful for sorting and then iterating over the sorted list.

var my_hash = { foo: "bar", baz: 12345 };
var keys = XML.hashKeysToArray( my_hash ).sort();

for (var idx = 0, len = keys.length; idx < len; idx++) {
    var key = keys[idx];
    // do something with key and my_hash[key]
}

isaHash

BOOLEAN isaHash( MIXED )

This function returns true if the provided argument is a hash (object), false otherwise.

var my_hash = { foo: "bar", baz: 12345 };
var is_hash = XML.isaHash( my_hash );

isaArray

BOOLEAN isaArray( MIXED )

This function returns true if the provided argument is an array (or is array-like), false otherwise.

var my_arr = [ "foo", "bar", 12345 ];
var is_arr = XML.isaArray( my_arr );

numKeys

INTEGER numKeys( OBJECT )

This function returns the number of keys in the specified hash.

var my_hash = { foo: "bar", baz: 12345 };
var num = XML.numKeys( my_hash ); // 2

firstKey

STRING firstKey( OBJECT )

This function returns the first key of the hash when iterating over it. Note that hash keys are stored in an undefined order.

var my_hash = { foo: "bar", baz: 12345 };
var key = XML.firstKey( my_hash ); // foo or baz

Known Issues

  • Serialized XML doesn't exactly match parsed XML.
  • Unicode XML entities are not decoded when parsed.

License

The MIT License

Copyright (c) 2004 - 2016 Joseph Huckaby

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.