xmlEventParse {XML}R Documentation

XML Event/Callback element-wise Parser


Reads and processes the contents of an XML file or string by invoking user-level functions associated with different components of the XML tree. These include beginning and end of XML elements, comments, CDATA (escaped character data), entities, processing instructions, etc. This allows the caller to create the appropriate data structure from the XML document contents rather than the default tree (see xmlTreeParse). Functions for specific tags/elements can be used in addition to the standard callback names.


xmlEventParse(file, handlers=xmlEventHandler(), ignoreBlanks = FALSE, addContext=TRUE,
               useTagName=TRUE, asText = FALSE, trim=TRUE, useExpat=FALSE, isURL = FALSE,
                state = NULL, replaceEntities = TRUE)


file the source of the XML content. This can be a string givinging the name of a file or remote URL, the XML itself, a connection object, or a function. If this is a string, and asText is TRUE, the value is the XML content. This allows one to read the content separately from parsing without having to write it to a file. If asText is FALSE and a string is passed for file, this is taken as the name of a file or remote URI. If one is using the libxml parser (i.e. not expat), this can be a URI accessed via HTTP or FTP or a compressed local file. If it is the name of a local file, it can include ~, environment variables, etc. which will be expanded by R. (Note this is not the case in S-Plus, as far as I know.)
If a connection is given, the parser incrementally reads one line at a time by calling the function readLines with the connection as the first argument (and 1 as the number of lines to read). The parser calls this function each time it needs more input.
If invoking the readLines function to get each line is excessively slow, one can provide a function as the value of fileName. Again, when the XML parser needs more content to process, it invokes this function to get a string. This function is called with a single argument, the maximum size of the string that can be returned. The function is responsible for accessing the correct connection(s), etc. which is typically done via lexical scoping/environments. This mechanism allows the user to control how the XML content is retrieved in very general ways. For example, one might read from a set of files, starting one when the contents of the previous file have been consumed. This allows for the use of hybrid connection objects.
Support for connections and functions in this form is only provided if one is using libxml2 and not libxml version 1.
handlers a closure object that contains functions which will be invoked as the XML components in the document are encountered by the parser. The standard functions are startElement(), endElement() comment(), externalEntity(), entityDeclaration(), processingInstruction, text().
ignoreBlanks logical value indicating whether text elements made up entirely of white space should be included in the resulting `tree'.
addContext logical value indicating whether the callback functions in `handlers' should be invoked with contextual information about the parser and the position in the tree, such as node depth, path indices for the node relative the root, etc. If this is True, each callback function should support ....
useTagName logical value indicating whether the callback mechanism should look for a function matching the tag name in the startElement and endElement events, before calling the default handler functions. This allows the caller to handle different element types for a particular DTD with their own functions directly, rather than performing a second dispatch in startElement().
asText logical value indicating that the first argument, `file', should be treated as the XML text to parse, not the name of a file. This allows the contents of documents to be retrieved from different sources (e.g. HTTP servers, XML-RPC, etc.) and still use this parser.
trim whether to strip white space from the beginning and end of text strings.
useExpat a logical value indicating whether to use the expat SAX parser, or to default to the libxml. If this is TRUE, the library must have been compiled with support for expat. See supportsExpat.
isURL indicates whether the file argument refers to a URL (accessible via ftp or http) or a regular file on the system. If asText is TRUE, this should not be specified.
state an optional S object that is passed to the callbacks and can be modified to communicate state between the callbacks. If this is given, the callbacks should accept an argument named .state and it should return an object that will be used as the updated value of this state object. The new value can be any S object and will be passed to the next callback where again it will be updated by that functions return value, and so on. If this not specified in the call to xmlEventParse, no .state argument is passed to the callbacks. This makes the interface compatible with previous releases. .
replaceEntities logical value indicating whether to substitute entity references with their text directly. This should be left as False. The text still appears as the value of the node, but there is more information about its source, allowing the parse to be reversed with full reference information.


This is now implemented using the libxml parser. Originally, this was implemented via the Expat XML parser by Jim Clark (http://www.jclark.com).


The return value is the `handlers' argument. It is assumed that this is a closure and that the callback functions have manipulated variables local to it and that the caller knows how to extract this.


This requires the Expat XML parser to be installed.


Duncan Temple Lang


http://www.w3.org/XML, http://www.jclark.com/xml

See Also



 fileName <- system.file("exampleData", "mtcars.xml", package="XML")

   # Print the name of each XML tag encountered at the beginning of each
   # tag.
   # Uses the libxml SAX parser.
                list(startElement=function(name, attrs){cat(name,"\n")}),
                useTagName=FALSE, addContext = FALSE)

## Not run: 
  # Parse the text rather than a file or URL by reading the URL's contents
  # and making it a single string. Then call xmlEventParse
xmlURL <- "http://www.omegahat.org/Scripts/Data/mtcars.xml"
xmlText <- paste(scan(xmlURL, what="",sep="\n"),"\n",collapse="\n")
xmlEventParse(xmlText, asText=TRUE)
## End(Not run)

 # Using a state object to share mutable data across callbacks
f <- system.file("exampleData", "gnumeric.xml", package = "XML")
zz <- xmlEventParse(f,
                    handlers = list(startElement=function(name, atts,.state) {
                                                     state = .state + 1
                                                     .state}), state = 0)

if(libxmlVersion()$major >= 2) {

 startElement = function(x, ...) cat(x, "\n")

 xmlEventParse(file(f), handlers = list(startElement = startElement))

 xmlConnection = 
  function(con) {

     con = file(con, "r")
   if(isOpen(con, "r"))
     open(con, "r")

   function(len) {

     if(len < 0) {

      x = character(0)
      tmp = ""
    while(length(tmp) > 0 && nchar(tmp) == 0) {
      tmp = readLines(con, 1)
      if(length(tmp) == 0)
      if(nchar(tmp) == 0)
        x = append(x, "\n")
        x = tmp
    if(length(tmp) == 0)
    x = paste(x, collapse="")

 ff = xmlConnection(f)
 xmlEventParse(ff, handlers = list(startElement = startElement))

[Package XML version 0.97-0 Index]