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(PHP 5, PHP 7, PHP 8)

SimpleXMLElement::asXML Return a well-formed XML string based on SimpleXML element


public SimpleXMLElement::asXML(?string $filename = null): string|bool

The asXML method formats the parent object's data in XML version 1.0.



If a string value is provided, the function writes the data to the file rather than returning it.

Return Values

If the filename isn't specified, this function returns a string on success and false on error. If the parameter is specified, it returns true if the file was written successfully and false otherwise.


Version Description
8.0.0 filename is nullable now.


Example #1 Get XML

= <<<XML

$xml = new SimpleXMLElement($string);



The above example will output:

<?xml version="1.0"?>

asXML also works on Xpath results:

Example #2 Using asXML() on SimpleXMLElement::xpath() results

// Continued from example XML above.

/* Search for <a><b><c> */
$result $xml->xpath('/a/b/c');

foreach (
$result as $node) {

The above example will output:


See Also

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User Contributed Notes 3 notes

andreas dot theissen at t-online dot de
9 years ago
To prevent asXML from encoding vowels unwantedly, simply use an approriate XML header with encoding in advance.

If you do so, asXML will happily leave your vowels (and the header) entirely untouched.


'<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  <key lang="en">&lt;Insert&gt;</key>
  <key lang="de">&lt;Einfügen&gt;</key>

$sxe = new SimpleXMLElement($xmlstr);

$output = $sxe->asXML();


$xmlstr and $output are identical now.

The subsequent use of html_entity_decode() (as proposed in the very beginning in another post) has several drawbacks:

1. It is slow
2. It is expensive
3. If there are already encoded arrow brackets or double quotes in your source for instance (as shown in the above example), markup will be broken.
oleg dot pavlin at gmail dot com
10 years ago
Function asXML decodes special chars like ø, æ and others to &#xE6;, &#xF8;

To get normal output use without quoting:

$xml = html_entity_decode($xml, ENT_NOQUOTES, 'UTF-8');
jcr at di dot uminho dot pt
11 years ago
Code snippet to load a XML document, increment an attribute and store it again.
My XML looks like:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?>
<doctypes counter="16">
    <doctype id="d1">

I want to retrieve the counter attribute, increment it, and store the new document at the end:

= simplexml_load_file("mydoc.xml");
$cont = (integer) $document['counter'];
$document['counter'] = $cont+1;
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