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PHP Web Services

Cover of PHP Web Services by Lorna Jane Mitchell Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Preface
    1. Conventions Used in This Book
    2. Using Code Examples
    3. Safari® Books Online
    4. How to Contact Us
  2. 1. Introduction
  3. 2. HTTP
    1. Examining HTTP
      1. Curl
      2. Browser Tools
      3. PHP
  4. 3. Request and Response
    1. Clients and Servers
  5. 4. HTTP Verbs
    1. GET
    2. POST
    3. Other HTTP Verbs
  6. 5. Headers
    1. Request and Response Headers
    2. Common HTTP Headers
      1. User-Agent
      2. Headers for Content Negotiation
      3. Authorization
      4. Custom Headers
  7. 6. Cookies
    1. Cookie Mechanics
    2. Working With Cookies in PHP
  8. 7. JSON
    1. When to Choose JSON
    2. Handling JSON with PHP
    3. JSON in Existing APIs
  9. 8. XML
    1. When To Choose XML
    2. XML in PHP
    3. XML in Existing APIs
  10. 9. RPC and SOAP Services
    1. RPC
    2. SOAP
      1. WSDL
      2. PHP SOAP Client
      3. PHP SOAP Server
      4. Generating a WSDL File from PHP
      5. PHP Client and Server with WSDL
  11. 10. REST
    1. RESTful URLs
    2. Resource Structure and Hypermedia
    3. Data and Media Types
    4. HTTP Features in REST
      1. Create Resources
      2. Read Records
      3. Update Records
      4. Delete Records
    5. Additional Headers in RESTful Services
      1. Authorisation Headers
      2. Caching Headers
    6. RESTful vs Useful
  12. 11. Debugging Web Services
    1. Debug Output
    2. Logging
    3. Debugging From Outside Your Application
      1. Wireshark
      2. Charles Proxy
    4. Finding the Tool for the Job
  13. 12. Making Service Design Decisions
    1. Service Type Decisions
    2. Consider Data Formats
    3. Customisable Experiences
    4. Pick Your Defaults
  14. 13. Building a Robust Service
    1. Consistency is Key
      1. Consistent and Meaningful Naming
      2. Common Validation Rules
      3. Predictable Structures
    2. Making Design Decisions for Robustness
  15. 14. Error Handling in APIs
    1. Output Format
    2. Meaningful Error Messages
    3. What To Do When You See Errors
  16. 15. Documentation
    1. Overview Documentation
    2. API Documentation
    3. Interactive Documentation
    4. Tutorials and the Wider Ecosystem
  17. A. A Guide To Common Status Codes
  18. B. Common HTTP Headers
  19. About the Author
  20. Copyright
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Chapter 8. XML

XML is another very common data format used with APIs, and it feels familiar to us as developers. Anyone who has spent much time with the web will understand the “pointy brackets” style of XML and be able to read it. XML is a rather verbose format, the additional punctuation and scope for attributes as well as character data and nested tags can make for a large data size.

XML has many more features than JSON, and can represent a great many more things. You’ll see more of this in the chapter on SOAP, where complex data types and namespaces will come into play.

XML doesn’t have to be complicated though, we can easily represent simple data too, just as we did with JSON. Consider our shopping list again:

  • eggs
  • bread
  • milk
  • bananas
  • bacon
  • cheese

The XML representation of this list would be:

<?xml version="1.0"?>

Working with XML in PHP isn’t as easy as working with JSON. To produce the example above, the following code was used:

an example of working with XML


$list = array(

$xml = new SimpleXMLElement("<list />");
foreach($list as $item) {
    $xml->addChild("item", $item);

// for nice output
$dom = dom_import_simplexml($xml)->ownerDocument;
$dom->formatOutput = true;
echo $dom->saveXML();

We start out with the array that will be our list, then we instantiate a SimpleXMLElement object ...

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