Read and Write XML Files in R

Reading and writing XML files in R involves working with structured data that follows the XML (eXtensible Markup Language) format. XML is commonly used to represent hierarchical data, such as configuration files and data from web services.

Reading XML Files

For reading XML files, you can use the XML package, which provides functions to parse and manipulate XML documents. You can use the xmlParse() function to parse an XML file and create an XML document object.

  1. file is the path to the XML file.

The xmlParse() function returns an XML document object, which is a list of nodes. Each node represents an element in the XML document. The nodes can be accessed using the $ operator.

# Install and load the XML package install.packages("XML") library(XML) # Example: Reading an XML file xml_file_path <- "path/to/your/data.xml" doc <- xmlParse(xml_file_path) print(doc)

Once you've read the XML document, you can navigate and extract data from it using various functions provided by the XML package.

xmlTreeParse() function

You can also use the xmlTreeParse() function to parse an XML file and create an XML document object. The syntax is the same as the syntax for parsing an XML file using the xmlParse() function, but the xmlTreeParse() function is more efficient.

Writing XML Files

To write data to an XML file, you can use the functions from the XML package to create and populate XML elements.

# Example: Writing data to an XML file output_xml_file_path <- "path/to/your/output.xml" doc <- newXMLDoc() # Create a new XML document # Create root element root <- newXMLNode("Root") addNode(doc, root) # Create child elements and add attributes child1 <- newXMLNode("Child", attrs = c(name = "Alice")) addNode(root, child1) child2 <- newXMLNode("Child", attrs = c(name = "Bob")) addNode(root, child2) # Save the XML document to a file saveXML(doc, file = output_xml_file_path)

In this example, we create a simple XML document with a root element and two child elements, each having attributes.

Reading and Writing XML Files with the xml2 Package

Another popular package for working with XML in R is xml2. It offers a more modern and user-friendly interface for handling XML documents.

# Install and load the xml2 package install.packages("xml2") library(xml2) # Example: Reading an XML file using xml2 xml_file_path <- "path/to/your/data.xml" doc <- read_xml(xml_file_path) print(doc) # Example: Writing data to an XML file using xml2 output_xml_file_path <- "path/to/your/output.xml" doc <- xml2::xml_new_root("Root") xml2::xml_add_child(doc, "Child", name = "Alice") xml2::xml_add_child(doc, "Child", name = "Bob") xml2::write_xml(doc, path = output_xml_file_path)


Reading and writing XML files in R involves using the XML or xml2 package to manipulate structured hierarchical data. These packages provide functions for parsing, creating, and modifying XML documents, making it possible to work with XML data effectively.