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Parsing (X)HTML strings - PHP

As a PHP developer, you've probably developed database-driven applications that deliver their contents in (X)HTML format to the end user. If so, you know that when you work directly with hard-coded (X)HTML files, you risk forgetting to close tags and DTD headers, making the process annoying and time-consuming. Keep reading; help is on the way.

  1. Working with the Tidy Library in PHP 5
  2. Parsing (X)HTML strings
  3. Implementing the tidy_clean_repair() function
  4. Using the tidy_parse_file() and tidy_repair_file() functions
By: Alejandro Gervasio
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 3
June 26, 2007

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As I stated in the beginning of this article, the Tidy library can be really useful in those cases where a specific section of (X)HTML has been badly formatted and, in consequence, it needs to be fixed quickly.

With reference to performing this code-correcting process, Tidy is packaged with a neat set of format-cleaning functions, starting with the one called "tidy_parse_string()" whose implementation is demonstrated by the example below:

// example of 'tidy_parse_string()' function
   <title>This file will be parsed by Tidy</title>
   <p>This is an erroneous line
   <p>This is another erroneous line</i>
echo $tidy;

/* displays the following:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
        This file will be parsed by Tidy
    <p>This is an erroneous line</p>
    <p>This is another erroneous line</p>

As you can see, there are some important things to note with reference to the above example. First, I used the previously mentioned "tidy_parse_string()" function along with a few simple formatting input parameters to logically parse a specified (X)HTML string. In this case, the string in question has been placed into an output buffer, and then interpreted. This condition can be easily modified, however -- for instance, to read the respective data via a native PHP function.

Besides, you should notice that the "tidy_parse_string()" function returns to client code a new "Tidy" object, which has a bunch of methods and properties that can be really useful to perform a variety of tasks, including the correction of missing and erroneous tags. The previous example shows how to format properly the prior (X)HTML string via the "cleanRepair()" method.

And finally, you can see that the sample string has been fixed, not only by correcting its erroneous <p> and </li> tags, but adding on top of it a DTD statement. Undoubtedly, after studying the previous code sample, you'll have to agree with me that using the Tidy extension with PHP 5 is indeed a no-brainer process, right?

Okay, at this point I showed you how to use the "tidy_parse_string()" function, with the purpose of parsing and formatting correctly some basic (X)HTML markup. However, Tidy has another function called "tidy_clean_repair()," which as you'll see in a moment, can also be helpful for repairing badly-formatted (X)HTML strings.

To learn how this brand new Tidy function will be implemented, please jump into the following lines and keep reading.

>>> More PHP Articles          >>> More By Alejandro Gervasio

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