Can't get node's text with XPATH from my XML using PHP


Hey everybody thanks for your time, I'm trying to parse a big XML file (pic bellow) and to get the text of specific nodes using XPATH expression in PHP.

Here is my php :

echo "[Generation Starts !]\n";
ini_set('display_errors', 1);
ini_set('display_startup_errors', 1);


if (file_exists('../source/particuliers/arborescence.xml')) {

$xml = new SimpleXMLElement(file_get_contents('../source/particuliers/arborescence.xml'));

$xml->registerXPathNamespace('dc', '');

$themes = $xml->xpath("/Arborescence/Item[@type='Theme']/Titre/text()");


$JSON = json_encode($themes, JSON_UNESCAPED_UNICODE);

file_put_contents('testing.json', $JSON);

echo "[Generation Done !]\n";

} else {

  echo "File wasn't found\n";


I won't put the whole XML file here as it is way too big but here is a pic so you see the structure

xml file

Using this XPATH expression/Arborescence/Item[@type='Theme']/Titre/text() I expected to get text from my nodes but I only have an empty array with the right number of elements in it but all empty.

Anything I'm doing wrong ?




The result ofSimpleXMLElement::xpath() is always an array of SimpleXMLElement objects (or false for an invalid expression). SimpleXMLElement object represent element nodes, but the extension does some magic for text nodes and attributes.

Stripping down the code from the question into an example:

$xml = <<<'XML'
  <Item type="Theme">

$xml = new SimpleXMLElement($xml);
$themes = $xml->xpath("/Arborescence/Item[@type='Theme']/Titre/text()");



array(1) { 
  object(SimpleXMLElement)#2 (1) { 
    string(7) "Loisirs"

The result is an array with a single SimpleXMLElement that contains the text. You can usearray_map() to cast all returned objects to strings.

$xml = new SimpleXMLElement($xml);
$themes = array_map(
    function(SimpleXMLElement $element) {
        return (string)$element;


array(1) {
  string(7) "Loisirs" 

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