XML::PatAct::ToObjects − An action module for creating Perl objects


 use XML::PatAct::ToObjects;
 my $patterns = [ PATTERN => [ OPTIONS ],
                  PATTERN => "PERL−CODE",
                  ... ];
 my $matcher = XML::PatAct::ToObjects−>new( Patterns => $patterns,
                                            Matcher => $matcher,
                                            CopyId => 1,
                                            CopyAttributes => 1 );


XML::PatAct::ToObjects is a PerlSAX handler for applying pattern-action lists to XML parses or trees. XML::PatAct::ToObjects creates Perl objects of the types and contents of the action items you define.

New XML::PatAct::ToObject instances are creating by calling ‘new()’. Parameters can be passed as a list of key, value pairs or a hash. ‘new()’ requires the Patterns and Matcher parameters, the rest are optional:

The pattern-action list to apply.


An instance of the pattern or query matching module.


Causes the ‘ ID ’ attribute, if any, in a source XML element to be copied to an ‘ ID ’ attribute in newly created objects. Note that IDs may be lost of no pattern matches that element or an object is not created ("−make") for that element.


Causes all attributes of the element to be copied to the newly created objects.

Each action can either be a list of options defined below or a string containing a fragment of Perl code. If the action is a string of Perl code then simple then some simple substitutions are made as described further below.

Options that can be used in an action item containing an option-list:

Ignore this element, but continue processing it’s children (compare to −ignore). "−pcdata" may be used with this option.


Ignore (discard) this element and it’s children (compare to −holder).


Character data in this element should be copied to the "Contents" field.


Create an object blessed into PACKAGE , and continue processing this element and it’s children. PACKAGE may be the type ‘"HASH"’ to simply create an anonyous hash.


Use ARGUMENTS in creating the object specified by −make. This is commonly used to copy element attributes into fields in the newly created object. For example:

  −make => 'HASH', −args => 'URL => %{href}'

would copy the ‘"href"’ attribute in an element to the ‘"URL"’ field of the newly created hash.

−field FIELD

Store this element, object, or children of this element in the parent object’s field named by FIELD .

−push−field FIELD

Similar to −field, except that FIELD is an array and the contents are pushed onto that array.

−value VALUE

Use VALUE as a literal value to store in FIELD , otherwise ignoring this element and it’s children. Only valid with −field or −push−field. ‘"%{ATTRIBUTE}"’ notation can be used to substitute the value of an attribute into the literal value.


Convert the contents of this element to a string (as in "XML::Grove::AsString") and store in FIELD . Only valid with −field or −push−field.


Copy this element to FIELD without further processing. The element can then be processed later as the Perl objects are manipulated. Only valid with −field or −push−field. If ToObjects is used with PerlSAX, this will use XML::Grove::Builder to build the grove element.


Used with −make, −grove−contents creates an object but then takes all of the content of that element and stores it in Contents.

If an action item is a string, that string is treated as a fragment of Perl code. The following simple substitutions are performed on the fragment to provide easy access to the information being converted:

The object that caused this action to be called. If ToObjects is used with PerlSAX this will be a hash with the element name and attributes, with XML::Grove this will be the element object, with Data::Grove it will be the matching object, and with XML::DOM it will be an XML::DOM::Element.


The example pattern-action list below will convert the following XML representing a Database schema:

        <summary>A short summary</summary>
        <description>A long description that may
          contain a subset of HTML</description>
          <summary>A short summary</summary>
          <description>A long description</description>

into Perl objects looking like:

      { Name => "MyTable",
        Summary => "A short summary",
        Description => $grove_object,
        Columns => [
          { Name => "MyColumn1",
            Summary => "A short summary",
            Description => $grove_object,
            Unique => 1,
            NonNull => 1,
            Default => 42

Here is a Perl script and pattern-action list that will perform the conversion using the simple name matching pattern module XML::PatAct::MatchName. The script accepts a Schema XML file as an argument ($ARGV[0]) to the script. This script creates a grove as one of it’s objects, so it requires the XML::Grove module.

    use XML::Parser::PerlSAX;
    use XML::PatAct::MatchName;
    use XML::PatAct::ToObjects;
    my $patterns = [
      'schema'      => [ qw{ −holder                                  } ],
      'table'       => [ qw{ −make Schema::Table                      } ],
      'name'        => [ qw{ −field Name −as−string                   } ],
      'summary'     => [ qw{ −field Summary −as−string                } ],
      'description' => [ qw{ −field Description −grove                } ],
      'column'      => [ qw{ −make Schema::Column −push−field Columns } ],
      'unique'      => [ qw{ −field Unique −value 1                   } ],
      'non−null'    => [ qw{ −field NonNull −value 1                  } ],
      'default'     => [ qw{ −field Default −as−string                } ],
    my $matcher = XML::PatAct::MatchName−>new( Patterns => $patterns );
    my $handler = XML::PatAct::ToObjects−>new( Patterns => $patterns,
                                               Matcher => $matcher);
    my $parser = XML::Parser::PerlSAX−>new( Handler => $handler );
    my $schema = $parser−>parse(Source => { SystemId => $ARGV[0] } );


It’d be nice if patterns could be applied even in −as−string and −grove.

Implement Perl code actions.

−as−xml to write XML into the field.


Ken MacLeod, ken@bitsko.slc.ut.us


perl(1), Data::Grove(3)

‘‘Using PatAct Modules’’ and ‘‘Creating PatAct Modules’’ in libxml-perl.


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