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Traverse XML Data Using JavaScript

Learn how to build a JavaScript app that reads data from external XML files, traverses that data, and then displays it in a tree format.


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n this article, I'll show you how to build an XML-based, client-side JavaScript app that reads data from external XML files, traverses the XML data, and displays that data in a tree format. The sample code uses the XMLDOM ActiveX object built into Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Say you have the following personal data and you want it displayed in a structured manner:

  • name: Premshree Pillai
  • sex: male
  • Websites: Websites
  • ws1: http://www.qiksearch.com
  • ws2: http://premshree.resource-locator.com
The XML looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0"?> <personal>Personal Details <name>Premshree Pillai</name> <sex>male</sex> <websites>Websites <ws1>http://www.qiksearch.com</ws1> <ws2>http://premshree.resource-locator.com</ws2> </websites> </personal>

This is the algorithm you'd use:
  1. Read the XML file
  2. Point a variable, tree to the first node (XML tag) of the XML data.
  3. If the node has child nodes:
    • Print "<ul><li>";
    • For each child node, traverse(tree.childNodes(nodeNum))
    • Print "</li></ul>";
  4. If the node does not have any child:
    • Print the node's value.


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