How to Convert XML to JSON in JavaScript

We can use the xml-js library from NPM to easily convert XML to JSON in JavaScript, i.e.:

import { xml2json } from 'xml-js';

// ...

const json = xml2json(xml);

For example:

index.js

import { xml2json } from 'xml-js';

const xml = `<name>Garage</name>
<cars>
    <color>red</color>
    <maxSpeed>120</maxSpeed>
    <age>2</age>
</cars>
<cars>
    <color>blue</color>
    <maxSpeed>100</maxSpeed>
    <age>3</age>
</cars>
<cars>
    <color>green</color>
    <maxSpeed>130</maxSpeed>
    <age>2</age>
</cars>`;

const json = xmltojson(xml, );

console.log(json);

This code will have the following output:

{"declaration":{"attributes":{"version":"1.0","encoding":"UTF-8"}},"elements":[{"type":"element","name":"languages","elements":[{"type":"element","name":"language","elements":[{"type":"text","text":"\n      English\n   "}]},{"type":"element","name":"language","elements":[{"type":"text","text":"\n      French\n   "}]},{"type":"element","name":"language","elements":[{"type":"text","text":"\n      Spanish\n   "}]}]}]}

What are XML and JSON?

Let’s go through these terms in case you’re not familiar with them

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a markup language similar to HTML that was designed to store and transport data. Unlike HTML, XML doesn’t have any predefined tags. Instead, we define our own tags according to our requirements.

JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) is a text format used to store and transport data based on JavaScript object syntax and is commonly used to build RESTful APIs.

Install xml-js

Before using xml-js, we need to install it in our project. We can do this with the NPM CLI.

npm i xml-js

Or with the Yarn CLI:

yarn add xml-js

After installation, we’ll be able to import it into a JavaScript module, like this:

import { xml2json } from 'xml-js';

We use import destructuring to access the xml2json() method directly from the library.

For a CommonJS module, we’ll import it like this instead:

const { xml2json } = require('xml-js');

The xml2json() function

The xml2json() function has two parameters. The first is the XML string to convert to JSON, and the second is an optional object.

const json = xml2json(xml, { spaces: 2, compact: true });

Customize conversion of XML to JSON

We use this object to specify various options for customizing the conversion process.

In our example, we don’t pass an object, so the default options are used. We can pass an object with a spaces option to properly format and indent the resulting JSON.

import { xml2json } from 'xml-js';

const xml = `<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<languages>
   <language>
      English
   </language>
   <language>
      French
   </language>
   <language>
      Spanish
   </language>
</languages>`;

// 👇 Set "spaces" option
const json = xml2json(xml, { spaces: 2 });

console.log(json);

Here’s the new output:

{
  "declaration": {
    "attributes": {
      "version": "1.0",
      "encoding": "UTF-8"
    }
  },
  "elements": [
    {
      "type": "element",
      "name": "languages",
      "elements": [
        {
          "type": "element",
          "name": "language",
          "elements": [
            {
              "type": "text",
              "text": "\n      English\n   "
            }
          ]
        },
        {
          "type": "element",
          "name": "language",
          "elements": [
            {
              "type": "text",
              "text": "\n      French\n   "
            }
          ]
        },
        {
          "type": "element",
          "name": "language",
          "elements": [
            {
              "type": "text",
              "text": "\n      Spanish\n   "
            }
          ]
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

The compact property to determine whether the resulting JSON should be detailed or compact. It is false by default.

import { xml2json } from 'xml-js';

const xml = `<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<languages>
   <language>
      English
   </language>
   <language>
      French
   </language>
   <language>
      Spanish
   </language>
</languages>`;

// 👇 Set "compact" option
const json = xml2json(xml, { spaces: 2, compact: true });

console.log(json);

Now the resulting JSON will have a significantly smaller size than before:

{
  "_declaration": {
    "_attributes": {
      "version": "1.0",
      "encoding": "UTF-8"
    }
  },
  "languages": {
    "language": [
      {
        "_text": "\n      English\n   "
      },
      {
        "_text": "\n      French\n   "
      },
      {
        "_text": "\n      Spanish\n   "
      }
    ]
  }
}


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