Author image Mark Fowler


Test::XML::Easy - test XML with XML::Easy


    use Test::More tests => 2;
    use Test::XML::Easy;

    is_xml $some_xml, <<'ENDOFXML', "a test";
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="latin-1">
       <baz buzz="bizz">fuzz</baz>

    is_xml $some_xml, <<'ENDOFXML', { ignore_whitespace => 1, description => "my test" };
       <baz buzz="bizz">fuzz</baz>

    isnt_xml $some_xml, $some_xml_it_must_not_be;

    is_well_formed_xml $some_xml;


A simple testing tool, with only pure Perl dependancies, that checks if two XML documents are "the same". In particular this module will check if the documents schemantically equal as defined by the XML 1.0 specification (i.e. that the two documents would construct the same DOM model when parsed, so things like character sets and if you've used two tags or a self closing tags aren't important.)

This modules is a strict superset of Test::XML's interface, meaning if you were using that module to check if two identical documents were the same then this module should function as a drop in replacement. Be warned, however, that this module by default is a lot stricter about how the XML documents are allowed to differ.


This module, by default, exports a number of functions into your namespace.

is_xml($xml_to_test, $expected_xml[, $options_hashref])

Tests that the passed XML is "the same" as the expected XML.

XML can be passed into this function in one of two ways; Either you can provide a string (which the function will parse for you) or you can pass in XML::Easy::Element objects that you've constructed yourself somehow.

This funtion takes several options as the third argument. These can be passed in as a hashref:


The name of the test that will be used in constructing the ok / not ok test output.


Ignore many whitespace differences in text nodes. Currently this has the same effect as turning on ignore_surrounding_whitespace and ignore_different_whitespace.


Ignore differences in leading and trailing whitespace between elements. This means that

  <p>foo bar baz</p>

Is considered the same as

    foo bar baz

And even

    this is my cat:<img src="" />

Is considered the same as:

    this is my cat: <img src="" />

Even though, to a web-browser, that extra space is significant whitespace and the two documents would be renderd differently.

However, as comments are completely ignored (we treat them as if they were never even in the document) the following:

  <p>foo<!-- a comment -->bar</p>

would be considered different to

    <!-- a comment -->

As it's the same as comparing the string




The same is true for processing instructions and DTD declarations.


The same as ignore_surrounding_whitespace but only ignore the whitespace immediately after an element start or end tag not immedately before.


The same as ignore_surrounding_whitespace but only ignore the whitespace immediately before an element start or end tag not immedately after.


If set to a true value ignores differences in what characters make up whitespace in text nodes. In other words, this option makes the comparison only care that wherever there's whitespace in the expected XML there's any whitespace in the actual XML at all, not what that whitespace is made up of.

It means the following

    foo bar baz

Is the same as


But not the same as


This setting has no effect on attribute comparisons.


If true, print obsessive amounts of debug info out while checking things


This prints out in the diagnostic messages the expected and actual XML on failure.

If a third argument is passed to this function and that argument is not a hashref then it will be assumed that this argument is the the description as passed above. i.e.

  is_xml $xml, $expected, "my test";

is the same as

  is_xml $xml, $expected, { description => "my test" };
isnt_xml($xml_to_test, $not_expected_xml[, $options_hashref])

Exactly the same as is_xml (taking exactly the same options) but passes if and only if what is passed is different to the not expected XML.

By different, of course, we mean schematically different according to the XML 1.0 specification. For example, this will fail:

  isnt_xml "<foo/>", "<foo></foo>";

as those are schematically the same XML documents.

However, it's worth noting that the first argument doesn't even have to be valid XML for the test to pass. Both these pass as they're not schemantically identical to the not expected XML:

  isnt_xml undef, $not_expecteded_xml;
  isnt_xml "<foo>", $not_expected_xml;

as invalid XML is not ever schemanitcally identical to a valid XML document.

If you want to insist what you pass in is valid XML, but just not the same as the other xml document you pass in then you can use two tests:

  is_well_formed_xml $xml;
  isnt_xml $xml, $not_expected_xml;

This function accepts the verbose option (just as is_xml does) but turning it on doesn't actually output anything extra - there's not useful this function can output that would help you diagnose the failure case.

is_well_formed_xml($string_containing_xml[, $description])

Passes if and only if the string passed contains well formed XML.

isnt_well_formed_xml($string_not_containing_xml[, $description])

Passes if and only if the string passed does not contain well formed XML.

A note on Character Handling

If you do not pass it an XML::Easy::Element object then these functions will happly parse XML from the characters contained in whatever scalars you passed in. They will not (and cannot) correctly parse data from a scalar that contains binary data (e.g. that you've sucked in from a raw file handle) as they would have no idea what characters those octlets would represent

As long as your XML document contains legal characters from the ASCII range (i.e. chr(1) to chr(127)) this distintion will not matter to you.

However, if you use characters above codepoint 127 then you will probably need to convert any bytes you have read in into characters. This is usually done by using Encode::decode, or by using a PerlIO layer on the filehandle as you read the data in.

If you don't know what any of this means I suggest you read the Encode::encode manpage very carefully. Tom Insam's slides at may or may not help you understand this more (they at the very least contain a cheatsheet for conversion.)

The author highly recommends those of you using latin-1 characters from a utf-8 source to use Test::utf8 to check the string for common mistakes before handing it is_xml.


Mark Fowler, <>

Copyright 2009 PhotoBox, All Rights Reserved.

This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the same terms as Perl itself.


There's a few cavets when using this module:

Not a validating parser

Infact, we don't process (or compare) DTDs at all. These nodes are completely ignored (it's as if you didn't include them in the string at all.)

Comments and processing instructions are ignored

We totally ignore comments and processing instructions, and it's as if you didn't include them in the string at all either.

Limited entity handling

We only support the five "core" named entities (i.e. &amp;, &lt;, &gt;, &apos; and &quot;) and numerical character references (in decimal or hex form.) It is not possible to declare further named entities and the precence of undeclared named entities will either cause an exception to be thrown (in the case of the expected string) or the test to fail (in the case of the string you are testing)

No namespace support

Currently this is only an XML 1.0 parser, and not XML Namespaces aware (further options may be added to later version of this module to enable namespace support)

This means the following document:

  <foo:fred xmlns:foo="" />

Is considered to be different to

  <bar:fred xmlns:bar="" />
XML whitespace handling

This module considers "whitespace" to be what the XML specification considers to be whitespace. This is subtily different to what Perl considers to be whitespace.

No node reordering support

Unlike Test::XML this module considers the order of sibling nodes to be significant, and you cannot tell it to ignore the differring order of nodes when comparing the expected and actual output.

Please see for details of how to submit bugs, access the source control for this project, and contact the author.


Test::More (for instructions on how to test), XML::Easy (for info on the underlying xml parser) and Test::XML (for a similar module that tests using XML::SchemanticDiff)