You can deserialize complex nested Xml files into DTO Classes in Symfony in very simple steps using the JMS Serializer Bundle. Just follow these steps:


Step 1: Install Required Packages
Make sure you have the JMS Serializer Bundle installed. You can install it using Composer:

composer require jms/serializer-bundle


Step 2: Configure JMS Serializer Bundle
Configure the JMS Serializer Bundle in your Symfony application. Open your config/packages/jms_serializer.yaml file and add the following configuration:

        auto_detection: true

This configuration enables the JMS Serializer Bundle to automatically detect and use your DTO classes. For more configuration settings refer to the JMS Serializer Config page.


Step 3: Create DTO Classes

Create the DTO classes that represent your XML structure. These classes should have properties that match the XML elements and attributes. You don't need to define getters and setters explicitly as this is a DTO Class and not a Model Class.

use JMS\Serializer\Annotation as Serializer;

/** @Serializer\XmlRoot("root") */
class RootDto
    /** @Serializer\SerializedName("parent") */
    public $parent;

class ParentDto
    /** @Serializer\SerializedName("child") */
    public $child;

class ChildDto
    /** @Serializer\SerializedName("name") */
    public $name;

    /** @Serializer\SerializedName("age") */
    public $age;

In the above example, we use annotations from the JMS Serializer Bundle to define the XML structure and mappings for each property. The @Serializer\SerializedName annotation specifies the name of the XML element or attribute associated with the property.


Step 4: Deserialize the XML

Now, you can use the JMS Serializer Bundle to deserialize the XML data into your DTO classes.

use JMS\Serializer\SerializerInterface;

// ...

class YourController
    private $serializer;

    public function __construct(SerializerInterface $serializer)
        $this->serializer = $serializer;

    public function yourAction()
        $xmlData = '<root>...</root>'; // XML data as a string

        // Deserialize the XML into the RootDto object
        $rootDto = $this->serializer->deserialize($xmlData, RootDto::class, 'xml');

        // Access the deserialized data
        $parent = $rootDto->parent;
        $child = $parent->child;
        $name = $child->name;
        $age = $child->age;

        // Do something with the data

        // ...

In the above code, you inject the SerializerInterface into your controller and use the deserialize method to convert the XML data into your RootDto object. The third parameter xml specifies the format of the input data.


If you have several different endpoints consuming different xml, you may want to implement the same strategy I used in this article: Using DTOs in PHP Symfony

you just need to change json for xml and works like a charm even if the xml structure is quite complex.


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