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xmllint — command line XML tool


xmllint [[--version] | [--debug] | [--shell] | [--debugent] | [--copy] | [--recover] | [--noent] | [--noout] | [--nonet] | [--htmlout] | [--nowrap] | [--valid] | [--postvalid] | [--dtdvalid URL] | [--dtdvalidfpi FPI] | [--timing] | [--output file] | [--repeat] | [--insert] | [--compress] | [--html] | [--xmlout] | [--push] | [--memory] | [--maxmem nbbytes] | [--nowarning] | [--noblanks] | [--nocdata] | [--format] | [--encode encoding] | [--dropdtd] | [--nsclean] | [--testIO] | [--catalogs] | [--nocatalogs] | [--auto] | [--xinclude] | [--noxincludenode] | [--loaddtd] | [--dtdattr] | [--stream] | [--walker] | [--pattern patternvalue] | [--chkregister] | [--relaxng] | [--schema] | [--c14n]] [xmlfile]


The xmllint program parses one or more XML files, specified on the command line as xmlfile. It prints various types of output, depending upon the options selected. It is useful for detecting errors both in XML code and in the XML parser itself.

It is included in libxml2.


Display the version of libxml2 used.
Parse a file and output an annotated tree of the in-memory version of the document.
Run a navigating shell. Details on available commands in shell mode are below.
Debug the entities defined in the document.
Test the internal copy implementation.
Output any parsable portions of an invalid document.
Substitute entity values for entity references. By default, xmllint leaves entity references in place.
Substitute CDATA section by equivalent text nodes.
Remove redundant namespace declarations.
Suppress output. By default, xmllint outputs the result tree.
Output results as an HTML file. This causes xmllint to output the necessary HTML tags surrounding the result tree output so the results can be displayed in a browser.
Do not output HTML doc wrapper.
Determine if the document is a valid instance of the included Document Type Definition (DTD). A DTD to be validated against also can be specified at the command line using the --dtdvalid option. By default, xmllint also checks to determine if the document is well-formed.
Validate after parsing is completed.
--dtdvalid URL
Use the DTD specified by URL for validation.
--dtdvalidfpi FPI
Use the DTD specified by the Public Identifier FPI for validation, note that this will require a Catalog exporting that Public Identifier to work.
Output information about the time it takes xmllint to perform the various steps.
--output file
Define a file path where xmllint will save the result of parsing. Usually the programs build a tree and save it on stdout, with this option the result XML instance will be saved onto a file.
Repeat 100 times, for timing or profiling.
Test for valid insertions.
Turn on gzip compression of output.
Use the HTML parser.
Used in conjunction with --html. Usually when HTML is parsed the document is saved with the HTML serializer, but with this option the resulting document is saved with the XML serializer. This is primarily used to generate XHTML from HTML input.
Use the push mode of the parser.
Parse from memory.
--maxmem nnbytes
Test the parser memory support. nnbytes is the maximum number of bytes the library is allowed to allocate. This can also be used to make sure batch processing of XML files will not exhaust the virtual memory of the server running them.
Do not emit warnings from the parser and/or validator.
Drop ignorable blank spaces.
Reformat and reindent the output. The $XMLLINT_INDENT environment variable controls the indentation (default value is two spaces " ").
Test user input/output support.
--encode encoding
Output in the given encoding.
Use the catalogs from $SGML_CATALOG_FILES. Otherwise /etc/xml/catalog is used by default.
Do not use any catalogs.
Generate a small document for testing purposes.
Do XInclude processing.
Do XInclude processing but do not generate XInclude start and end nodes.
Fetch external DTD.
Fetch external DTD and populate the tree with inherited attributes.
Remove DTD from output.
Use streaming API - useful when used in combination with --relaxng or --valid options for validation of files that are too large to be held in memory.
Test the walker module, which is a reader interface but for a document tree, instead of using the reader API on an unparsed document it works on a existing in-memory tree. Used in debugging.
Turn on node registration. Useful for developers testing libxml2 node tracking code.
--pattern patternvalue
Used to exercise the pattern recognition engine, which can be used with the reader interface to the parser. It allows to select some nodes in the document based on an XPath (subset) expression. Used for debugging.
--relaxng schema
Use RelaxNG file named schema for validation.
--schema schema
Use a W3C XML Schema file named schema for validation.
Use the W3C XML Canonicalisation (C14N) to serialize the result of parsing to stdout. It keeps comments in the result.


xmllint offers an interactive shell mode invoked with the --shell command. Available commands in shell mode include:

display XML base of the node
leave shell
cat node
Display node if given or current node.
cd path
Change the current node to path (if given and unique) or root if no argument given.
dir path
Dumps information about the node (namespace, attributes, content).
du path
Show the structure of the subtree under path or the current node.
Leave the shell.
Show this help.
Display memory usage.
load name
Load a new document with the given name.
ls path
List contents of path (if given) or the current directory.
Display the path to the current node.
Leave the shell.
save name
Saves the current document to name if given or to the original name.
Check the document for error.
write name
Write the current node to the given filename.


Catalog behavior can be changed by redirecting queries to the user's own set of catalogs. This can be done by setting the XML_CATALOG_FILES environment variable to a list of catalogs. An empty one should deactivate loading the default /etc/xml/catalog default catalog.

Debugging Catalogs

Setting the environment variable XML_DEBUG_CATALOG using the command "export XML_DEBUG_CATALOG=" outputs debugging information related to catalog operations.

Error Return Codes

On the completion of execution, Xmllint returns the following error codes:

No error
Error in DTD
Validation error
Validation error
Error in schema compilation
Error writing output
Error in pattern (generated when [--pattern] option is used)
Error in Reader registration (generated when [--chkregister] option is used)
Out of memory error