Pete Freitag Pete Freitag

RSS and XPath

Updated on December 06, 2023
By Pete Freitag

I came across a handy reference article on today that gives XPath queries for RSS and Atom feeds. Just last week I was attempting to parse a RSS 1.0 feed in CFMX using the XMLSearch coldfusion function function. I'm running into problems however due to the name spaces in RSS 1.0, here's the code I'm using:

<cfhttp url="" method="get" />
<cfset rss = XMLParse(cfhttp.filecontent)>

<!--- get an array of items --->
<cfset items = XMLSearch(rss, "/rdf:RDF/item")>
<cfdump var="#items#">

The result is that the items array is empty. I think this is a namespace issue, but I'm not really sure. Is this a bug? Anyone have an idea?

BTW if your looking to parse RSS 0.9x or 2.0 with XPath check out this older blog post.

rss xpath cfml coldfusion xml xmlsearch

RSS and XPath was first published on April 08, 2004.

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Why not just use:

XmlSearch(rss, "//item")

That way you don't have to worry about what version of RSS you're parsing... you'll always get an array of items.
by Roger Benningfield on 04/08/2004 at 2:26:30 PM UTC
Hi Roger,

I tried that as well previously, it also returned an empty array. Were you able to get that to work?

by Pete Freitag on 04/08/2004 at 2:54:45 PM UTC
This works:


as does this:


Because of the namespaces, you have to explicitly specify that 'item' has an empty namespace prefix.
by Sean Corfield on 04/08/2004 at 7:37:46 PM UTC
Ah! Good to know, thanks Sean!
by Pete Freitag on 04/08/2004 at 10:48:47 PM UTC
Pete: I took a sec to dig around in JournURL's aggregator code, and found what I'm actually using:

XmlSearch(myRSS, "//*[name()='item']")
by Roger Benningfield on 04/09/2004 at 2:33:43 AM UTC
This seems to be the one that works best for most feeds we try to parse:

XmlSearch(myRSS, "//*[name()='item']")

I have a question about looping through the resulting array. What should the xpath be when looking for the description, title and item of the children?

by Justin on 12/14/2004 at 12:31:07 PM UTC