The Oracle PL/SQL DBMS_XMLPARSER package is a powerful tool for working with XML data within the Oracle database. This package is part of Oracle’s extensive support for XML, enabling the parsing, processing, and manipulation of XML documents directly within the database. The DBMS_XMLPARSER package allows developers to parse XML data, making it easier to work with XML content by converting it into a DOM (Document Object Model) structure which can then be navigated and manipulated using PL/SQL.

Key Features and Functions

Parsing XML Documents: The primary functionality of DBMS_XMLPARSER is to parse XML documents into a DOM (Document Object Model) structure. This enables PL/SQL programs to navigate and manipulate the XML document tree structure programmatically.

Creating Parser Objects: Developers can create parser objects using the DBMS_XMLPARSER.NEWPARSER function, which acts as the starting point for XML document processing. This function initializes a new XML parser instance that can be used to parse XML documents.

Parsing from Different Sources: The package supports parsing XML content from various sources. Using functions like DBMS_XMLPARSER.PARSE, DBMS_XMLPARSER.PARSEBUFFER, or DBMS_XMLPARSER.PARSECLOB, developers can parse XML data directly from strings, buffers, or CLOBs (Character Large Objects), respectively.

Document Handling: After parsing, the XML document is represented as a DOM document, which can be manipulated or queried. The package offers functions to work with this DOM document, including extracting node values, modifying the document structure, and more.

Error Handling: DBMS_XMLPARSER includes mechanisms for error handling during the XML parsing process. This is crucial for developing robust applications that can gracefully handle malformed or invalid XML documents.

Common Use Cases

Data Integration: DBMS_XMLPARSER is commonly used in scenarios where data from external systems is integrated into the Oracle database. XML is a popular format for data exchange, and this package simplifies the process of parsing and storing XML data in Oracle tables.

Web Services and APIs: For applications that interact with web services or APIs that return XML, DBMS_XMLPARSER can parse the XML response for further processing, data extraction, or storing in the database.

Configuration and Settings: XML is often used for configuration files and settings. The package can parse configuration data stored in XML format, making it easy to dynamically configure PL/SQL applications based on XML files.


Here’s a simple example of how to use the DBMS_XMLPARSER package to parse an XML string:

  v_parser  dbms_xmlparser.parser;
  v_doc     dbms_xmldom.domdocument;
  -- Create a new parser instance
  v_parser := dbms_xmlparser.newparser;

  -- Parse the XML string
  dbms_xmlparser.parsebuffer(v_parser, 'Hello World');

  -- Get the DOM document
  v_doc := dbms_xmlparser.getdocument(v_parser);

  -- Further processing can be done using the DOM document
  -- For example, using DBMS_XMLDOM package to manipulate the DOM

  -- Free the parser to release resources

This example demonstrates the basic flow of parsing an XML string: creating a parser, parsing the XML to a DOM document, and then the potential for further processing or manipulation of the DOM document.


While DBMS_XMLPARSER is a powerful tool for XML parsing, developers should be aware of performance and security implications when processing large or complex XML documents. Efficient XML parsing and handling can significantly impact application performance, especially for large-scale or real-time applications. Additionally, security practices such as proper handling of XML external entities (XXE) should be considered to prevent XML-related security vulnerabilities.


Oracle’s DBMS_XMLPARSER package is an essential tool for PL/SQL developers working with XML data, providing a robust set of features for parsing, navigating, and manipulating XML within the Oracle database environment. Its integration with other Oracle XML DB functionalities offers a comprehensive solution for managing XML data effectively.