XML-Coreutils: A Tutorial
by Laird A. Breyer
This tutorial will bring you up to speed on the xml-coreutils(7)
command line tools. These are a collection of utilities very similar
to the traditional Unix shell core utilities, but intended for reading
and writing XML files.
There are many programs and libraries of code available today which
can process XML files, but very few of them are targeted directly at
users of the Unix shell (system administrators, developers and casual
users), and practically none of them interact cleanly with the
existing Unix shell tools. The xml-coreutils are intended to fill this
You can learn about the initial design of
xml-coreutils(7) here, or you can read the
current manual pages. However, the most important thing you should
know is this:
The xml-coreutils try to be as close as possible to the traditional
Unix tools. Where it makes sense, they have the same names, the same
short command line switches, and behave the same way, except that they
work on XML files instead of ordinary text.
Let's begin. If you want to type along, you will need to have an
installed copy of xml-coreutils version 0.8 or later (this tutorial
was written with version 0.8, if you have a later version you might
see small differences in output).
Here's how to check if the tools are installed.
Open a terminal and type "xml-file" followed by the enter key as
follows (do not type the %, it's only a placeholder for your shell
Usage: xml-file [OPTION]... FILE [FILE]...
Determine type of FILE(s).
--help display this help and exit
--version display version information and exit
If you see the usage message, then xml-coreutils is already installed
and ready to be used. If you see an error message such as "No such file or
directory" then you first have to download and install xml-coreutils
from its website, or