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Encode and decode elixir terms to XML-RPC parameters. All XML-RPC parameter types are supported, including arrays, structs and Nil (optional).

This module handles the parsing and encoding of the datatypes, but can be used in conjunction with HTTPoison, Phoenix, etc to create fully featured XML-RPC clients and servers.

XML input (ie untrusted) is validated against an XML Schema, which should help enforce correctness of input. erlsom is used to decode the xml as xmerl creates atoms during decoding, which has the risk that a malicious client can exhaust out atom space and crash the vm.


Add XML-RPC to your mix dependencies

def deps do
  [{:xmlrpc, "~> 1.0"}]

Then run mix deps.get and mix deps.compile.


XML-RPC only allows limited parameter types. We map these to Elixir as follows:

<boolean> Boolean, eg true/false
<string> Bitstring, eg "string"
<int> (<i4>) Integer, eg 17
<double> Float, eg -12.3
<array> List, eg [1, 2, 3]
<struct> Map, eg %{key: "value"}
<dateTime.iso8601> %XMLRPC.DateTime
<base64> %XMLRPC.Base64
<nil/> (optional) nil

Note that array and struct parameters can be composed of the fundamental types, and you can nest to arbitrary depths. (int inside a struct, inside an array, inside a struct, etc). Common practice seems to be to use a struct (or sometimes an array) as the top level to pass (named) each way.

The XML encoding is performed through a protocol and so abstract datatypes can be encoded by implementing the XMLRPC.ValueEncoder protocol.


Nil is not defined in the core specification, but is commonly implemented as an option. The use of nil is enabled by default for encoding and decoding. If you want a input to be treated as an error then pass [exclude_nil: true] in the options parameter


The XML-RPC api consists of a call to a remote url, passing a "method_name" and a number of parameters.

%XMLRPC.MethodCall{method_name: "test.sumprod", params: [2,3]}

The response is either "failure" and a fault_code and fault_string, or a response which consists of a single parameter (use a struct/array to pass back multiple values)

%XMLRPC.Fault{fault_code: 4, fault_string: "Too many parameters."}

%XMLRPC.MethodResponse{param: 30}

To encode/decode to xml use XMLRPC.encode/2 or XMLRPC.decode/2


Client using HTTPoison

HTTPoison can be used to talk to the remote API. To encode the body we can simply call XMLRPC.encode/2, and then decode the response with XMLRPC.decode/2

request_body = %XMLRPC.MethodCall{method_name: "test.sumprod", params: [2,3]}
                |> XMLRPC.encode!
"<?xml version=\"1.0\" encoding=\"UTF-8\"?><methodCall><methodName>test.sumprod</methodName><params><param><value><int>2</int></value></param><param><value><int>3</int></value></param></params></methodCall>"

# Now use HTTPoison to call your RPC
response = HTTPoison.post!("http://www.advogato.org/XMLRPC", request_body).body

# eg
response = "<?xml version=\"1.0\"?><methodResponse><params><param><value><array><data><value><int>5</int></value><value><int>6</int></value></data></array></value></param></params></methodResponse>"
            |> XMLRPC.decode
{:ok, %XMLRPC.MethodResponse{param: [5, 6]}}

See the HTTPoison docs for more details, but you can also wrap the base API and have HTTPoison automatically do your encoding and decoding. In this way its very simple to build higher level APIs

defmodule XMLRPC do
  use HTTPoison.Base

  def process_request_body(body), do: XMLRPC.encode(body)
  def process_response_body(body), do: XMLRPC.decode(body)

iex> request = %XMLRPC.MethodCall{method_name: "test.sumprod", params: [2,3]}
iex> response = HTTPoison.post!("http://www.advogato.org/XMLRPC", request).body
{:ok, %XMLRPC.MethodResponse{param: [5, 6]}}

HTTPoison allows you to hook into other parts of the request process and handle authentication, URL schemes and easily build out a complete API module.


Using say Phoenix, you can handle an incoming request and decode as above. XMLRPC implements the encode_to_iodata! call, which allows pluggable response handlers to automatically encode your response