Microdata, RDFa Lite & JSON-LD structured data reader

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0.1.1 2020-12-06 00:36 UTC

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Last update: 2023-08-30 17:59:31 UTC


A PHP library to read Microdata, RDFa Lite & JSON-LD structured data in HTML pages.

This library is a foundation to read structured data in brick/schema, but may be used with other vocabularies.

Build Status Coverage Status Latest Stable Version License


This library is installable via Composer:

composer require brick/structured-data


This library requires PHP 7.2 or later. It makes use of the following extensions:

These extensions are enabled by default, and should be available in most PHP installations.

Project status & release process

This library is under development. It is likely to change fast in the early 0.x releases. However, the library follows a strict BC break convention:

The current releases are numbered 0.x.y. When a non-breaking change is introduced (adding new methods, fixing bugs, optimizing existing code, etc.), y is incremented.

When a breaking change is introduced, a new 0.x version cycle is always started.

It is therefore safe to lock your project to a given release cycle, such as 0.1.*.

If you need to upgrade to a newer release cycle, check the release history for a list of changes introduced by each further 0.x.0 version.


The library unifies reading the 3 supported formats (Microdata, RDFa Lite & JSON-LD) under a common interface:

interface Brick\StructuredData\Reader
     * Reads the items contained in the given document.
     * @param DOMDocument $document The DOM document to read.
     * @param string      $url      The URL the document was retrieved from. This will be used only to resolve relative
     *                              URLs in property values. No attempt will be performed to connect to this URL.
     * @return Item[] The top-level items.
    public function read(DOMDocument $document, string $url) : array;

There are 3 implementations of this interface, one for each format:

  • MicrodataReader
  • RdfaLiteReader
  • JsonLdReader

The read() method returns the top-level items found in the document. Every Item consists of:

  • An optional id (itemid in Microdata, resource in RDFa Lite, @id in JSON-LD)
  • An array of zero or more types; each type is a URL, for example
  • An associative array of zero or more properties; each property has a URL as a key, for example, and maps to an array of one or more values; values can be plain strings, or nested Item objects


Here is a working example that reads Microdata from a web page. Just change the URL and give it a try:

use Brick\StructuredData\Reader\MicrodataReader;
use Brick\StructuredData\HTMLReader;
use Brick\StructuredData\Item;

// Let's read Microdata here;
// You could also use RdfaLiteReader, JsonLdReader,
// or even use all of them by chaining them in a ReaderChain
$microdataReader = new MicrodataReader();

// Wrap into HTMLReader to be able to read HTML strings or files directly,
// i.e. without manually converting them to DOMDocument instances first
$htmlReader = new HTMLReader($microdataReader);

// Replace this URL with that of a website you know is using Microdata
$url = '';
$html = file_get_contents($url);

// Read the document and return the top-level items found
// Note: the URL is only required to resolve relative URLs; no attempt will be made to connect to it
$items = $htmlReader->read($html, $url);

// Loop through the top-level items
foreach ($items as $item) {
    echo implode(',', $item->getTypes()), PHP_EOL;

    foreach ($item->getProperties() as $name => $values) {
        foreach ($values as $value) {
            if ($value instanceof Item) {
                // We're only displaying the class name in this example; you would typically
                // recurse through nested Items to get the information you need
                $value = '(' . implode(', ', $value->getTypes()) . ')';

            // If $value is not an Item, then it's a plain string

            echo "  - $name: $value", PHP_EOL;

Current limitations

  • No support for the itemref attribute in MicroDataReader
  • No support for the prefix attribute in RdfaLiteReader; only predefined prefixes are supported right now
  • No proper support for @context in JsonLdReader; right now, only strings are accepted in @context, and they are considered a vocabulary identifier; this works fine with simple markup like the one used in the examples on, but may fail with more complex documents.

Note about JSON-LD's @context

While JsonLdReader should be able to handle a proper context object in the future, its goal will never be to be a fully compliant JSON-LD parser; in particular, it will never attempt to fetch a JSON-LD context referenced by a URL.

This is consistent with how indexing robots typically crawl the web, they do not fetch remote contexts, which relieves them from fetching additional documents to extract structured data from a web page.

The aim of JsonLdReader, and the other Reader implementations for that matter, is to be able to parse a document with the same capabilities as Google Structured Data Testing Tool or Yandex Structured data validator, no more, no less. These tools do not load external context files.