Convert a (nested)HTML unordered list of links to PHP array of links

I have a regular, nested HTML unordered list of links, and I'd like to scrape it with PHP and convert it to an array.

The original list looks something like this:

<li><a href="">First item</a>
    <li><a href="">Child of First Item</a></li>
    <li><a href="">Second Child of First Item</a></li>
<li><a href="">Second item</a></li>
<li><a href="">Third item</a></li>
<li><a href="">Fourth item</a></li>

Any of the items can have children.

(The actual screen scraping is not a problem, I can do that.)

I'd like to turn this into a PHP array, of just the links, while keeping the hierarchical nature of the list. Any ideas?

I've looked at using htmlsimpledom and phpQuery, which both use jQuery like syntax. But, I can't seem to get the syntax right. I can get all the links, but I end up losing the hierarchical nature and order.



Use DOMDocument and SimpleXMLElement along the lines of:

$doc = new DOMDocument();
$xmlStr = $doc->saveXml($doc->documentElement);

$xml = new SimpleXmlElement($xmlStr);

$links = array();

foreach ($xml->xpath('//a') as $li) {
    $links[] = $li->attributes()->href;

If href is being added to $links as a SimpleXMLElement, use ob_start and ob_clean to capture the string.

Cheat sheet for xpath queries (pdf)

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