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XRay parses structured content from a URL.

Discovering Content

The contents of the URL is checked in the following order:

  • A silo URL from one of the following websites:
    • Instagram
    • Twitter
    • GitHub
    • XKCD
    • (more coming soon)
  • Microformats
    • h-card
    • h-entry
    • h-event
    • h-review
    • h-recipe
    • h-product
    • h-item


XRay can be used as a library in your PHP project. The easiest way to install it and its dependencies is via composer.

composer require p3k/xray


$xray = new p3k\XRay();
$parsed = $xray->parse('');

If you already have an HTML or JSON document you want to parse, you can pass it as a string in the second parameter.

$xray = new p3k\XRay();
$html = '<html>....</html>';
$parsed = $xray->parse('', $html);

In both cases, you can add an additional parameter to configure various options of how XRay will behave. Below is a list of the options.

  • timeout - The timeout in seconds to wait for any HTTP requests
  • max_redirects - The maximum number of redirects to follow
  • include_original - Will also return the full document fetched
  • target - Specify a target URL, and XRay will first check if that URL is on the page, and only if it is, will continue to parse the page. This is useful when you're using XRay to verify an incoming webmention.

Additionally, the following parameters are supported when making requests that use the Twitter or GitHub API. See the authentication section below for details.

$xray = new p3k\XRay();

$parsed = $xray->parse('', [
  'timeout' => 30

$parsed = $xray->parse('', $html, [
  'target' => ''

The $parsed return value will look like the below. See "Primary Data" below for an explanation of the vocabularies returned.

$parsed = Array
    [data] => Array
            [type] => card
            [name] => Aaron Parecki
            [url] =>
            [photo] =>

    [url] =>
    [code] => 200


You can also use XRay to fetch all the rel values on a page, merging the list of HTTP Link headers with rel values with the HTML rel values on the page.

$xray = new p3k\XRay();
$xray->http = $this->http;
$rels = $xray->rels('');

This will return a similar response to the parser, but instead of a data key containing the parsed page, there will be rels, an associative array. Each key will contain an array of all the values that match that rel value.

$rels = Array
    [url] =>
    [code] => 200
    [rels] => Array
            [hub] => Array
                    [0] =>

            [authorization_endpoint] => Array
                    [0] =>

Customizing the User Agent

To set a unique user agent, (some websites will require a user agent be set), you can set the http property of the object to a p3k\HTTP object.

$xray = new p3k\XRay();
$xray->http = new p3k\HTTP('MyProject/1.0.0 (');


XRay can also be used as an API to provide its parsing capabilities over an HTTP service.

To parse a page and return structured data for the contents of the page, simply pass a url to the parse route.

GET /parse?url=

To conditionally parse the page after first checking if it contains a link to a target URL, also include the target URL as a parameter. This is useful when using XRay to verify an incoming webmention.

GET /parse?url=

In both cases, the response will be a JSON object containing a key of "type". If there was an error, "type" will be set to the string "error", otherwise it will refer to the kind of content that was found at the URL, most often "entry".

You can also make a POST request with the same parameter names.

If you already have an HTML or JSON document you want to parse, you can include that in the parameter body. This POST request would look like the below:

POST /parse
Content-type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded


or for Twitter/GitHub where you might have JSON,

POST /parse
Content-type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded



If the URL you are fetching requires authentication, include the access token in the parameter "token", and it will be included in an "Authorization" header when fetching the URL. (It is recommended to use a POST request in this case, to avoid the access token potentially being logged as part of the query string.) This is useful for Private Webmention verification.

POST /parse


Twitter Authentication

XRay uses the Twitter API to fetch posts, and the Twitter API requires authentication. In order to keep XRay stateless, it is required that you pass in Twitter credentials to the parse call. You can register an application on the Twitter developer website, and generate an access token for your account without writing any code, and then use those credentials when making an API request to XRay.

You should only send Twitter credentials when the URL you are trying to parse is a Twitter URL, so you'll want to check for whether the hostname is before you include credentials in this call.

  • twitter_api_key - Your application's API key
  • twitter_api_secret - Your application's API secret
  • twitter_access_token - Your Twitter access token
  • twitter_access_token_secret - Your Twitter secret access token

GitHub Authentication

XRay uses the GitHub API to fetch GitHub URLs, which provides higher rate limits when used with authentication. You can pass a GitHub access token along with the request and XRay will use it when making requests to the API.

  • github_access_token - A GitHub access token

Error Response

  "error": "not_found",
  "error_description": "The URL provided was not found"

Possible errors are listed below:

  • not_found: The URL provided was not found. (Returned 404 when fetching)
  • ssl_cert_error: There was an error validating the SSL certificate. This may happen if the SSL certificate has expired.
  • ssl_unsupported_cipher: The web server does not support any of the SSL ciphers known by the service.
  • timeout: The service timed out trying to connect to the URL.
  • invalid_content: The content at the URL was not valid. For example, providing a URL to an image will return this error.
  • no_link_found: The target link was not found on the page. When a target parameter is provided, this is the error that will be returned if the target could not be found on the page.
  • no_content: No usable content could be found at the given URL.
  • unauthorized: The URL returned HTTP 401 Unauthorized.
  • forbidden: The URL returned HTTP 403 Forbidden.

Response Format

      "text":"Hello from Homebrew Website Club PDX! Thanks to @DreamHost for hosting us! 🍕🎉 #indieweb",
      "html":"Hello from Homebrew Website Club PDX! Thanks to <a href=\"\">@DreamHost</a> for hosting us! <a href=\"\">🍕</a><a href=\"\">🎉</a> <a href=\"\">#indieweb</a>"
      "name":"Aaron Parecki",

Primary Data

The primary object on the page is returned in the data property. This will indicate the type of object (e.g. entry), and will contain the vocabulary's properties that it was able to parse from the page.

If a property supports multiple values, it will always be returned as an array. The following properties support multiple values:

  • in-reply-to
  • like-of
  • repost-of
  • bookmark-of
  • syndication
  • photo (of entry, not of a card)
  • video
  • audio
  • category

The content will be an object that always contains a "text" property and may contain an "html" property if the source documented published HTML content. The "text" property must always be HTML escaped before displaying it as HTML, as it may include unescaped characters such as < and >.

The author will always be set in the entry if available. The service follows the authorship discovery algorithm to try to find the author information elsewhere on the page if it is not inside the entry in the source document.

All URLs provided in the output are absolute URLs. If the source document contains a relative URL, it will be resolved first.

In a future version, replies, likes, reposts, etc. of this post will be included if they are listed on the page.

  "data": {
    "type": "entry",
    "like": [
        "type": "cite",
        "author": {
          "type": "card",
          "name": "Thomas Dunlap",
          "photo": "",
          "url": ""
        "url": ""
    "comment": [
        "type": "cite",
        "author": {
          "type": "card",
          "name": "Poetica",
          "photo": "",
          "url": ""
        "url": "",
        "published": "2016-01-18T03:23:03-08:00",
        "content": {
          "text": "@aaronpk @mozillapersona thanks very much! :)"

Other Properties

Other properties are returned in the response at the same level as the data property.

  • url - The effective URL that the document was retrieved from. This will be the final URL after following any redirects.
  • code - The HTTP response code returned by the URL. Typically this will be 200, but if the URL returned an alternate HTTP code that also included an h-entry (such as a 410 deleted notice with a stub h-entry), you can use this to find out that the original URL was actually deleted.


There is also an API method to parse and return all rel values on the page, including HTTP Link headers and HTML rel values.

GET /rels?url=

Token API

When verifying Private Webmentions, you will need to exchange a code for an access token at the token endpoint specified by the source URL.

XRay provides an API that will do this in one step. You can provide the source URL and code you got from the webmention, and XRay will discover the token endpoint, and then return you an access token.

POST /token


The response will be the response from the token endpoint, which will include an access_token property, and possibly an expires_in property.

  "access_token": "eyJ0eXAXBlIjoI6Imh0dHB8idGFyZ2V0IjoraW0uZGV2bb-ZO6MV-DIqbUn_3LZs",
  "token_type": "bearer",
  "expires_in": 3600

If there was a problem fetching the access token, you will get one of the errors below in addition to the HTTP related errors returned by the parse API:

  • no_token_endpoint - Unable to find an HTTP header specifying the token endpoint.


From Source

# Clone this repository

git clone
cd XRay

# Install dependencies
composer install

From Zip Archive

Web Server Configuration

Configure your web server to point to the public folder.

Make sure all requests are routed to index.php. XRay ships with .htaccess files for Apache. For nginx, you'll need a rule like the following in your server config block.

  try_files $uri /index.php?$args;