Is there a similar way to select / perform DOM manipulation on the server-side (PHP) like the way jQuery works?

For example, if I wanted to modify content of each <pre class="raw">...</pre> elements inside of a post content, in jQuery you can easily capture them all with:

//In jQuery, this will obtain a collection of <PRE> elements with class "raw":
$("pre.raw").each( function(index,tag) {
    //Modify content of each PRE tags here...
    tag.innerHTML = tag.innerHTML.replace( ..., ... );

In PHP however, I'm trying to do this by adding a filter to "the_content", which will then do some string replacements only inside each of those <pre class="raw"> elements.

Does WordPress already have some built-in utility method to grab elements this way? Or does some 3rd party PHP script exists that will do this?

2 Answers 2


You may also take a look at phpQuery.

  • Unfortunately, it doesn't preserve the XML self-closing tags when parsing the string. Nov 21, 2011 at 19:06
  • If this is a problem for you, you may consider Tidy with hide-endtags option Nov 21, 2011 at 19:36

Answering to myself (and perhaps some other developers curious about this question), there is a PHP server-side script that can manipulate the DOM just like jQuery can:


Althought the syntax isn't exactly the same (doesn't use the dollar $ sign as the jQuery object), the functionality works basically the same.

Example (taken from the above link):

$html = file_get_html('http://www.google.com/');

// Find all images 
foreach($html->find('img') as $element) 
       echo $element->src . '<br>';

// Find all links 
foreach($html->find('a') as $element) 
       echo $element->href . '<br>';
  • Replacing content in the $element->innertext property seems to discard all the new-line characters... NO GOOD! :( Nov 21, 2011 at 19:07

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