Deleting XML child nodes in ActionScript3/E4X

Yesterday I needed to rid an XML node of all child nodes using ActionScript3’s E4X API. Since I’m still completely new to AS3 (and AS in general) as well as E4X I first thought the solution for this would be close to how you do it is done in DOM by just iterating over all children and executing node.removeChild(child), but for some reason, doing it this way didn’t always work out for me.

for (var i:int=children.length ; i >= 0; i--){
    delete children[i];

Don’t ask me why, it sometimes didn’t work. But there is also a shorter way to do it, anyway: After taking a closer look at the E4X API in ActionScript3, I noticed the setChildren method of the XML class. First I tried stuff like setChildren(null) and setChildren(""), but all of that resulted in quite strange results like




At least the 2nd one is understandable since probably "" creates a new empty text-node, but anyway … Another option is passing an empty XMLList to setChildren(), which finally produced what I wanted:

<node />

And setChildren(new XMLList()) is more beautiful than iterating over all children manually, anyway ;-)

In my opinion, the documentation in this area could be a little bit more complete, but I guess this was always a little bit of a problem with XML-related documentation: How to delete stuff is most of the time only mentioned in some obscure footnote ;-)