Re: guidance on how to migrate from XML to xml2, these notes from Daniel Nüst 
may be helpful:

Best wishes,

On Wed, Jan 24, 2024, at 3:38 PM, Emmanuel Blondel wrote:
> if XML is deprecated, then what would be the choice for a package 
> maintainer? Move to xml2 probably at some point I assume
> I use XML in the R packages I've been developing. For some of them, I 
> started before CRAN started being the maintainer, and before xml2 
> inception. The thing is that XML fulfills requirements, it works and 
> fulfills needs of depending packages that made the choice to use it. For 
> this, it deserves to be maintained in CRAN, without having to enter into 
> comparison exercices with other packages that , as of today, may be 
> better to rely on (with certainly very good reasons).
> Moving to xml2 (or whatever other package), which although I could agree 
> on the principle, can be costly for packages that use extensively XML. 
> Doing so would mean that we first get the assurance that all XML 
> features are covered elsewhere, and can be migrated smoothly.
> In any case, please acknowledge that this kind of migration may take 
> time and require resources that vary (or even are missing) depending on 
> the package projects. I doubt having CRAN setting a common deadline for 
> retirement is a good way to foster an efficient maintenance of R 
> packages depending on XML. It would be good to receive guidance how to 
> migrate, while ensuring backward compatibility on our package features.
> Best
> Le 24/01/2024 à 15:59, Jeroen Ooms a écrit :
>> On Mon, Jan 22, 2024 at 3:51 PM Uwe Ligges
>> <> wrote:
>>> Dear package developers,
>>> the CRAN team (and Professor Ripley in particular) has been the defacto
>>> maintainer of CRAN package 'XML'.
>>> Our hope was that maintainers of packages depending on XML will migrate
>>> to other packages for reading XML structures. This has not happened and
>>> we still see dozens of strong dependencies on XML.
>> How is this hope communicated? Many R users assume that XML package is
>> in great shape and the preferable choice because it is maintained by
>> the CRAN team and r-core members.
>> Perhaps one could follow the precedent from the rgdal retirement, and
>> set a deadline.
>> One way to communicate this effectively would be by introducing a
>> formal deprecation field in the package description. This could then
>> be displayed on the XML CRAN html page, and when loading the package
>> interactively. Other packages that import such a deprecated package
>> could be given a CMD check warning.
>> ______________________________________________
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