REXML was inspired by the Electric XML library for Java, which features an easy-to-use API, small size, and speed. Hopefully, REXML, designed with the same philosophy, has these same features. I've tried to keep the API as intuitive as possible, and have followed the Ruby methodology for method naming and code flow, rather than mirroring the Java API.

REXML supports both tree and stream document parsing. Stream parsing is faster (about 1.5 times as fast). However, with stream parsing, you don't get access to features such as XPath.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'rexml'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install rexml


We'll start with parsing an XML document

require "rexml/document"
file = "mydoc.xml" )
doc = file

Line 3 creates a new document and parses the supplied file. You can also do the following

require "rexml/document"
include REXML  # so that we don't have to prefix everything with REXML::...
string = <<EOF
    <someelement attribute="nanoo">Text, text, text</someelement>
doc = string

So parsing a string is just as easy as parsing a file.


After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run rake test to run the tests. You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install. To release a new version, update the version number in version.rb, and then run bundle exec rake release, which will create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags, and push the .gem file to


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at


The gem is available as open source under the terms of the BSD-2-Clause.