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.


See the API documentation.


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.


REXML support follows the same maintenance cycle as Ruby releases, as shown on

If you are running on an end-of-life Ruby, do not expect modern REXML releases to be compatible with it; in fact, it’s recommended that you DO NOT use this gem, and instead use the REXML version that came bundled with your end-of-life Ruby version.

The required_ruby_version on the gemspec is kept updated on a best-effort basis by the community. Up to version 3.2.5, this information was not set. That version is known broken with at least Ruby < 2.3.


After checking out the repo, run rake test to run the tests.

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.