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The Ruby and Rails community linklog

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Ruby XML Parsing Benchmarks

I recently benchmarked Hpricot and REXML for XML parsing and found REXML much faster. (Update: Actually, turns out Hpricot is faster.)


My colleague and I recently benchmarked REXML and libxml and found that they have very similar behavior/performance for small XML docs, but when you get into the large documents, libxml was SIGNIFICANTLY faster. Sorry I don’t have any numbers handy, but if you are processing large docs, libxml is likely going to be your friend.

I was going to add libxml to the benchmark because I have heard it is very fast by it kept crashing irb when I was playing around - not a good sign. Add to that the lack of good documentation (unless my google_fu was just lacking) and I think I’ll stick to REXML at least for now…

I worked on a project last year and we ran through the progressions—REXML to libxml to straight old regular expressions (the data we were extracting was fairly straightforward). They files were somewhat large (5MB-30+MB), and REXML was unbearably slow. libxml was much quicker, but troublesome in a multi-platform environment. If you’re concerned about processing time, libxml is the way to go, really.

Any rough guidelines for what a “large” document is?

@Zach - Luckily this project required parsing many small files on a continual basis but none are large at all.

I wish someone would do a nice writeup on libxml…

2MB+ would be considered a large XML doc in my opinion. If you’ve got bloated markup, maybe 5MB is large.

Anything over a MB of XML or so and libxml takes a dominant lead.

Anyone tried libxml2 + xmlTextReader with up-to-date libxml2, libxslt Binaries?

An XML benchmark overview with large files is XStream: benchmarks.

I posted an update to the article with updated benchmarking code from a commenter. Turns out I wasn’t Hpricoting to the best of my ability - and Hpricot IS faster!

Using the latest libxml-ruby 0.8.0:

        user     system      total        real libxml    0.032000   0.000000   0.032000 (  0.031000) Hpricot   0.640000   0.031000   0.671000 (  0.890000) REXML     1.813000   0.047000   1.860000 (  2.031000)

More info about the new release at my blog:

Thanks - Charlie

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