roxmltree 0.5.0

Represent an XML as a read-only tree.


Build Status Documentation

Represents an XML 1.0 document as a read-only tree.

Why read-only?

Because in some cases all you need is to retrieve some data from an XML document. And for such cases, we can make a lot of optimizations.

As for roxmltree, it's fast not only because it's read-only, but also because it uses xmlparser, which is many times faster than xml-rs. See the Performance section for details.

Parsing behavior

Sadly, XML can be parsed in many different ways. roxmltree tries to mimic the behavior of Python's lxml. But unlike lxml, roxmltree does support comments outside the root element.

Fo more details see docs/


Feature/Crate roxmltree libxml2 xmltree elementtree sxd-document treexml
Element namespace resolving ~1
Attribute namespace resolving
Entity references
Character references
Attribute-Value normalization
Processing instructions
Non UTF-8 input
Complete DTD support
Position preserving2
HTML support
Tree modification
No unsafe ~3
Language Rust C Rust Rust Rust Rust
Size overhead4 ~73KiB ~1.4MiB5 ~80KiB ~96KiB ~135KiB ~110KiB
Dependencies 1 ?5 2 18 2 14
Tested version 0.5.0 2.9.8 0.8.0 0.5.0 0.3.0 0.7.0
License MIT / Apache-2.0 MIT MIT BSD-3-Clause MIT MIT


  • ✔ - supported
  • ⚠ - parsing error
  • ~ - partial
  • nothing - not supported


  1. No default namespace propagation.
  2. roxmltree keeps all node and attribute positions in the original document, so you can easily retrieve it if you need it. See examples/ for details.
  3. In the string_cache crate.
  4. Binary size overhead according to cargo-bloat.
  5. Depends on build flags.


test large_roxmltree     ... bench:   5,660,398 ns/iter (+/- 104,723)
test large_sdx_document  ... bench:   9,562,290 ns/iter (+/- 45,585)
test large_xmltree       ... bench:  32,797,800 ns/iter (+/- 134,016)
test large_treexml       ... bench:  31,380,063 ns/iter (+/- 71,732)
test large_elementtree   ... bench:  32,121,979 ns/iter (+/- 264,842)

test medium_roxmltree    ... bench:   1,094,562 ns/iter (+/- 6,030)
test medium_sdx_document ... bench:   3,791,252 ns/iter (+/- 41,929)
test medium_treexml      ... bench:  10,975,247 ns/iter (+/- 22,692)
test medium_xmltree      ... bench:  11,601,320 ns/iter (+/- 46,216)
test medium_elementtree  ... bench:  11,550,227 ns/iter (+/- 17,991)

test tiny_roxmltree      ... bench:       7,697 ns/iter (+/- 41)
test tiny_sdx_document   ... bench:      28,031 ns/iter (+/- 101)
test tiny_xmltree        ... bench:      47,199 ns/iter (+/- 110)
test tiny_treexml        ... bench:      50,399 ns/iter (+/- 55)
test tiny_elementtree    ... bench:      51,569 ns/iter (+/- 165)

roxmltree uses xmlparser internally, while sdx-document uses its own implementation and xmltree, elementtree and treexml use the xml-rs crate. Here is a comparison between xmlparser and xml-rs:

test large_xmlparser     ... bench:   2,485,710 ns/iter (+/- 1,246)
test large_xmlrs         ... bench:  28,252,304 ns/iter (+/- 27,852)

test medium_xmlparser    ... bench:     624,192 ns/iter (+/- 1,040)
test medium_xmlrs        ... bench:  10,237,568 ns/iter (+/- 13,497)

test tiny_xmlparser      ... bench:       4,986 ns/iter (+/- 84)
test tiny_xmlrs          ... bench:      45,832 ns/iter (+/- 50)

You can try it yourself by running cargo bench in the benches dir.


  • Since all libraries have a different XML support, benchmarking is a bit pointless.
  • Tree crates may use different xml-rs crate versions.
  • We do not bench the libxml2, because xmlReadFile() will parse only an XML structure, without attributes normalization and stuff. So it's hard to compare. And we have to use a separate benchmark utility.


  • This library must not panic. Any panic should be considered a critical bug and reported.
  • This library forbids unsafe code.


  • Complete XML support.
  • Tree modification and writing.
  • XPath/XQuery.


This library uses Rust's idiomatic API based on iterators. In case you are more familiar with browser/JS DOM APIs - you can check out tests/ to see how it can be converted into a Rust one.


Rust >= 1.18


Licensed under either of

at your option.


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in the work by you, as defined in the Apache-2.0 license, shall be dual licensed as above, without any additional terms or conditions.