How To Read Xml File In Ruby

XML (eXtensible Markup Language) is a widely-used data format for structured data. It is both human-readable and machine-readable. In this blog post, we will explore how to read XML files in Ruby using the Nokogiri gem. Nokogiri is a powerful and flexible library for parsing and manipulating XML and HTML documents.

Installing Nokogiri

Start by installing the Nokogiri gem. You can install it using the following command:

gem install nokogiri

Alternatively, you can add the following line to your Gemfile and then run bundle install:

gem 'nokogiri'

Parsing XML Files

Once Nokogiri is installed, you can use it to parse an XML file. First, require the Nokogiri gem at the beginning of your Ruby script:

require 'nokogiri'

To read an XML file, you can use the Nokogiri::XML method and pass the file path as an argument. This will return a Nokogiri::XML::Document object, which you can then use to access the XML elements.

require 'nokogiri'

# Read XML file
xml_file ='example.xml')
doc = Nokogiri::XML(xml_file)

# Close the file after reading

Accessing XML Elements

Nokogiri provides several methods for accessing and navigating the XML elements. Here are some common techniques:

  • css: Use CSS selectors to find elements. This is useful for finding elements based on their attributes or nesting.
  • xpath: Use XPath expressions to find elements. XPath is more powerful than CSS selectors and allows for more complex queries.
  • at_css and at_xpath: These methods are similar to css and xpath, but they return only the first matching element instead of a NodeSet.

For example, consider the following XML file (example.xml):

  <book category="fiction">
    <title>Harry Potter</title>
    <author>J.K. Rowling</author>
  <book category="programming">
    <title>Learn Ruby</title>
    <author>John Doe</author>

To access the elements in this XML file, you can use the following code:

# Find all book elements
books = doc.css('book')
books.each do |book|
  title = book.at_css('title').text
  author = book.at_css('author').text
  price = book.at_css('price').text

  puts "Title: #{title}, Author: #{author}, Price: #{price}"

# Find all books with a specific category
programming_books = doc.xpath('//book[@category="programming"]')


In this blog post, we have explored how to read XML files in Ruby using the Nokogiri gem. Nokogiri provides a powerful and flexible way to parse and manipulate XML documents, and it is a widely-used library in the Ruby ecosystem. By following the methods and techniques discussed in this post, you will be well-equipped to work with XML files in your Ruby projects.