TypeScript icon, indicating that this package has built-in type declarations

    3.0.0 • Public • Published


    A fast, safe, compliant XML parser for Node.js and browsers.

    npm version Bundle size Test & Lint



    npm install @rgrove/parse-xml

    Or, if you like living dangerously, you can load the minified UMD bundle in a browser via Unpkg and use the parseXml global.


    Not Features

    This parser currently discards document type declarations (<!DOCTYPE ... >) and all their contents, because they're rarely useful and some of their features aren't safe when the XML being parsed comes from an untrusted source.

    In addition, the only supported character encoding is UTF-8 because it's not feasible (or useful) to suppport other character encodings in JavaScript.


    See API.md for complete API docs.


    Basic Usage

    const parseXml = require('@rgrove/parse-xml');
    let doc = parseXml('<kittens fuzzy="yes">I like fuzzy kittens.</kittens>');

    The result is an XmlDocument instance containing the parsed document, with a structure that looks like this (some properties and methods are excluded for clarity; see the API docs for details):

      type: 'document',
      children: [
          type: 'element',
          name: 'kittens',
          attributes: {
            fuzzy: 'yes'
          children: [
              type: 'text',
              text: 'I like fuzzy kittens.'
          parent: { ... },
          isRootNode: true

    Friendly Errors

    When something goes wrong, parse-xml throws an error that tells you exactly what happened and shows you where the problem is so you can fix it.



    Error: Missing end tag for element bar (line 1, column 14)

    In addition to a helpful message, error objects have the following properties:

    • column Number

      Column where the error occurred (1-based).

    • excerpt String

      Excerpt from the input string that contains the problem.

    • line Number

      Line where the error occurred (1-based).

    • pos Number

      Character position where the error occurred relative to the beginning of the input (0-based).

    Why another XML parser?

    There are many XML parsers for Node, and some of them are good. However, most of them suffer from one or more of the following shortcomings:

    • Native dependencies.

    • Loose, non-standard parsing behavior that can lead to unexpected or even unsafe results when given input the author didn't anticipate.

    • Kitchen sink APIs that tightly couple a parser with DOM manipulation functions, a stringifier, or other tooling that isn't directly related to parsing and consuming XML.

    • Stream-based parsing. This is great in the rare case that you need to parse truly enormous documents, but can be a pain to work with when all you want is a node tree.

    • Poor error handling.

    • Too big or too Node-specific to work well in browsers.

    parse-xml's goal is to be a small, fast, safe, compliant, non-streaming, non-validating, browser-friendly parser, because I think this is an under-served niche.

    I think parse-xml demonstrates that it's not necessary to jettison the spec entirely or to write complex code in order to implement a small, fast XML parser.

    Also, it was fun.


    Here's how parse-xml stacks up against two comparable libraries, libxmljs2 (which is based on the native libxml library) and xmldoc (which is based on sax-js).

    Node.js v14.15.4 / Darwin x64
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6920HQ CPU @ 2.90GHz
    Running "Small document (291 bytes)" suite...
    Progress: 100%
      @rgrove/parse-xml 3.0.0:
        77 109 ops/s, ±0.46%   | fastest
      libxmljs2 0.26.6 (native):
        29 480 ops/s, ±4.62%   | slowest, 61.77% slower
      xmldoc 1.1.2 (sax-js):
        36 035 ops/s, ±0.62%   | 53.27% slower
    Finished 3 cases!
      Fastest: @rgrove/parse-xml 3.0.0
      Slowest: libxmljs2 0.26.6 (native)
    Running "Medium document (72081 bytes)" suite...
    Progress: 100%
      @rgrove/parse-xml 3.0.0:
        321 ops/s, ±0.99%   | 54.34% slower
      libxmljs2 0.26.6 (native):
        703 ops/s, ±10.64%   | fastest
      xmldoc 1.1.2 (sax-js):
        235 ops/s, ±0.50%   | slowest, 66.57% slower
    Finished 3 cases!
      Fastest: libxmljs2 0.26.6 (native)
      Slowest: xmldoc 1.1.2 (sax-js)
    Running "Large document (1162464 bytes)" suite...
    Progress: 100%
      @rgrove/parse-xml 3.0.0:
        20 ops/s, ±0.48%   | 72.97% slower
      libxmljs2 0.26.6 (native):
        74 ops/s, ±12.02%   | fastest
      xmldoc 1.1.2 (sax-js):
        19 ops/s, ±1.68%   | slowest, 74.32% slower
    Finished 3 cases!
      Fastest: libxmljs2 0.26.6 (native)
      Slowest: xmldoc 1.1.2 (sax-js)

    See the parse-xml-benchmark repo for instructions on running this benchmark yourself.


    ISC License


    npm i @rgrove/parse-xml

    DownloadsWeekly Downloads






    Unpacked Size

    160 kB

    Total Files


    Last publish


    • rgrove