libxml-ruby 1.x Released: Ruby Now A Serious XML Player
gem install libxml-ruby
And prepare to be shocked as you see libxml-ruby 1.1.1 installed (at the time of writing). Yes, libxml-ruby has, seven years on, made it to version 1! It's a long history involving a lot of people, initially Sean Chittenden, then Trans Onoma, Ross Bamford, Dan Janowski, and now Charlie Savage who has pushed the library to its 1.1.1 state.
libxml-ruby is, essentially, a set of bindings to libxml2, a ridiculously fast and complete C-powered XML parser. It passes all 1800 OASIS XML Test Suite tests, it's fast (depending on the C library as it does), and, finally, reliable. It's Ruby 1.9.1 compatible too, has great documentation (I love the theme they've used!), a clean API, and strong test coverage. Essentially, it can allow us to consign REXML to the trash can of Ruby history.
Now, if you're perfectly happy with abstractions like Hpricot or Nokogiri (which also uses libxml but handles its bindings separately), libxml-ruby might not be of much immediate use to you. If performance is key though, check it out. libxml-ruby gives you an incredibly powerful and fast "true" XML parsing library at your fingertips, with all of the pains and pleasures that entails.
Congratulations to everyone involved for this significant Ruby milestone. We're in the powerful XML club now.