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Alternatively, somebody, somewhere, somehow must have written this a dozen time already. Is there not a little code sample somewhere to show how to decode an XML string in Lua? Sigh...

decoding simple xml = easy
handling the full range of xml syntax (entities, i18n, etc) is a
non-trivial task.

but i have to agree - an xml parser is a great learning exercise.

i have written 2 xml parsers in lua, both sax-type (callback) -
the first one with a c lib, the second one pure lua : the devil is in
the detail :)

(and no, i couldn't make it handle all cases with gsub)