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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

XSLT and XPath as Query Languages

A well-defined query language already exists for XML: XPath, covered in detail in Chapter 2, "Understanding the XPath Specification." You can format that query output with XSLT to create any XML format, so you might wonder why we need a dedicated XML query language.

XPath is an integral part of XQuery, as will be discussed in this chapter. Thus the real question is, "Why use XQuery rather than XSLT?" There are a few answers, although how compelling they are depends on how experienced you are with using XML:

  • Easier to use—XQuery uses more procedurally-oriented code than XSLT, so it might be more familiar to use than the often paradigm-bending XSLT language.

  • Less verbose—This is a valid charge for XSLT 1.0, but less so for XSLT 2.0. XSLT is an XML-based language, and even simple routines can take up pages of code.

  • Less document-centric—XSLT assumes an input stream of an XML document, although with features such as unparsed-text() and collection(), this requirement is less stringent in XSLT2. XQuery works implicitly upon sets of nodes that don't necessarily have to be XML in origin, although in all likelihood any XQuery solution would do an implicit conversion to XML before processing it.

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