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XPath Syntax


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XPath Syntax

XML Path Language uses a declarative notation rather than a procedural one. Each expression developed by this notation describes the types of nodes to match based on the hierarchical relationship between the nodes.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
For example, the expression "book/author" means find the author element contained in the book element.




XML Example

One XML document is given below.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="ISO-8859-1"?><bookstore><book>
<title lang="eng">Harry Potter</title>
<price>29.99</price>
</book><book>
<title lang="eng">Learning XML</title>
<price>39.95</price>
</book></bookstore>




Selecting Nodes

To select nodes XPath uses path expressions. The node is selected by following a path. The most useful path expressions are:-


Expression Description
nodename Selects all child nodes of the node
/ Selects from the root node
// Selects nodes in the document from the current node that match the selection no matter where they are
. Selects the current node
.. Selects the parent of the current node
@ Selects attributes

Example
Table given below we have listed some path expressions and the result of the expressions:

Path Expression Result
bookstore Selects all the child nodes of the bookstore element
/bookstore Selects the root element bookstore

Note: If the path starts with a slash ( / ) it always represents an absolute path to an element!

bookstore/book Selects all book elements that are children of bookstore
//book Selects all book elements no matter where they are in the document
bookstore//book Selects all book elements that are descendant of the bookstore element, no matter where they are under the bookstore element
//@lang Selects all attributes that are named lang



Predicates

Predicates are used to find a specific node that contains a value.Predicates are always embedded in square brackets.


Example

Table given below we have listed some path expressions with predicates and the result of the expressions:


Path Expression Result
/bookstore/book[1]

Selects the first book element that is the child of the bookstore element

/bookstore/book[last()]

Selects the last book element that is the child of the bookstore element

/bookstore/book[last()-1]

Selects the last but one book element that is the child of the bookstore element

/bookstore/book[position()<3]

Selects the first two book elements that are children of the bookstore element

//title[@lang]

Selects all the title elements that have an attribute named lang

//title[@lang='eng']

Selects all the title elements that have an attribute named lang with a value of 'eng'

/bookstore/book[price>35.00]

Selects all the book elements of the bookstore element that have a price element with a value greater than 35.00

/bookstore/book[price>35.00]/title

Selects all the title elements of the book elements of the bookstore element that have a price element with a value greater than 35.00




How we selecting unknown nodes?

Wildcards can be used to select unknown XML elements.

Wildcard Description
* Matches any element node
@* Matches any attribute node
node() Matches any node of any kind

Example
Table given below we have listed some path expressions and the result of the expressions:

Path Expression Result
/bookstore/* Selects all the child nodes of the bookstore element
//* Selects all elements in the document
//title[@*] Selects all title elements which have any attribute


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