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XPath Introduction


XPath is a language for finding information in an XML document.


What You Should Already Know

Before you continue you should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • HTML / XHTML
  • XML / XML Namespaces

If you want to study these subjects first, find the tutorials on our Home page.


What is XPath?

XPath
  • XPath is a syntax for defining parts of an XML document
  • XPath uses path expressions to navigate in XML documents
  • XPath contains a library of standard functions
  • XPath is a major element in XSLT
  • XPath is a W3C recommendation


XPath Path Expressions

XPath uses path expressions to select nodes or node-sets in an XML document. These path expressions look very much like the expressions you see when you work with a traditional computer file system.


XPath Standard Functions

XPath includes over 100 built-in functions. There are functions for string values, numeric values, date and time comparison, node and QName manipulation, sequence manipulation, Boolean values, and more.


XPath is Used in XSLT

XPath is a major element in the XSLT standard. Without XPath knowledge you will not be able to create XSLT documents.

You can read more about XSLT in our XSLT tutorial.

XQuery and XPointer are both built on XPath expressions. XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 share the same data model and support the same functions and operators.

You can read more about XQuery in our XQuery tutorial.


XPath is a W3C Recommendation

XPath became a W3C Recommendation 16. November 1999.

XPath was designed to be used by XSLT, XPointer and other XML parsing software.



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