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XQuery Syntax


XQuery is case-sensitive and XQuery elements, attributes, and variables must be valid XML names.


XQuery Basic Syntax Rules

Some basic syntax rules:

  • XQuery is case-sensitive
  • XQuery elements, attributes, and variables must be valid XML names
  • An XQuery string value can be in single or double quotes
  • An XQuery variable is defined with a $ followed by a name, e.g. $bookstore
  • XQuery comments are delimited by (: and :), e.g. (: XQuery Comment :)

The XML Example Document

We will use the "books.xml" document in the examples below (same XML file as in the previous chapters).

View the "books.xml" file in your browser.


XQuery Conditional Expressions

"If-Then-Else" expressions are allowed in XQuery.

Look at the following example:

for $x in doc("books.xml")/bookstore/book
return if ($x/@category="CHILDREN")
then <child>{data($x/title)}</child>
else <adult>{data($x/title)}</adult>

Notes on the "if-then-else" syntax: parentheses around the if expression are required. else is required, but it can be just else ().

The result of the example above will be:

<adult>Everyday Italian</adult>
<child>Harry Potter</child>
<adult>XQuery Kick Start</adult>
<adult>Learning XML</adult>


XQuery Comparisons

In XQuery there are two ways of comparing values.

1. General comparisons: =, !=, <, <=, >, >=

2. Value comparisons: eq, ne, lt, le, gt, ge

The difference between the two comparison methods are shown below.

The following expression returns true if any q attributes have a value greater than 10:

$bookstore//book/@q > 10

The following expression returns true if there is only one q attribute returned by the expression, and its value is greater than 10. If more than one q is returned, an error occurs:

$bookstore//book/@q gt 10


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