Bry, François; Schaffert, Sebastian (2002): The XML Query Language Xcerpt: Design Principles, Examples, and Semantics. NODe 2002 Web- and Database-Related Workshops, 7. - 10. Oktober 2002, Erfurt, Deutschland.




Most query and transformation languages developed since the mid 90es for XML and semistructured data—e.g. XQuery [1], the precursors of XQuery [2], and XSLT [3]—build upon a path-oriented node selection: A node in a data item is specified in terms of a root-to-node path in the manner of the file selection languages of operating systems. Constructs inspired from the regular expression constructs , +, ?, and “wildcards” give rise to a flexible node retrieval from incompletely specified data items. This paper further introduces into Xcerpt, a query and transformation language further developing an alternative approach to querying XML and semistructured data first introduced with the language UnQL [4]. A metaphor for this approach views queries as patterns, answers as data items matching the queries. Formally, an answer to a query is defined as a simulation [5] of an instance of the query in a data item.