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The best way to explain XQuery is to say that XQuery is to XML what SQL is to database tables.

XQuery is designed to query XML data - not just XML files, but anything that can appear as XML, including databases.


What You Should Already Know

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

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


What is XQuery?

  • XQuery is the language for querying XML data
  • XQuery for XML is like SQL for databases
  • XQuery is built on XPath expressions
  • XQuery is defined by the W3C
  • XQuery is supported by all the major database engines (IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, etc.)
  • XQuery will become a W3C standard - and developers can be sure that the code will work among different products

XQuery is About Querying XML

XQuery is a language for finding and extracting elements and attributes from XML documents.

Here is an example of a question that XQuery could solve:

"Select all CD records with a price less than $10 from the CD collection stored in the XML document called cd_catalog.xml"


XQuery and XPath

XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 share the same data model and support the same functions and operators. If you have already studied XPath you will have no problems with understanding XQuery.

You can read more about XPath in our XPath Tutorial.


XQuery - Examples of Use

XQuery can be used to:

  • Extract information to use in a Web Service
  • Generate summary reports
  • Transform XML data to XHTML
  • Search Web documents for relevant information

XQuery is Not (Yet) a Web Standard

XQuery is compatible with several W3C standards, such as XML, Namespaces, XSLT, XPath, and XML Schema.

However, XQuery 1.0 is not yet a W3C Recommendation (XQuery is a Working Draft). Hopefully it will be a recommendation in the near future.

To read more about the XQuery activity at W3C, please read our W3C Tutorial.

XQuery is a query and functional programming language that is designed to query collections of XML data. XQuery 1.0 was developed by the XML Query working group of the W3C. The work was closely coordinated with the development of XSLT 2.0 by the XSL Working Group; the two groups shared responsibility for XPath 2.0, which is a subset of XQuery 1.0. XQuery 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation on January 23, 2007. "The mission of the XML Query project is to provide flexible query facilities to extract data from real and virtual documents on the World Wide Web, therefore finally providing the needed interaction between the Web world and the database world. Ultimately, collections of XML files will be accessed like databases".




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