An XPATH expression can appear as a SQL query expression, that is, as a derived table or subquery predicate or scalar subquery. This means that the XPATH expression is expanded compile time to the corresponding SQL. The mapping of the XPATH hierarchy to tables and joins is given by the __view XPATH option, which is mandatory.

The XPATH keyword introduces an embedded XPATH expression. The XPATH text is presented as a string literal. Note that the tokenization rules are different for XPATH and SQL, so having XPATH as a string makes it clear which rules apply to parsing which part of the composite query.

Example 15.7. Example

select * from (XPATH '[__* __view "cat"]
        //product') P order by "P."ProductName"";

will evaluate the //product query in the context of the cat XML view and produce a result set consisting of all the attributes of the product entity as defined in the view.


[Note] Note:

The __key and __* XPATH options are central here in defining the result columns of the XPATH. The default result column of an XPATH expression is the serialization of the selected entity or scalar, which is most of the time impractical in a SQL context.

The '$' sign introduces a parameter in XPATH. The identifier following the dollar sign should reference a SQL column or variable defined in the surrounding context. The name of the parameter can contain a dot for referencing a column with a correlation name.

For instance, to make a VSP page that outputs the category tree which contains a specific product, one may write:

<HTML>
<?vsp
      declare N varchar;
      N := {?'name'};
      for (XPATH '[__http __view ''cat'']
            /category[product/@ProductName = $N]' do ; ?>
</HTML>

This will iterate over the categories containing a product with ProductName equal to the URL parameter 'name'. Note the __http option that causes the text of the selected entities to go directly to the HTTP client. Note the double '' escape for the XML view name inside the SQL string literal forming the name.

Also note that the N parameter is in upper case to work in all case modes. In some modes SQL identifiers will be converted automatically to upper case but this conversion does not apply inside XPATH.

select * from "Demo".."Categories" C
        where exists (XPATH '[__view "ord"]
        //products[@CategoryID = $C.CategoryID]');

This example selects the categories of products that have been mentioned in the ord XML view.

[Note] Syntax Notes

The main difference of SQL and XPATH is that the '-' is not a breaking character in XPATH and that XPATH is case sensitive without any implicit identifier case conversion.