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Re: [xml-dev] MicroXPath proposal

On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 10:01 PM, Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org> wrote:

> At any rate,
> the ability to return non-nodes was a much-asked-for thing; the general
> trend seemed to be to want the language to be simpler, in having fewer
> odd quirks, and more flexible. The type system and a few other added
> features ended up making it noticeably larger, but there's good in there
> too...

I got curious just how much larger.  On my system, the XPath 1.0
document, which also documents the data model and the available
functions, is 37 pages.  XPath 2.0 + XDM + F & O is 367 pages.  That's
an order of magnitude larger, rather than just "noticeably" so.

Again, I doubt if I can write down a coherent XPath subset in 3.7
pages, but it would be interesting to try.

On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 9:58 PM, James Clark <jjc@jclark.com> wrote:

> The only subset of XPath 1.0 that makes sense to me is one that has the goal
> of being able to create one path that uniquely identifies any element (and
> perhaps attribute) in a document. Something like
>   /foo[2]/bar[1]/baz[3]

Well, that's something worth having for sure, and even treating
specially, because it can be made to return a single Element rather
than an iterator.

On Sat, Jan 15, 2011 at 10:04 PM, Uche Ogbuji <uche@ogbuji.net> wrote:

> I agree with the above until the last point.  I also believe that the
> "streamable" subset of XPath 1.0 is useful, though of course people
> establish such a subset in several ways.  I'd say XSLT 1.0's pattern
> language comes close enough for most uses.

Now that's a *very* interesting idea: the path would allow / and //,
and the legal path steps are: name, *, @name, @*, text(), and
id(name).   That's very close to my original proposal.  But patterns
are no simpler than XPath 1.0 for the implementor, because *any*
expression can be a predicate in a pattern, so you end up having to
implement the whole of 1.0 anyway.  What is the simplest set of
predicates that could possibly work?

GMail doesn't have rotating .sigs, but you can see mine at

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