need clarifications on XPath vs pattern match

Michael Fuller msf at
Mon Dec 13 22:57:22 GMT 1999

Didier PH Martin wrote [re. XSLT patterns vs XPath expressions]:
> so, it seems that it is not the full set but it is a subset of XPath as
> long as the expression points to an object of type "node-set".

Not quite. See XSLT, section 5.2:
    "A pattern must match the grammar for Pattern. A Pattern is a set of
    location path patterns separated by |. A location path pattern is a
    location path whose steps all use only the child or attribute axes.
    Although patterns must not use the descendant-or-self axis, patterns
    may use the // operator as well as the / operator. Location path
    patterns can also start with an id or key function call with a literal
    argument.  Predicates in a pattern can use arbitrary expressions just
    like predicates in a location path."

This paragraph is followed by a grammar spelling out the above.
See also XPath, section 2 "Location Paths".

> I guess that node-set will be defined in the information set specification.
> Are they, Will they? OK now I have a new problem: where a node-set is defined?

"Node-sets" are defined in XPath, section 3.3:
    "A location path can be used as an expression. The expression returns
    the set of nodes selected by the path."

> Yop, I was feeling better in bed this morning :-))

Me too.

Bottom line: you can't fully understand the XSLT spec. w/o first
understanding XPath. (Arguably, the reverse is true also. ;-)

Multimedia Databases Group, RMIT, Australia.

xml-dev: A list for W3C XML Developers. To post, mailto:xml-dev at
Archived as: and on CD-ROM/ISBN 981-02-3594-1
To unsubscribe, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
unsubscribe xml-dev
To subscribe to the digests, mailto:majordomo at the following message;
subscribe xml-dev-digest
List coordinator, Henry Rzepa (mailto:rzepa at

More information about the Xml-dev mailing list