What Is XPath, Anyway?

XPath is a general-purpose query language for addressing and filtering both the elements and the text of an XML document. As the name suggests, the XPath notation is basically declarative. A valid XPath expression looks like a path to a particular set of nodes or a value excerpted from the source document.

XPath works on top of a tree-based representation of the source document. The path expresses a node pattern using a notation that emphasizes the hierarchical relationship between the nodes. Although semantically speaking the closest similarity is with the SQL query language, from a syntax point of view, XPath expressions look a lot like a file system path composed of folder and file names. For example, consider the following ...

Get Applied XML Programming for Microsoft® .NET now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.