Chapter 3. Using eXist 101

This chapter contains an introduction to actually using eXist to build software. It will take you by the hand and guide you step by step along the winding XPath roads, through the XQuery meadows, along some RESTful paths, over the index mountain, and to many, many other wonderful places—all in a quest for the golden ring of an understanding that binds it all (which will definitely not be thrown into some volcano by Gollum).

This chapter guides you through building a simple web application that uses, analyzes, and enables searching of some Shakespeare plays. We start at the very beginning (creating the application’s collections, adding data), and end with a simple but usable piece of software. Along the way, we will tell you where to find more information about the subjects covered. Everything is done natively through eXist; no external IDE is required.

To make ourselves clear: the goal of this chapter is not to teach you XQuery. We assume you have at least a basic understanding of this language, including some experience with XPath. However, we do try to explain what we’re doing with some of the XQuery, so if you don’t know any XQuery yet, do not despair!

Preparations and Basic Application Setup

The application we’re going to build needs a set of data to work with. eXist comes with an example application (one of the eXist-db demo apps, available through the dashboard) that contains a nice, consistent, and large enough set of example data to be useful for us. ...

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