Chapter 13. Inputs and Outputs

So far in this book, the examples have assumed that the inputs to the query are individual XML documents that are accessed through the doc function. This chapter goes into further detail about the various options for accessing input documents in XQuery. It also describes output documents, including the many different options for serializing query results to files.

Types of Input and Output Documents

While XQuery is typically associated with querying and returning XML, it actually can also work with text files and JSON documents.


XML documents are by far the most common input to XQuery. Technically, the input might not be an entire XML document; it might be a document fragment, such as an element or sequence of elements, possibly with children. It might not be a physical XML file at all; it might be data retrieved from an XML database, or an in-memory XML representation that was generated from non-XML data.

If the input document is physically stored in XML syntax, it must be well-formed XML. This means that it must comply with XML syntax rules, such as that every start tag has an end tag, there is no overlap among elements, and special characters are used appropriately. It must also use namespaces appropriately. This means that if colons are used in element or attribute names, the part before the colon must be a prefix that is bound to a namespace using a namespace declaration.

Whether it is physically stored as an XML document or not, an input document ...

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