Press Room

Press Release: August 19, 2002

Locating Content in XML Documents Just Became Easier: O'Reilly Releases "XPath and XPointer"

Sebastopol, CA--Without pausing to wonder why anyone would ever want or need to find a needle in a haystack, we can assume that it would be a fairly tedious task, almost as difficult as referring to specific information inside an XML document. The challenge in either case is how to differentiate what you're looking for from everything that surrounds it. Although there are as yet few helpful tools for finding needles in haystacks, XML developers can turn to XPath and XPointer, two closely related languages that play a key role in XML processing by allowing developers to manipulate embedded information. XPath is used for locating XML content within an XML document; XPointer is the standard for addressing such content, once located. Developers will find all the information they need to begin using these two technologies in O'Reilly's latest release, XPath and XPointer by John Simpson (US $24.95).

This concise book fills an essential need for XML developers by dealing with a topic that has been addressed inadequately until now. John Simpson, author of's monthly XML Q&A column, offers practical knowledge of the two languages that underpin XML, XSLT, and XLink. "XPath and XPointer" cuts through basic theory and provides real-world examples that developers can use right away.

"Understanding XPath is absolutely critical to using XSLT effectively, as well numerous other XML-related standards and applications such as XQuery, the Document Object Model (DOM) Level 3, MSXML applications, XForms, and even XML Schema," says Simpson. "The importance of XPointer will grow enormously once the spec attains full W3C Recommendation status and XLink and XPointer-aware applications become commonplace and a little less 'bleeding edge' and theoretical."

Written for XML developers, document authors, and others with a need to address specific portions of XML documents, "XPath and XPointer" assumes a working knowledge of XML and XSLT. It begins with an introduction to XPath basics. Readers will learn about location steps and paths, XPath functions and numeric operators. After covering XPath in depth, the book moves on to XPointer--its background, syntax, and forms of addressing. By the time they have finished the book, readers will know how to construct a full XPointer (one that uses an XPath location path to address document content) and completely understand both the XPath and XPointer features it uses.

"XPath and XPointer" contains material on the forthcoming XPath 2.0 spec, as well as versions 1.0 of both XPath and XPointer. A succinct but thorough hands-on guide, no other book on the market provides comprehensive information on these two key XML technologies in one place.

Additional resources:

XPath and XPointer
By John E. Simpson
ISBN 0-596-00291-2, 196 pages, $24.95 (US), $38.95 (CAN)
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

About O'Reilly

For almost 40 years, O’Reilly Media has provided technology and business training, knowledge, and insight to help companies succeed. Our unique network of experts and innovators share their knowledge and expertise through the company’s Safari training and learning platform and at O’Reilly conferences. As a SaaS learning platform, Safari delivers highly topical and comprehensive technology and business learning solutions to millions of users across enterprise, consumer, and university channels. For more information visit

Return to: O'Reilly Press Room

Press Contacts

Media Relations – Corporate & North America

Fama PR

Media Relations – Japan

Fumi Yamakawa
+81 3-3356-5227

Media Relations – United Kingdom

Helen Codling
+44 (0) 1252 721284