W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-dom@w3.org > April to June 2002

XPath comments

From: Philippe Le Hegaret <plh@w3.org>
Date: 16 May 2002 12:36:51 -0400
To: WWW DOM <www-dom@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1021567011.25608.143.camel@jfouffa>
[Comments from Dieter, who is not able to reach the list for unknown

Subject: XPATH: createExpression: INVALID_EXPRESSION_ERR

The requirement that XPathEvaluator.createExpression should raise an
INVALID_EXPRESSION_ERR if the expression is not legal makes it necessary
to test
the expression syntax immediately.  However, to optimize performance it
would be
fine to be able to postpone this test when an expression is in fact
evaluated by
the XPATHExpression.evaluate function.  So I suggest to modify
XPathEvaluator as

- Remove the INVALID_EXPRESSION_ERR from createExpression
- Introduce a new function prepare with boolean result.  It returns
'true' if
the expression is valid, and 'false' otherwise.  It may also be used to
the calculation of an internal XPath syntax tree (implementation
- Add an INVALID_EXPRESSION_ERR to the XPATHExpression.evaluate

Subject: XPATH: XPathResultType and XPATHExpression.evaluate

The use of XPathResultType in the XPATHExpression.evaluate function does
allow maximum optimization in many use cases.  For example if an
wants to use the result of an XPATHExpression.evaluate call in a way
that it is
not interested in a particular node set, e.g. when it wants to find out
there is any data at all, it needs only XPath results of type
Hence, the
ANY_TYPE constant is too rough, because the evaluation may then return
example an ORDERED_NODE_SNAPSHOT_TYPE result which is much harder to

Fortunately, there exists a simple solution:  The ANY_TYPE constant
should be
removed from XPathResultType and the 'type' parameter of the
XPATHExpression.evaluate method should be replaced by a 'requestTypes'
which is a set of XPathResultType constants.  The evaluated method may
choose to return one of the requested XPathResultTypes and raise a
the result cannot be converted to any of the specified types.

Subject: XPATH: XPathResult.numberValue

The XPath 1.0 spec defines numbers according to IEEE 754.  I am not sure
it is suffient to fullfil this requirement by simply stating that the
numberValue is of type 'double'.  Would it not be necessary to use a
IEEE754Number type?

Subject: CR/XPATH: string-value

The XPath 1.0 spec defines a 'string-value' for every node type.  It
would be
useful to add an XPathStringValue property to every Node which allows
access to a Node's XPATH string-value (since 'string-value' is not
equivalent to

Subject: XPATH: Issue XPath-25

Issue XPath-25: "Should there ne a reset method on the result in case
wants to iterate the result multiple times?"

It would at least be good to have a 'hasItems' and a 'lookAhead'
function to
allow simple procedure calls like:

  while not myXPathResult.hasItems 
   do myXPathResult:= RequestAnotherXPathResult;


  if myXPathResult.lookAhead.NodeValue = 'foo'
    then SomeExtraCalculation(myXPathResult);

Subject: XPATH: XPathResult

The architecture of the XPathResult interface is that of _simulated_
interfaces.  This becomes obvious on the frequent use of TYPE_ERR
when trying to access its properties.  Applications which want to
process XPathResults will have to use hard coded type checking by
evaluating the
resultType property.  This is in particular not elegant when an
application uses
a library of subroutines to further process a specific type of
XPathResult.  In
this, as I guess, not too seldom use case the subroutine must usualy
perform the
type checking at run-time at the beginning of the subroutine, in order
to test
whether it was triggert with the correct type of XPathResult. 
Therefore, it
would be much better for this cases to have different kinds of
interfaces.  Then type checkings could be performed on design time and
debugging would be easier, because type conflicts could instantly be

A hierarchy of XPathResult interfaces could look like this:

A. Abstract interfaces:

  interface XPathResult {
    readonly attribute short resultType;

  interface XPathSingleNodeResult: TdomXPathResult {
    readonly attribute Node singleNodeValue;

  interface XPathIteratorResult : XPathResult {
    readonly attribute boolean invalidIteratorState;
    readonly attribute integer iteratorLength;
    Node iterateNext();
  interface XPathSnapshotResult : XPathResult {
    readonly attribute integer snapshotLength;
    Node snapshotItem(in integer index);

B. Concrete Interfaces:

  interface XPathBooleanResult : XPathResult {
    readonly attribute boolean booleanValue;

  interface XPathNumberResult : XPathResult {
    readonly attribute double numberValue;

  interface XPathStringResult : XPathResult {
    readonly attribute DOMString stringValue;

  interface XPathAnyUnorderedNodeResult : XPathSingleNodeResult;

  interface XPathFirstOrderedNodeResult : XPathSingleNodeResult;

  interface XPathOrderedNodeIteratorResult : XPathIteratorResult;

  interface XPathUnorderedNodeIteratorResult : XPathIteratorResult;

  interface XPathOrderedNodeSnapshotResult : XPathSnapshotResult;

  interface XPathUnorderedNodeSnapshotResult : XPathSnapshotResult;

Received on Thursday, 16 May 2002 12:36:52 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Wednesday, 7 January 2015 14:50:32 UTC