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About the XPath experiment

  • From: "Didier PH Martin" <martind@n...>
  • To: "'XML Dev'" <xml-dev@i...>
  • Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 10:24:11 -0500

Hi Brandon,

I remember that you started to implement an XPath parser implemented in
DSSSL. Do you still have it, I would be interested to take a look at it and
probably adding value to it since having an xpath parser can make queries
more concise than with SDQL and would be more appealing to XML developers. I
just posted an example on XML-DEV and people responded well to it:

(query (xpath "booklist/item")
	(make display-group
		(make box
			(literal "Is this weirdo??")
			(make rule)
			(make paragraph


I discovered something interesting in the process of asking questions about
this topic. He is what I got:
a) people find XPath easier than SDQL because they can read the expression
from left to right (off course they are used to it since most European
languages have such reading rules)
b) people get difficulties to grasp SDQL expressions because they have to
start from the center (or the right) and then to the left. This is most of
the time contrary to their reading habits (reciprocal of the (a) statement)
c)XPath is more readable than SDQL but not necessarily a piece of cake. But
because of (a) the comfort level is higher than with SDQL.

So, this is more a question of usability than a question of what each query
language can or cannot do. However, I did not made any research in middle
east countries. Probably the opinion would be different there since these
people are used to read from the right to the left. Therefore, maybe they
would find it easier to read an SDQL expression than an XPath expression.

It is probably best to have both. The choice being principally a matter of
cultural habits and preferences.

Didier PH Martin
Email: martind@n...
Conferences: Web New York (http://www.mfweb.com)
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