Re: characters in xsl
As David explained, "//stone" is short syntax for (long syntax) "/descendant-or-self::node()/child::stone", which translates into English as "any 'stone' element that is the child of some node that is the descendant of the root, or of the root itself". That is, all 'stone' elements in the document.
I hope the following is not going to confuse you, but using // sometimes results in unexpected results, especially if you are not aware of some details. Some have been mentioned by other, but I gathered them here for completeness:
'//stone' is a 'better match' in the sense that it is more specific. It will not match the root element if its name would be stone. Thus not all 'stone' elements in the document, but all _child_ elements (= elements that have a parent) named 'stone'. It works in fact the same as './/stone', where the current element will not be included if it happened to be a 'stone' element as well.
To match or select the root element if it is stone, use '/stone'. To match any element stone, just use 'stone'. To access any stone element in the document, even the root, (at any moment during the transformation), use '/descendant-or-self::stone'.
In short: it usually doesn't make sense to use // in match patterns. And keep in mind that //stone in select patterns don't include the root element.
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