XPath - Axes


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As location path defines the location of a node using absolute or relative path, axes are used to identify elements by their relationship like parent, child, sibling, etc. Axes are named so because they refer to axis on which elements are lying relative to an element.

Following is the list of various Axis values.

S.No. Axis & Description
1

ancestor

Represents the ancestors of the current node which include the parents up to the root node.

2

ancestor-or-self

Represents the current node and it's ancestors.

3

attribute

Represents the attributes of the current node.

4

child

Represents the children of the current node.

5

descendant

Represents the descendants of the current node. Descendants include the node's children upto the leaf node(no more children).

6

descendant-or-self

Represents the current node and it's descendants.

7

following

Represents all nodes that come after the current node.

8

following-sibling

Represents the following siblings of the context node. Siblings are at the same level as the current node and share it's parent.

9

namespace

Represents the namespace of the current node.

10

parent

Represents the parent of the current node.

11

preceding

Represents all nodes that come before the current node (i.e. before it's opening tag).

12

self

Represents the current node.

Following are a few examples on the uses of axes.

firstname − select firstname related to student nodes.

<p><xsl:value-of select = "firstname"/></p>
<xsl:value-of select = "/class/student/preceding-sibling::comment()"/>

Example

In this example, we've created a sample XML document students.xml and its stylesheet document students.xsl which uses the XPath expressions.

Following is the sample XML used.

students.xml

<?xml version = "1.0"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type = "text/xsl" href = "students.xsl"?>
<class>
   <!-- Comment: This is a list of student -->
   <student rollno = "393">
      <firstname>Dinkar</firstname>
      <lastname>Kad</lastname>
      <nickname>Dinkar</nickname>
      <marks>85</marks>
   </student>
   <student rollno = "493">
      <firstname>Vaneet</firstname>
      <lastname>Gupta</lastname>
      <nickname>Vinni</nickname>
      <marks>95</marks>
   </student>
   <student rollno = "593">
      <firstname>Jasvir</firstname>
      <lastname>Singh</lastname>
      <nickname>Jazz</nickname>
      <marks>90</marks>
   </student>
</class>

students.xsl

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
<xsl:stylesheet version = "1.0"
   xmlns:xsl = "http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform"> 
	
   <xsl:template match = "/" >
      <html>
         <body>  
            <xsl:value-of select = "/class/student/preceding-sibling::comment()"/>
            <br/>
            <xsl:text>First Student: </xsl:text>
            <xsl:value-of select = "/class/student/child::firstname" />    
         </body>
      </html>
   </xsl:template>
</xsl:stylesheet>

Verify the output

XPath axes

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