May 20, 2023

XQuery is a query language that was specifically designed to extract and manipulate data from XML documents. It was created by the XML Query Working Group, a unit of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is responsible for developing and maintaining web standards. XQuery is a versatile language that can be used for a variety of purposes, including generating reports, searching databases, and transforming data into different formats.


The main purpose of XQuery is to enable users to extract data from XML documents in a structured and efficient manner. XML documents are often used to store large amounts of data in a hierarchical format, which can make it difficult to retrieve and analyze specific pieces of information. XQuery provides a powerful set of tools for navigating through the structure of an XML document and selecting the data that is needed.

XQuery is particularly useful for applications that need to search through large collections of XML documents. For example, a company that maintains a database of product information may need to search through thousands of XML files to find all products that meet certain criteria. XQuery can be used to write complex queries that can quickly and accurately identify the relevant data.

Another important use case for XQuery is data transformation. XML documents can be transformed into different formats, such as HTML or CSV, using XQuery. This can be useful for generating reports or for exporting data to other systems.


XQuery is a declarative language, which means that queries are written using a set of statements that describe the desired outcome, rather than a series of commands to achieve that outcome. This makes XQuery more intuitive and easier to learn than procedural languages like Java or Python.

XQuery statements are written as expressions that return a value. For example, the following XQuery expression returns all the book titles in an XML document:

for $book in //book
return $book/title

This expression uses a ‘for’ loop to iterate through all the ‘book’ elements in the XML document and return the value of the ‘title’ element for each book.

XQuery also supports a wide range of built-in functions that can be used to manipulate data. For example, the ‘substring’ function can be used to extract a portion of a string:

substring('Hello World', 7, 5)

This expression returns the substring “World” starting at position 7 in the input string.

XQuery can also be used to join data from multiple XML documents. This is done using the ‘join’ operator, which combines two sets of data based on a common attribute:

for $book in //book
for $author in //author
where $book/author = $author/@id
return concat($book/title, ' by ', $author/name)

This expression returns a list of all book titles and their corresponding author names, where the author ID in the XML document matches the ‘id’ attribute in the ‘author’ element.


XQuery has a number of features that make it a versatile and powerful language for querying and manipulating XML data. Some of the key features include:

Expressive syntax

XQuery has a concise and intuitive syntax that is easy to learn and use. Statements are written in a declarative style, which means that queries are written using a set of statements that describe the desired outcome, rather than a series of commands to achieve that outcome.

Strong typing

XQuery supports strong typing, which means that data types are checked at compile time. This helps to ensure that queries are correct and reduces the risk of errors.

Support for XML namespaces

XQuery supports XML namespaces, which allows users to specify the namespace of the elements and attributes they are working with. This is important for ensuring that queries are correctly applied to the correct parts of an XML document.

Powerful functions

XQuery includes a wide range of built-in functions for manipulating data, such as filtering, sorting, and aggregating. This makes it easy to write complex queries that can extract and manipulate data in a variety of ways.

Modular architecture

XQuery has a modular architecture, which allows users to organize queries into separate modules that can be reused across different applications. This makes it easy to maintain and update queries, and reduces the amount of code that needs to be written.