XPath Axes

As we know that path defines the location of a node using absolute or relative path. In the same manner XPath axes are used to identify elements by their relationship like parent, child, sibling, etc. Axes refer to axis on which elements are lying relative to an element.

A list of various Axis values:

Index Axis Description
1) ancestor It specifies the ancestors of the current nodes which include the parents up to the root node.
2) ancestor-or-self It specifies the current node and its ancestors.
3) attribute It specifies the attributes of the current node.
4) child It specifies the children of the current node.
5) descendant It specifies the descendants of the current node i.e. the node's children up to the leaf node(no more children).
6) descendant-or-self It specifies the current node and it's descendants.
7) following It specifies all nodes that come after the current node.
8) following-sibling It specifies the following siblings of the context node. Siblings are at the same level as the current node and share it's parent.
9) namespace It specifies the namespace of the current node.
10) parent It specifies the parent of the current node.
11) preceding It specifies all nodes that come before the current node (i.e. before it's opening tag).
12) self It specifies the current node.

XPath Axes Example

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

Here the firstname is related to employee node of the XML document named employee.xml

Let's create an XML document named "employee.xml" and its stylesheet document named "employee.xsl" which uses the XPath expression.


<?xml version = "1.0"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type = "text/xsl" href = "employee.xsl"?>
   <employee id = "001">
   <employee id = "002">
    <employee id = "003">
    <employee id = "004">


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


Xpath Axes 1
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