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XQuery Search and Update

Abstract

Abstract

The XQuery 1.0 specification describes a powerful language for accessing and manipulating XML. In its initial form XQuery lacks two interesting features: fast token-based text search and node-level update. Specifications for these features are under development at the W3C with release dates after XQuery 1.0. This paper looks at the mechanisms by which XQuery can support search and update based on our experience at Mark Logic implementing these features.

Are Search and Update Needed?

To begin, let us ask the question, are search and update capabilities needed in an XQuery environment? The answer depends on the use case. When using XQuery to federate queries against data-oriented RDBMS stores, text-based search isn't required and updates can be handled through direct SQL calls. The XQuery in this situation acts as a read-only view, a convenience rather than a primary access and manipulation language.

In other use cases the need can be acute. Take for example O'Reilly Media, a Mark Logic customer with a custom publishing site called SafariU that's targeted at helping university professors create custom course readers. Professors access book and article content (held as Docbook within Mark Logic) by performing advanced searches to