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XPath Cheat Sheet

Simple node selection

Simple XPath expressions you can use as a beginner

//article         # find all <article> tags
//article/h1      # find all <h1> tags directly below an <article>

//a/@href         # find all href attributes of <a> tags

//span[@class='someclass']        # find all <span> with class set to 'someclass'
(//span[@class='someclass'])[2]   # get the 2nd <span> of this class only
//input[@class='someclass' and @name='searchtext']   # find by multiple attributes

Relative queries are possible using ‘.’

.//a             # all <a> tags below current node
./div            # all direct <div> children

Get node contents

All those expressions return nodes. When you directly want to access a nodes content do use text()


Using functions when matching

To match attribute text use contains()

//a[contains(@href, 'https')]       # Get all HTTPS links

To do negative matches use not()

//a[not(contains(@href, 'https'))]   # Get all non-HTTPS links

To count nodes use count()


To match result length use string-length()

//a[string-length(@href) > 55]

For partially matches starts-with()

//a[starts-with(@href, '/blog')]

Use arithmetic functions

You can do calculations using the functions sum(), ceiling(), round(), min(), max()

sum(//people/@age)                                  # Total age of all people
ceiling((sum(//people/@weight)/count(//people)))    # Avg weight rounded

Note: The following examples are only usable with XSLT 2.0

min(//people/@weight)                               # Min weight
max(//people/@weight)                               # Max weight
sum(//articles/(@sold + @in_stock))

which for each article would sum first the attributes ‘sold’ and ‘stock’ and then sum up all articles together.

Axis Navigation

To do node relative lookups you can apply a so called ‘axis’ to the current node. Examples

child::span               # Select all childs that are <span>s
descendant::span          # Select all <span>s that are descendants
ancestor::span            # Select all <span>s that are ancestors
ancestor-or-self::span    # Select all <span>s that are ancestors and the current node if it is a <span>
following::span           # Select following node of type <span>
following-silbling::span  # Select following node of type <span>
preceding::span           # Select preceding node of type <span> (but not ancestors, attributes and namespaces)
peceding-sibling::span    # Select all siblings before this node
attribute::lang           # Select the @lang attribute

namespace                 # Other axis'es

Instead of passing a name (like ‘span’ and ‘lang’ above) you can also pass ‘*’ to match all nodes along the axis


And also extract node sets and text content

child::text()          # Get all text content of all child nodes
child::node()          # Get a node set of all child nodes