W3C XQuery 1.0 and XSLT 2.0 Become Standards: Tools to Query, Transform, and Access XML and Relational Data

Author(s) and publish date


Newest Open Web Standards Already Widely Supported in Industry



http://www.w3.org/ -- 23 January 2007 -- Based on widespread implementation experience and extensive feedback from users and vendors, W3C has published eight new standards in the XML Family to support the ability to query, transform, and access XML data and documents. The primary specifications are XQuery 1.0: An XML Query Language, XSL Transformations (XSLT) 2.0, and XML Path Language (XPath) 2.0; see the full list below.

These new Web Standards will play a significant role in enterprise computing by connecting databases with the Web. XQuery allows data mining of everything from memos and Web service messages to multi-terabyte relational databases. XSLT 2.0 adds significant new functionality to the already widely deployed XSLT 1.0, which enables the transformation and styled presentation of XML documents. Both specifications rely on XPath 2.0, also significantly enriched from its previous version.

W3C's XSL Working Group and XML Query Working Group, who created these specifications, have addressed thousands of comments from implementers and the interested public to ensure that the specifications meet the needs of diverse communities.

XML Query 1.0 Joins Database and Document Worlds

XML Query (XQuery) describes a database query language for XML data.

"XQuery will serve as a unifying interface for access to XML data, much as SQL has done for relational data," said Don Chamberlin of IBM Almaden Research Center, co-inventor of the original SQL Query language and one of the co-editors of XQuery 1.0. "Since virtually any kind of information can be represented using XML, I expect XQuery to play a central role in unifying information from many different sources. Companies across a wide range of industries can use XQuery to pull together structured and semi-structured information for processing in a unified way."

The XML Query Working Group catalogued over forty implementations of XQuery and reported on how fourteen of them satisfy a test suite consisting of more than 14,000 test cases, demonstrating unprecedented levels of interoperability. XML Query is already available in products from all of the major relational database vendors as well as in XML-native database systems, middleware, XML editing systems and numerous open source products. W3C Member organizations have also announced implementations of XQuery or plans for implementations.

"The XQuery Working Group engaged in exhaustive review and collaborative work, both with other W3C Working Groups and with the developer community," explained Jim Melton of Oracle, XML Query Working Group co-chair and co-editor of two of the standards published today. "Over 1,000 comments from developers helped ensure a resilient and implementable set of database technologies."

"These specifications provide a much needed bridge between two worlds: documents with complex but irregular internal structure on the one hand and databases and simple data with atomic values on the other," said W3C's Michael Sperberg-McQueen, one of the editors of the original XML 1.0 specification.

Rich XSLT, XPath 2.0 Feature Set Based on Seven Years of Experience

XSLT 1.0, published in 1999, is widely deployed on Web servers and in browsers and is an important part of today's business and engineering infrastructure. Years of experience with the language have culminated in an impressive list of new features in XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0, including a greatly enlarged library of functions, new facilities for grouping and aggregation, and more powerful text processing using regular expressions.

"This is a red-letter day for XSLT users," said Michael Kay, editor of the XSLT 2.0 specification, "both for those who have been waiting patiently for this Recommendation to appear before they could use the new features, and for those who have taken a gamble by deploying the new technology before its final stamp of approval. Our biggest achievement, in my view, has been to deliver a huge step forward in functionality and developer productivity, while also retaining a very high level of backwards compatibility, thereby keeping transition costs to the minimum."

XSLT 2.0 can optionally use XML Schema, enabling improved detection of errors both at compile time and at run-time, and thus provides the robustness needed in enterprise applications. Implementations of the new specification have been available since 2002, maturing in parallel with the specification. With over 150,000 downloads of various implementations, there is a wealth of experience demonstrating the benefits of the new features. Indeed, many organizations, from publishing houses to investment banks, are already using XSLT 2.0 in their operational systems.

The eight Recommendations published today that together increase the power of the XML family are:

  1. XML Path Language (XPath) 2.0
  2. XSL Transformations (XSLT) Version 2.0
  3. XQuery 1.0: An XML Query Language
  4. XML Syntax for XQuery 1.0 (XQueryX)
  5. XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Data Model (XDM)
  6. XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Functions and Operators
  7. XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Formal Semantics
  8. XSLT 2.0 and XQuery 1.0 Serialization

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan,and has additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/


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Testimonials for W3C XQuery 1.0, XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0

In English

BEA Systems

BEA is pleased to see the XQuery 1.0 specification making the transition to being an official W3C Recommendation. We see the declarative nature of XQuery as designed to provide an important foundation for a variety of XML processing needs, ranging from transforming and routing messages to integrating data from disparate sources to querying and manipulating semi-structured information. XQuery has already become a foundational technology for XML data handling in several of our products, and both we and our customers are pleased with its standardization. BEA is proud to have contributed to the development of XQuery 1.0, and we look forward to its success and to our ongoing participation in its evolution.

-- Ed Cobb, VP of Architecture and Standards, BEA Systems, Inc.

DataDirect Technologies

DataDirect Technologies is very pleased that XQuery 1.0 is now a W3C Recommendation. We believe that XQuery is a key technology for XML processing and for data integration. We have actively participated in the XML Query Working Group, and are dedicated to supporting XQuery in our XML products, including DataDirect XQuery, which provides fast, reliable and scalable XQuery for XML, relational data, SOAP messages, EDI, or a combination of data sources. XQuery is also supported in Stylus Studio, our XML IDE, which fully supports XQuery with an XQuery editor, debugging, mapping and visualization tools.

-- Robert Evelyn, VP Strategy and General Manager XML Products Group, DataDirect


IBM is pleased to see XQuery 1.0, XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0 advance to Recommendation status. We have supported the W3C in this effort by providing the XSL Working Group chair, an XQuery Working Group co-chair, as well as XQuery, XSLT and XPath specification editors. As key additions in the XML family, these standards allow businesses to flexibly access, query, manipulate and present their data for heterogeneous customers and partners. IBM has several market leading products that offer support for these important standards, in particular IBM DB2 Version 9.1 with support for XQuery, and we anticipate real benefits to our customers.

-- Karla Norsworthy, VP Software Standards, IBM


Innovimax is very pleased to have participated in the effective collaborative effort that permits XSLT 2.0, XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 to become Recommendations of the W3C. It is a great step forward in making XML transformations more and more a core component of XML ecosystem. Great challenges would become more accessible as the market will use those specifications and Innovimax will help media companies to improve.

-- Mohamed Zergaoui, President and Chief Technology Officer, Innovimax

Mark Logic Corporation

As the provider of the industry's leading XML content server, and a long-standing member of the XQuery Working Group, Mark Logic is very pleased that the W3C has released the new standards in the XML Family.We designed MarkLogic Server, based on the W3C-standard XQuery language, to query, manipulate, and render XML content, which enables our customers to unlock the value of their information. The addition of the W3C's new XML standards signifies an important step towards creating even more opportunities for improving the way our customers find and utilize content.

-- Dave Kellogg, CEO, Mark Logic Corporation


Microsoft is proud to have participated in the development of XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 at the W3C and is pleased to see it successfully release as a final recommendation. We feel XQuery adds important functionality to the XML processing stack and we already deploy SQL Server 2005 with integrated XQuery support on the XML data type. We believe that the advance of XQuery to a W3C Recommendation provides a solid foundation for future advances in our XML support inside the database to address our customers’ need in XML data processing.

-- Michael Rys, Principal Program Manager, Microsoft

Oracle Corporation

Oracle is delighted with the progression of XQuery to Recommendation status and celebrates along with the XML community the completion of this important language. Oracle's commitment to W3C and XQuery is reflected in Jim Melton's serving as co-chair of the the XML Query Working Group and in the contribution of our technical representative to that effort Dana Florescu -- co-inventor of Quilt, the language that served as the starting point for XQuery. Our participation in XQuery's development reflects our corporate philosophy to support open standards forums, such as the W3C. Oracle's database products, XML DB and Berkeley DB, were the first to deliver an embedded XQuery implementation, and progression of XQuery to Recommendation status gives our customers further confidence in using that important new capability.

-- Donald Deutsch, Ph.D, Vice President of Standards Strategy and Architecture, Oracle Corporation

En Français


Innovimax est particulièrement heureux d'avoir participé à la contribution internationale ayant mené à l'adoption par le W3C des recommandations XSLT 2.0, XQuery 1.0 et XPath 2.0. Cette évolution majeure permettra de remettre au coeur de l'écosystème XML les transformations de données XML. Les challenges dans ces domaines trouveront dans l'implémentation de ces spécifications de nouvelles solutions et Innovimax fournira l'expertise nécessaire aux fournisseurs de contenus multimédia.

-- Mohamed ZERGAOUI, Gérant et Directeur de l'innovation, Innovimax

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