Accelerating XPath Location Steps

Torsten Grust

Proceedings of the 21st ACM SIGMOD Int’l Conference on Management of Data (SIGMOD 2002), pages 109-120, ACM Press, Madison, Wisconsin, USA, June 2002.

This work is a proposal for a database index structure that has been specifically designed to support the evaluation of XPath queries. As such, the index is capable to support all XPath axes (including ancestor, following, preceding-sibling, descendant-or-self, etc.). This feature lets the index stand out among related work on XML indexing structures which had a focus on regular path expressions (which correspond to the XPath axes children and descendant-or-self plus name tests). Its ability to start traversals from arbitrary context nodes in an XML document additionally enables the index to support the evaluation of path traversals embedded in XQuery expressions. Despite its flexibility, the new index can be implemented and queried using purely relational techniques, but it performs especially well if the underlying database host provides support for R-trees. A performance assessment which shows quite promising results completes this proposal.