Saxon provides an API for executing XPath expressions. The API is an implementation of the JAXP 1.3 XPath API, which in turn is loosely modeled on the DOM Level 3 API for XPath (which Saxon does not implement). For full documentation, see the Javadoc description of package net.sf.saxon.xpath. Two sample applications using this API are available: they are called and, and can be found in the samples/java directory.

The application is written to use JAXP 1.3 interfaces. To run this application, see the instructions in Shakespeare XPath Sample Application.

The application is an enhanced version of the class of the same name issued as a sample application in the JAXP 1.3 distribution. It has been enhanced to show the use of more advanced features, such as the ability to bind namespaces, variables, and functions, and also to demonstrate use of the XPath API with different object models.

The XPath API in Saxon predates the introduction of the JAXP 1.3 XPath API, so it contains some facilities that are obsolescent. However, there are also differences caused by the fact that Saxon supports XPath 2.0, with its richer data model, whereas JAXP 1.3 operates only on XPath 1.0.

The following sections describe use of the XPath API in more detail.