Calling JAXP XPath extension functions

The JAXP XPath interface includes an interface FunctionResolver which can be used to bind a function call appearing in the XPath expression to a user-written Java implementation of the interface java.xml.xpath.XPathFunction. The form in which parameters are passed to such a function, and the form in which it returns its results, are not precisely defined in the JAXP specification, so this section fills the gap. Note that the calling conventions are likely to differ from those used by other products.

The extension function is called by invoking the method XPathFunction.evaluate(), which takes a list of arguments, and returns the function result.

The arguments are therefore supplied as a list. Each item in this list represents one argument. The argument value is represented as follows:

  1. If the value of the argument is a singleton item, it will be passed as the "natural Java equivalent" of the item's type. For example, a double will be passed as an instance of java.lang.Double, a string as an instance of java.lang.String. An untyped atomic value is treated as a string. An xs:integer (even if it belongs to a subtype such as xs:short) is converted to a java.lang.BigInteger. The more specialized XML Schema primitive types such as xs:hexBinary and xs:duration are passed in their native Saxon representation (a subclass of net.sf.saxon.value.AtomicValue). A node will be passed as an instance of net.sf.saxon.NodeInfo, unless it wraps a foreign node (e.g. a DOM or JDOM node) in which case the foreign node is passed.

  2. If the value is a sequence of any length other than one (including zero), then the value that is passed is a List, where each item in the list is converted as described in rule (1).

If the return value conforms to the above conventions, then it will be accepted. However Saxon will also accept a wide range of other return values, including of course a List containing one item.