[xquery-talk] string manipulation

Michael Dyck jmdyck at ibiblio.org
Sun Feb 5 14:42:30 PST 2006

John Snelson wrote:
> Instead of that, you could also try:
> replace("book/title/author", "/.*?$", "")

I think that won't work. Instead, two overlapping substrings 
('/title/author' and '/author') both match the pattern, and the 
replace() function is obliged to replace the first (leftmost) one, 
resulting in just "book".

That is, the reluctance of a subpattern (like '.*?') only exerts 
influence over a particular choice-point within a given partial match. 
It never eliminates a match that could have occurred in the absence of 

In F&O, note the example
     replace("abracadabra", "a.*?a", "*") returns "*c*bra"
The shortest possible match for the pattern is "aca", but that match is 
not one of the ones selected for replacement, because it overlaps with 
the first "abra" match, and the latter is leftmost.


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