[xquery-talk] :=

Liam R. E. Quin liam at w3.org
Mon Nov 21 12:01:13 PST 2016

On Mon, 2016-11-21 at 13:29 -0500, Joe Wicentowski wrote:
> Hi Mike,
> > 
> > Actually most of the symbols in the language don't have names. For
> > example "+" doesn't have a name.
> Fair point. But it is at least possible to track down or piece
> together a plain English description of the "+" operator,

The - sign, however, has multiple uses as do ( and ) and so does the
full stop: referring to a full stop (or "period") in 3.14159 isn't
usual terminology and referring to a decimal point in $person/socks[. =
"black"] is both confusing and technically incorrect.

For my part I prefer to teach people using as little jargon as possible
and only add names for things when we're going to be referring to them
a lot. It's probably more useful for people to understand that :=
generally appears in binding expressions, in which a name on the left
is associated with something on the right, than to delve into the
grammar. But a lot depends on your teaching style and the audience, and
I haven't taught XQuery particularly.

If you'd like to give := a name, e.g. "the greybeard symbol", please
feel free to file a comment against XQuery 3.1 and/or XPath 3.1
(there's instruections in the editors' drafts e.g. at
and the "Status" sections has pointers to bugzilla. If it will help
people in teaching we could add a note. But I think we'd want to hear
from multiple people, as this is the first request I've seen.

Of course, as Mike Kay suggested, you could also invent your own name
for it (sideways double-i?) and use that too!



Liam R. E. Quin <liam at w3.org>
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

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