Sep 15, 2007

Eureka moments

I am pretty sure that this won't be an eye-opener for many, but I just had my eureka moment with XPath. I have been playing with XML config file for a light-weight survey module for our intranet and has been banging my head against Perl XML::Simple module. After a lot of sweat and tears, mismatches between hash and array return values I thought of XPath (probably thanks to SteveY's post) -- and I was amazed how much simpler things became!

Instead of custom-building querying logic, all I now need to do to fetch a survey question or any of survey answers is:

use XML::XPath;
use XML::XPath::XMLParser;
my $xp = XML::XPath->new(filename => 'survey.xml');
# first survey description
print
  $xp->getvalue('/surveys/survey[1]/description'),"\n";
# second question of the third survey
print
  $xp->getvalue('/surveys/survey[3]/questions/q[2]'),"\n";
# fourth answer to that
print
  $xp->getvalue('/surveys/survey[3]/answers/for[@qid=2]/a[4]'),"\n";

I am sure that XML::Simple has its uses as well -- but certainly for querying data XML::XPath just soooo much easier!

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