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The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language Reference
by The PostgreSQL Global Development Group
Paperback (6"x9"), 454 pages
ISBN 9781906966041
RRP £14.95 ($19.95)

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6.13.3 Accessing XML Values

The xml data type is unusual in that it does not provide any comparison operators. This is because there is no well-defined and universally useful comparison algorithm for XML data. One consequence of this is that you cannot retrieve rows by comparing an xml column against a search value. XML values should therefore typically be accompanied by a separate key field such as an ID. An alternative solution for comparing XML values is to convert them to character strings first, but note that character string comparison has little to do with a useful XML comparison method.

Since there are no comparison operators for the xml data type, it is not possible to create an index directly on a column of this type. If speedy searches in XML data are desired, possible workarounds include casting the expression to a character string type and indexing that, or indexing an XPath expression. Of course, the actual query would have to be adjusted to search by the indexed expression.

The text-search functionality in PostgreSQL can also be used to speed up full-document searches of XML data. The necessary preprocessing support is, however, not yet available in the PostgreSQL distribution.

ISBN 9781906966041The PostgreSQL 9.0 Reference Manual - Volume 1A - SQL Language ReferenceSee the print edition