Re: [xsl] problem with XPath count()

Subject: Re: [xsl] problem with XPath count()
From: "Bauman, Syd s.bauman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <xsl-list-service@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 1 Nov 2023 04:53:04 -0000
I am not sure I could explain precisely what is going on here with position()
if I were fully awake, but there is no chance I can do so now (it is, after
all way past my bedtime), but the apparent miscount boils down to the basic
problem that position() doesnt mean what we often, at first blush, think
means. (Although often enough it is close enough to what we think that it

The problem is solved by replacing the call to position() with another count:

count( preceding::text[ count( preceding::text ) eq 0  or  substring( ., 1, 1
) eq 'x'] )

P.S. I presume your input is something like the following, even though the
initial x in the content was missing in the post.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
If it is much more complicated, you might need to be using preceding-sibling::
From: Wolfhart Totschnig wolfhart.totschnig@xxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, November 1, 2023 00:40
To: xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <xsl-list@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [xsl] problem with XPath count()

Dear list,

There is a seemingly simple XPath problem to which I cannot find the
solution. I'm hoping (or, rather, certain) that one of you can help me.

I have a list of <text> elements, like so:


I want to count, for each element, the number of preceding <text>
elements that satisfy one or both of the following two conditions: 1)
the element is the first of the list or 2) its string value begins with
"x". Here is an example, with the expected number of the count after the

<text>foo</text>        0   (no preceding <text> element that satisfies
either of the conditions)
<text>xfoo</text>      1   (one preceding <text> element that satisfies
condition 1)
<text>foo</text>        2   (one preceding <text> element that satisfies
condition 1 + one preceding <text> element that satisfies condition 2)
<text>xfoo</text>      2   (same as with the previous element)

I thought that it would be as simple as the following:

count(preceding::text[position() = 1 or substring(., 1, 1) = 'x'])

But this XPath expression does not give the expected result. It gives
the following:

<text>foo</text>        0
<text>xfoo</text>      1
<text>foo</text>        1
<text>xfoo</text>      2

That is, on the third element it gives "1" whereas I would expect "2".
What am I misunderstanding?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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