Axis Specifiers

The axis of a node test determines what general category of nodes may be considered for the following node test. There are thirteen axes:

ancestor

Ancestors of the current node

ancestor-or-self

Ancestors, including the current node

attribute

Attributes of the current node (abbreviated "@")

child

Children of the current node (the default axis)

descendant

Descendants of the current node

descendant-or-self

Descendants, including the current node (abbreviated "//")

following / following-sibling

Elements which occur after the current node, in document order

preceding / preceding-sibling

Elements which occur before the current node, in document order (returned in reverse-document order)

namespace

The namespace nodes of the current node

parent

The parent of the current node (abbreviated "..")

self

The current node (abbreviated ".")

The following graphic, courtesy of Crane Softwrights, demonstrates the axes graphically: