Command-Line Client

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This page is part of the Getting Started Section. BaseX offers a standalone console mode from which all database commands can be executed. The article on the Database Server provides numerous examples for running commands in the console mode (note that the GUI does not interact with the client/server architecture).


First of all, please launch a standalone version of BaseX: double click on the BaseX icon, or run the basex script. Follow this link for more information (or check out the additional command-line options).

Create a database

  • To create a database you need an XML document, e.g. factbook.xml.
  • Save this document to your working directory.
  • Type in the following command to create and open the database:

> CREATE DB factbook factbook.xml

factbook is the name of the database
factbook.xml is the initial input of the database
Where is the database stored?

By default, databases are stored in the BaseXData directory, which is located in your home folder. Depending on your Configuration, the location of your home folder varies. For example, on a Mac it's /Users/John, if your name is John. If you are working with the ZIP or EXE distribution, the directory will be named data and reside in the application directory.

Execute a query

The XQUERY command lets you run a query.

  • For example, this query returns all country nodes in the currently opened database.

> XQUERY //country

  • You can also run queries in files:

> RUN /Users/John/query.xq

Create a new database

Now we will create another database from the xmark.xml document.

  • Create and open a new database 'xmark':

> CREATE DB xmark xmark.xml

  • If you have create the database before, you can open it as follows:

> OPEN xmark

  • Execute queries on your database:

> XQUERY //people/person/name

Switch the database

  • The following command lists all databases than can be opened by the currently logged in user:


  • To open an existing database, execute the following:

> OPEN factbook

  • You can also address a database within your query with the db:open function:

> XQUERY db:open("factbook")//country

Close or delete a database

  • To close the current database, please type:


  • Use the DROP DB command to delete a database:

> DROP DB xmark

Create a collection

What is a collection? With BaseX you can group documents into one logical collection. A collection is a database that contains two or more documents. Collections accept any type of XML documents, regardless of their structure.

Let's add the xmark.xml document to the factbook database to create a collection. The name of the original factbook database remains.

  • First make sure factbook is opened:

> OPEN factbook

  • Now add the xmark.xml document:

> ADD xmark.xml

Delete a document

  • Deleting a document from a collection is easy:

> DELETE xmark.xml

Make sure that the collection, which contains the xmark.xml document, is opened.

Delete a collection

Deleting a collection is the same as deleting a database.

  • To delete the collection factbook, type:

> DROP DB factbook

Get server information

Several commands help to explore the state of a server. For a complete list, please visit the Commands Section.

  • To see all databases on the server, type:


  • To see the general information of the opened database, type:


  • To list all sessions that are managed by the server instance, type:


Backup and restore

  • To backup your database, type:

> CREATE BACKUP factbook

  • To restore your database, type:

> RESTORE factbook

Where is the backup-file stored?

The backup-file is stored in the database directory. The file is named ( To restore the database the file with the newest timestamp is taken.