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Serialization parameters define how XQuery items and XML nodes will be serialized (i.e., returned to the client or an API, usually in textual form). The official parameters are defined in the W3C XQuery Serialization 3.1 document. In BaseX, they can be:

The namespace for serialization parameters is statically bound to the output prefix. This means that it need not (but may) be declared in the query prolog:

declare namespace output = '';
declare option output:method 'text';
<xml>Hi there</xml>

Due to the wide range of ways how parameters can be supplied, we deliberately ignored one rule of the specification, which requires non-official features to be defined in a non-null namespace URI. In the following, we will indicate which features are specific to our implementation.

Standard Parameters

The following serialization parameters are supported by BaseX (further details can be looked up in the official specification):

Parameter Description Allowed Default
method Specifies the serialization method. xml, xhtml, html, text and adaptive are part of the official specification. For more details on basex, csv and json, see XQuery Extensions. xml, xhtml, html, text, json, adaptive, csv, basex basex
version Specifies the version of the serialization method. xml/xhtml: 1.0, 1.1 html: 4.0, 4.01, 5.0 1.0
html-version Specifies the version of the HTML serialization method. 4.0, 4.01, 5.0 4.0
item-separator Determines a string to be used as item separator. If a separator is specified, the default separation of atomic values with single whitespace will be skipped. string
encoding Encoding to be used for outputting the data. all encodings supported by Java UTF-8
indent Adds leading whitespace to make the output more readable. yes, no no
cdata-section-elements List of elements to be output as CDATA, separated by whitespace. Example: <text><![CDATA[ <> ]]></text> string
omit-xml-declaration Omits the XML declaration, which is serialized before the actual query result Example: <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> yes, no yes
standalone Prints or omits the standalone attribute in the XML declaration. yes, no, omit omit
doctype-system Introduces the output with a document type declaration and the given system identifier. Example: <!DOCTYPE x SYSTEM "entities.dtd"> string
doctype-public If doctype-system is specified, adds a public identifier. Example: <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN" ""> string
undeclare-prefixes Undeclares prefixes in XML 1.1. yes, no no
normalization-form Specifies a normalization form. BaseX supports Form C (NFC). NFC, none NFC
media-type Specifies the media type. string application/xml
use-character-maps Defines character mappings. If mappings are supplied as a single string, keys and values are separated by the equal sign, and multiple pairs are separated by commas. Separators that are to be defined as keys or values can be encoded as entities. Example: A=alpha,B=beta string
byte-order-mark Prints a byte-order-mark before starting serialization. yes, no no
escape-uri-attributes Escapes URI information in certain HTML attributes Example: <a href="%C3%A4%C3%B6%C3%BC">äöü<a> yes, no no
include-content-type Inserts a meta content-type element into the head element if the result is output as HTML Example: <head><meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8"></head>. The head element must already exist or nothing will be added. Any existing meta content-type elements will be removed. yes, no yes

Query Prolog Parameters

The following parameters can only be specified in the query prolog (see XQuery: Specification for more details and examples):

Parameter Description Allowed Default
parameter-document Parses the value as an XML document with additional serialization parameters. string

Custom Parameters

BaseX provides some additional serialization parameters:

Parameter Description Allowed Default
csv Defines the way how data is serialized as CSV. see CSV Functions
json Defines the way how data is serialized as JSON. see JSON Functions
tabulator Uses tab characters (\t) instead of spaces for indenting elements. yes, no no
indents Specifies the number of characters to be indented. positive number 2

Added: Indent attributes after the element name, one below the other.

yes, no false
newline Specifies the type of newline to be used as end-of-line marker. \n, \r\n, \r system dependent
limit Stops serialization after the specified number of bytes has been serialized. If a negative number is specified, everything will be output. positive number -1
binary Indicates if items of binary type are output in their native byte representation. Only applicable to the base serialization method. yes, no yes

The csv and json parameters are supplied with a list of options. Option names and values are combined with =, several options are separated by ,:

declare option output:method "csv";
declare option output:csv "header=yes, separator=semicolon";

If fn:serialize is called, output-specific parameters can be supplied via nested options:

    'method': 'csv',
    'csv': { 'header': 'yes', 'separator': ';' }

Character mappings

Character maps allow a specific character in the instance of the data model to be replaced with a specified string of characters during serialization. The string that is substituted is output “as is,” and the serializer performs no checks that the resulting document is well-formed. This may only occur in documents parsed with parameter-document. If a character is mapped, then it is not subjected to XML or HTML escaping. For details, refer to section 11 Character maps in the W3C XQuery Serialization 3.1 document.

This example maps the Unicode U+00A0 NO-BREAK SPACE as &#160; (without the serialization parameter, the Unicode character would be output):

Example query:
declare option output:parameter-document "map.xml";
Example parameter-document:
     <character-map character="&#160;" map-string="&amp;#160;"/>


Version 11.0
  • Added: Serialization parameter indent-attributes.
Version 10.0
  • Updated: indent: Default changed from yes to no.
Version 9.2
  • Updated: New default value for include-content-type is yes.
Version 8.4
  • Added: Serialization parameter binary.
  • Updated: New serialization method basex. By default, items of binary type are now output in their native byte representation. The method raw was removed.
Version 8.0
  • Added: Support for use-character-maps and parameter-document.
  • Added: Serialization method adaptive.
  • Updated: adaptive is new default method (before: xml).
  • Removed: format, wrap-prefix, wrap-uri.
Version 7.8.2
  • Added: limit: Stops serialization after the specified number of bytes has been serialized.
Version 7.8
  • Added: csv and json serialization parameters.
  • Removed: separator option (use item-separator instead).
Version 7.7.2
  • Added: csv serialization method.
  • Added: temporary serialization methods csv-header, csv-separator, json-unescape, json-spec, json-format.
Version 7.5
  • Added: official item-separator and html-version parameter.
  • Updated: method=html5 removed; serializers updated with the latest version of the specification, using method=html and version=5.0.
Version 7.2
  • Added: separator parameter.
Version 7.1
  • Added: newline parameter.
Version 7.0
  • Added: Serialization parameters added to the REST API; JSON/JsonML/raw methods.

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