Lazy Module

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This XQuery Module contains functions for handling lazy items.

In contrast to standard XQuery items, a lazy item contains a reference to the actual data, and the data itself will only be retrieved if it is requested. Hence, possible errors will be postponed, and no memory will be occupied by a lazy item as long as its content has not been requested yet.

The following BaseX functions return lazy items:

Some functions are capable of consuming the contents of lazy items in a streamable fashion: data will not be cached, but instead passed on to another target (file, the calling expression, etc.). The following streaming functions are currently available:

The XQuery expression below serves as an example on how large files can be downloaded and written to a file with constant memory consumption:

file:write-binary('', fetch:binary(''))

If lazy items are serialized, they will be streamed as well.


All functions and errors in this module are assigned to the namespace, which is statically bound to the lazy prefix.



Signatures lazy:cache($items as item()*) as item()*
lazy:cache($items as item()*, $lazy as xs:boolean) as item()*
Summary Caches the data of lazy $items in a sequence:
  • data of lazy items will be retrieved and cached inside the item.
  • non-lazy items, or lazy items with cached data, will simply be passed through.
  • If $lazy is set to true(), caching will be deferred until the data is eventually requested. Streaming will be disabled: Data will always be cached before a stream is returned.

Caching is advisable if an item will be processed more than once, or if the data may not be available anymore at a later stage.

Example In the following example, a file will be deleted before its content is returned. To avoid a “file not found” error when serializing the result, the content must be cached:
let $file := 'data.txt'
let $text := lazy:cache(file:read-text($file))
return (file:delete($file), $text)


Signatures lazy:is-lazy($item as item()) as xs:boolean
Summary Checks whether the specified $item is lazy.


Signatures lazy:is-cached($item as item()) as xs:boolean
Summary Checks whether the contents of the specified $item are cached. The function will always return true for non-lazy items.


Version 9.1
  • Updated: lazy:cache: $lazy argument added; support for sequences.
Version 9.0
  • Updated: Renamed from Streaming Module to Lazy Module.
  • Added: lazy:is-cached
Version 8.0

This module was introduced with Version 7.7.