EDBT 2009
Conference paper

On rewriting Xpath Queries Using Views

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The problem of rewriting a query using a materialized view is studied for a well known fragment of XPath that includes the following three constructs: wildcards, descendant edges and branches. In earlier work, determining the existence of a rewriting was shown to be coNP-hard, but no tight complexity bound was given. While it was argued that Σ 3p is an upper bound, the proof was based on results that have recently been refuted. Consequently, the exact complexity (and even decidability) of this basic problem has been unknown, and there have been no practical rewriting algorithms if the query and the view use all the three constructs mentioned above. It is shown that under fairly general conditions, there are only two candidates for rewriting and hence, the problem can be practically solved by two containment tests. In particular, under these conditions, determining the existence of a rewriting is coNP-complete. The proofs utilize various novel techniques for reasoning about XPath patterns. For the general case, the exact complexity remains unknown, but it is shown that the problem is decidable. Copyright 2009 ACM.