$CurrentUser vs. [%CurrentUser%] in Xpath

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In an Xpath constraint on a retrieve action, what is the difference between $CurrentUser and [%CurrentUser%]? Are there cases where I should use one instead of the other?
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The difference is that $currentUser represents a user object whereas [%CurrentUser%] is just an id of the actual object. So if you would ever need the name attribute of the current user in a retrieve then you can only use the $currentUser. However in practise you almost always use an association to retrieve entities and thus makes the id pointer as good as a choice.

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