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CHAPTER 10 XML IN S QL SERVE R
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Note Just like DiffGram, the SqlXmlCommand object also allows you to update UpdateGrams. The
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UpdateGram format is similar to DiffGram in that it keeps the differential versions of the data. However, the DataSet class doesn t have any methods to serialize itself in UpdateGram format. You can think of DiffGram as a subset of UpdateGram.
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The XML Data Type
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Up until now, you ve seen various features of SQL Server that provide a strong integration between relational and XML data. But that s not all. This section gives the next installment of the XML features of SQL Server: the XML data type. Prior to SQL Server 2005, storing XML data in a table essentially meant that you had to use a VARCHAR or TEXT column for the data. From the point of view of storage, this was fine; but from a data-manipulation point of view, it was tedious. The XML data was treated just like any other text data. The new XML data type introduced in SQL Server 2005 is exclusively for storing XML documents and fragments.
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Note An XML document is markup that contains the root element, whereas an XML fragment is markup
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without any root element. Remember that the FOR XML clause by default returns XML fragments and not documents.
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As well as storing XML data, you can also execute XQuery operations and special XML datamanipulation statements on the data. The XML data can have an XSD schema attached to it so that data validations can be performed. You can also index tables on the basis of an XML column.
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Note XQuery is a W3C-proposed standard that deals with querying XML documents. You can think of
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XQuery as SQL for XML data. The XQuery syntax is based on XPath expression syntax.
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To begin, let s see how to add a column of type XML to a SQL Server table.
Creating a Table with an XML Column
To see how a column of type XML can be added to a SQL Server table, you will create a new table in the Northwind database called XMLDocs. Figure 10-9 shows the XMLDocs table in design mode.
CHAPTER 10 XML IN S QL SERVE R
Figure 10-9. Creating a table with an XML column The XMLDocs table consists of two columns: Id and XmlData. The former column is the primary and is marked as an identity column, and the latter is of type XML.
Inserting, Modifying, and Deleting XML Data
Inserting, modifying, or deleting XML data is similar to any other data type. However, there are some points to keep in mind. Listing 10-30 shows how to use INSERT and UPDATE statements against a column of type XML. Listing 10-30. Inserting and Updating XML Columns -- Here goes INSERT INSERT INTO xmldocs(xmldata) VALUES( '<Employee EmployeeID="1"> <FirstName>Nancy</FirstName> <LastName>Davolio</LastName> </Employee>') -- Here goes UPDATE UPDATE xmldocs SET xmldata=' <Employee EmployeeID="1"> <FirstName>Nancy</FirstName>
CHAPTER 10 XML IN S QL SERVE R
<LastName>Davolio</LastName> </Employee>' WHERE Id=1 As you can see, for an INSERT or an UPDATE against a column of the XML data type, you can use XML data in string format. You can also declare a variable of type XML in your Transact-SQL (T-SQL) scripts, as shown in Listing 10-31. Listing 10-31. Declaring a Variable of Type XML DECLARE @xmldata xml SET @xmldata=' <Employee EmployeeID="2"> <FirstName>Nancy</FirstName> <LastName> Davolio</LastName> </Employee>' UPDATE xmldocs SET xmldata=@xmldata WHERE Id=1 The script declares a variable called xmldata of type XML and stores some XML markup in it. The xmldata variable is then used in the UPDATE statement. If you wish to explicitly convert a string value into the XML data type, you can use the CONVERT function as shown in Listing 10-32. Listing 10-32. Converting String Values to an XML Data Type DECLARE @xmldata VARCHAR(255) SET @xmldata=' <Employee EmployeeID="2"> <FirstName>Nancy</FirstName> <LastName> Davolio</LastName> </Employee>' UPDATE xmldocs SET xmldata=CONVERT(xml,@xmldata,0) WHERE Id=1 The first parameter to the CONVERT function is the target data type. The second parameter is the source data to be converted, and the third parameter is the style. The value of 0 indicates that insignificant white spaces will be discarded. You might be wondering if XML data can be represented as a string, why would we want to use XML variables at all The answer is, using the XML data type is recommended because the XML data type checks that the XML data is well formed.
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