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I discuss features of a specific version, I explicitly mention the relevant version information. To work with the examples discussed in this chapter, you need to have SQL Server 2005 or 2008 (an Express Edition will do for most of the examples) installed on your machine. You ll also need SQL Server Management Studio and the SQLXML managed classes.
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Using XML Extensions to the SELECT Statement
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As of SQL Server 2000, you can execute SELECT statements that return the results in XML format. In 7, you got a taste of this feature while using the ExecuteXmlReader() method of the SqlCommand class. Now it s time to look at these extensions in detail.
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CHAPTER 10 XML IN S QL SERVE R
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The FOR XML Clause
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To fetch the FOR XML clause SQL Server data in XML format, you need to use the FOR XML clause with the SELECT statement. The FOR XML clause has four modes that allow you to return the XML results in different formats. The modes of the FOR XML clause are listed in Table 10-1.
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Table 10-1. Modes of the FOR XML Clause
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Mode
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AUTO
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Description
The AUTO mode returns the results of the SELECT query as XML fragments. By default it returns the data as XML elements. The name of the XML element is the same as the table name, and column values are returned as XML attributes. You have the option to return all the columns as elements instead of attributes. The RAW mode returns the results as a <row> element. The column values are returned as XML attributes. The PATH mode allows you to define the nesting of the returned XML by using simple XPath syntax. The EXPLICIT mode defines a schema for the returned results explicitly in the SELECT query.
RAW PATH EXPLICIT
To test these modes of the FOR XML clause, you will execute some SELECT queries against the famous Northwind database by using the SQL Server Management Studio, shown in Figure 10-1.
Figure 10-1. The SQL Server Management Studio
CHAPTER 10 XML IN S QL SERVE R
The AUTO Mode
Open SQL Server Management Studio and issue the SELECT statement shown in Listing 10-1. Listing 10-1. Using the AUTO Mode of the FOR XML Clause SELECT EMPLOYEEID,FIRSTNAME,LASTNAME FROM EMPLOYEES FOR XML AUTO <EMPLOYEES EMPLOYEEID="1" FIRSTNAME="Nancy" LASTNAME="Davolio"/> <EMPLOYEES EMPLOYEEID="2" FIRSTNAME="Andrew" LASTNAME="Fuller"/> <EMPLOYEES EMPLOYEEID="3" FIRSTNAME="Janet" LASTNAME="Leverling"/> .... The SELECT statement from Listing 10-1 selects three columns EmployeeID, FirstName, and LastName from the Employees table. Listing 10-1 also shows the returned data in XML format. Notice how the table name is used for the XML element names (<EMPLOYEES>), and column names are used for attribute names. Have you noticed something about the character casing of the returned XML It depends totally on the table name and columns used in the SELECT statement. For example, if you specify column names in uppercase, the XML attributes will be in uppercase. You may need to keep this in mind while parsing the XML data in your application. By default the AUTO mode returns all the column values as XML attributes. If you wish, you can return them as elements instead. This is achieved by using the ELEMENTS clause with the AUTO mode. Listing 10-2 shows how the ELEMENTS clause works. Listing 10-2. Using the ELEMENTS Clause of the AUTO Mode SELECT EMPLOYEEID,FIRSTNAME,LASTNAME FROM EMPLOYEES FOR XML AUTO,ELEMENTS <EMPLOYEES> <EMPLOYEEID>1</EMPLOYEEID> <FIRSTNAME>Nancy</FIRSTNAME> <LASTNAME>Davolio</LASTNAME> </EMPLOYEES> .... As you can see, we specify the ELEMENTS clause after the AUTO mode. Notice how the column values are returned as elements this time. The names of the elements are the same as the column names.
Note The XML data returned by the FOR XML clause in the preceding code is not well formed by default.
It doesn t include the root element. However, as you will see later, you can specify the root element yourself.
CHAPTER 10 XML IN S QL SERVE R
The RAW Mode
The RAW mode of the FOR XML clause returns the XML data as zero or more XML elements. By default the name of the elements is <row>. You can change this default behavior by specifying an element name yourself. The column values are returned as XML attributes. Listing 10-3 shows the use of RAW mode. Listing 10-3. Using the RAW Mode of the FOR XML Clause SELECT EmployeeID,FirstName,LastName FROM Employees FOR XML RAW <row <row <row <row .... EmployeeID="1" EmployeeID="2" EmployeeID="3" EmployeeID="4" FirstName="Nancy" LastName="Davolio"/> FirstName="Andrew" LastName="Fuller"/> FirstName="Janet" LastName="Leverling"/> FirstName="Margaret" LastName="Peacock"/>
As you can see, the FOR XML clause is followed by the RAW mode. The returned XML contains <row> elements with attributes holding the column values. If you wish to change the default element name, you can specify your own element name as shown in Listing 10-4. Listing 10-4. Assigning a Custom Element Name to the Output of RAW Mode SELECT EmployeeID,FirstName,LastName FROM Employees FOR XML RAW ('Employee') <Employee <Employee <Employee <Employee .... EmployeeID="1" EmployeeID="2" EmployeeID="3" EmployeeID="4" FirstName="Nancy" LastName="Davolio"/> FirstName="Andrew" LastName="Fuller"/> FirstName="Janet" LastName="Leverling"/> FirstName="Margaret" LastName="Peacock"/>
As you can see, we ve now specified Employee as the element name in parentheses. This element name is given to all the returned rows.
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