Managing XML Data in VS .NET

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The addition of native XML support in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 represents a learning curve for database specialists who are used to relational data representation. But the effort is worth it. XML is a multipurpose, extensible data representation technology that expands the possibilities for how applications can consume and manipulate data. Unlike relational data, XML data can represent structured, semistructured, and unstructured data. XML support in SQL Server 2005 is fully integrated with the relational engine and query optimizer, allowing the retrieval and modification of XML data and even the conversion between XML and relational data representations. This chapter covers the key aspects of working with XML structures, shows you how to retrieve and modify XML data, and describes how to convert between XML and relational data. You also see how you can optimize the new XML data type in SQL Server 2005 for data retrieval by using different types of indexes.
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Exam objectives in this chapter:
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Manage XML data.
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Identify the specific structure needed by a consumer. Retrieve XML data. Modify XML data. Convert between XML data and relational data. Create an XML index. Load an XML schema.
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Lessons in this chapter:
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Lesson 1: Working with XML Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257 Lesson 2: Retrieving XML Data by Using SQL Server Server-Side Technologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269 Lesson 3: Retrieving XML Data by Using SQL Server Middle-Tier Technologies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298 Lesson 4: Modifying XML Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309 Lesson 5: Converting Between XML Data and Relational Data. . . . . . . . . . . . 320 Lesson 6: Creating XML Indexes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 334
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Managing XML Data
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Before You Begin
To complete the lessons in this chapter, you must have
A general understanding of XML and its related technologies, specifically XML schemas and XPATH. A general understanding of the supported XML data features in previous versions of SQL Server. The SQL Server 2005 AdventureWorks sample database installed. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 or Microsoft Visual C# 2005 Express Edition installed. You can download Visual C# 2005 Express Edition from http:// msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/.
Real World
Adolfo Wiernik As a software architect, I ve had to create the necessary database schema in an entity-relationship diagram to model structured data for relational databases. To represent some kinds of complex data in a relational format, I ve had to use models that relax the rules of normalization. But I ve also worked with data such as order-dependent data, hierarchical data, complex object graphs, and recursive data that is difficult to fit into the homogeneous structure of a relational model. In the past, I usually ended up representing in the database only the structured data and choosing for the unstructured data another data source, such as an XML file on the file system. However, the implementation of a native XML data type in SQL Server 2005 gives me the ability to represent all my data in the same relational data source and use all the power built into the relational query engine to favor other types of data. Although you might need to spend some time to become comfortable with the XML features in SQL Server, the flexibility and extensibility they can provide will make it well worth your while.
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