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SQL Server 2000 Stored Procedure Programming
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A new virtual directory
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Accessing Database Information Using a URL
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After the virtual directory is created, an end user can use a browser such as Internet Explorer 5.0 to query the database using HTTP GET and POST methods. The simplest syntax for making such queries would be:
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http://server/virtual_directory/virtual_name sql=tsql_statement
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Unfortunately, characters such as (space), , / , % , # , and & have special meanings in URL syntax. Therefore, they must be encoded using their hexadecimal value in the form %xx . For example, the space character can be replaced using %20 or + . Therefore, to query the Inventory table, a user can issue the following statement:
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XML Support in SQL Server 2000
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http://MyServer/Asset sql=select%20top%201%20*%20 from%20Inventory%20for%20xml%20auto
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The query returns an XML document that contains just one node (see Figure 12-14). If you leave the clause top 1 out of the query,
http://MyServer/Asset sql=select%20*%20 from%20Inventory%20for%20xml%20auto
the parser will not be able to process the result. The Inventory element in the result string is repeated for each record and there is, therefore, no unique top element (see Figure 12-15).
Figure 12-14.
An XML document as a result of the database query
SQL Server 2000 Stored Procedure Programming
Figure 12-15.
The problem with no unique top element
There are two solutions to this problem. You can add a root parameter to the HTTP GET method, and the server will add a root node to the result:
&root=root_node
In this case, the previous query would be
http://dejan/asset sql=select%20*%20 from%20Inventory%20for%20xml%20auto&root=ROOT
The other alternative is to write the Transact-SQL statement so that it returns a missing root element. In the following example, two additional Select statements were added:
http://dejan/Asset sql=SELECT%20'<Root>'; %20SELECT%20*%20FROM%20Inventory%20FOR%20XML%20AUTO; %20select%20'</Root>'
The results of both methods are identical (see Figure 12-16).
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XML Support in SQL Server 2000
Figure 12-16.
The result as an XML document with root element
Unfortunately, many things can go wrong when you connect all these components and try to make them work together. Internet Explorer and the XML parser are not ideal debugging tools, which is understandable considering the number of layers created and the transformations that occurred.
Using a Stored Procedure Through HTTP
SQL Server 2000 and the ISAPI driver do not force you to use only the Select statement to get information via HTTP. Naturally, you can also use stored procedures. The following stored procedure contains a simple Select statement with a For XML clause:
CREATE PROCEDURE prListEquipment_xml AS select *
SQL Server 2000 Stored Procedure Programming
from Equipment for xml auto
The stored procedure can be called through HTTP:
http://dejan/asset sql=execute%20prListEquipment_xml&root=ROOT
In the following example, we demonstrate two things. First, a list of parameters can be included as a part of the Transact-SQL statement that executes the stored procedure. Second, the root element can be created in the stored procedure as well:
CREATE PROCEDURE prGetEquipment_xml @EquipmentId int AS Select '<Root>' Select * from Equipment Where EquipmentID= @EquipmentId For XML AUTO, elements Select '</Root>'
This stored procedure can be called using the following URL:
http://dejan/asset sql=execute%20prGetEquipment_xml%20@EquipmentId=5
Naturally, you are not required to use named parameters. The following URL is also legal, but a little bit confusing to read:
http://dejan/asset sql=execute%20prGetEquipment_xml%205
Accessing Database Information Using Templates
In the preceding section, we showed how you can incorporate a Transact-SQL statement as a part of the URL to access information via HTTP. Naturally, you cannot use this technique on a production system, because
It is too complicated for end users. It is prone to errors.
12:
XML Support in SQL Server 2000
s s v
The security of the system could be compromised easily. Browsers support only a limited URL length (2K). It is unrealistic to expect users to have adequate technical knowledge and understanding of the details of the technical implementation of the system.
Fortunately, there is an alternative templates. Syntax A template file is an XML document that contains all the technical information such as For XML and XPath queries, parameters, and XSL transformation files required to access and process database information. Template files have the following syntax:
<ROOT xmlns:sql="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xml-sql" sql:xsl='XSL_FileName' > <sql:header> <sql:param name=parameter_name>default_value</sql:param> <sql:header> <sql:query>
tsql_statements
</sql:query> <sql:XPath-query mapping-schema="Schema_FileName">
XPath_query
</sql:XPath-query> </ROOT>
The root element of the template file has one mandatory and one optional parameter. All other elements and attributes of the template file are declared in the urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xml-sql namespace. Therefore, all template files must have an xmlns:sql= urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xml-sql attribute. The xsl attribute is optional. It is used to specify the name of the XSL transformation file.
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