Chapter 16. A Brief XML Primer

So, here we are—most of our structural stuff is done at this point, and we're ready to start moving on to the peripheral stuff. That is, we're ready to start looking at things that are outside of what one usually actively thinks of when working with relational database systems. It's not that some of the items we still have to cover aren't things that you would normally expect out of a relational database system—it's just that we don't really need these in order to have a functional SQL Server. Indeed, there are so many things included in SQL Server now, that it's difficult to squeeze everything into one book.

This chapter will start by presenting some background for what has become an increasingly integral part of SQL Server—XML. We will then move on to looking at some of the many features SQL Server has to support XML. The catch here is that XML is really entirely its own animal—it's a completely different kind of thing than the relational system we've been working with up to this point. Why then does SQL Server include so much functionality to support it? The short answer is that XML is probably the most important thing to happen to data since the advent of data warehousing.

XML has actually been around for years now, but, while the talk was big, its actual usage was not what it could have been. Since the late '90s, XML has gone into wider and wider use as a generic way to make data feeds and reasonable-sized data documents available. XML provides ...

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