Chapter 4. XML Integration
Extensible Markup Language (XML) — looking back at its history is something of a funny thing to me. Part of its strength lies in its simplicity, so it would seem like it wouldn't change much. Indeed, the basic rules of it haven't changed at all — but all the things surrounding XML (such as how to access data stored in XML) have gone through many changes. Likewise, the way that SQL Server supports XML has seen some fairly big changes from the time it was first introduced.
So, to continue my "it's a funny thing" observation, I realized some time back that I used to refer to XML support as being an "extra" — what a truly silly thing for me to say. Yeah, yeah, yeah — I always tempered that "extra" comment with the notion that it's only because XML support isn't really required to have a working SQL Server, but I've come to realize in today's world that it isn't much of a working SQL Server without support for XML. It is with this in mind, and looking back at how integral XML integration has become to the product, that I've moved my coverage of XML much further forward in the book versus where I had it in prior editions (where it was more of an afterthought).
XML has, over the decade or so that it has grown into widespread use, become a fundamental consideration in the vast majority of data designs. Sure, there are many well thought out and well designed systems out there that do not use so much as one line of XML code, but there are very, very few that haven't ...