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Add Business Logic to XML Data

Your business logic can be added to XML data in several ways:

  • You can write row or column constraints to enforce domain-specific constraints during insertion and modification of XML data.

  • You can write a trigger on the XML column that fires when you insert or update values in the column. The trigger can contain domain-specific validation rules or populate property tables.

  • The Database Engine includes the ability execute managed code. You can use this common language runtime (CLR) integration to write functions in managed code to which you pass XML values, and use XML processing capabilities provided by the System.Xml namespace. An example is to apply XSL transformation to XML data. Alternatively, you can deserialize the XML into one or more managed classes and operate on them by using managed code.

  • You can write Transact-SQL stored procedures and functions that start the processing on the XML column for your business needs.

Consider a CLR function TransformXml() that accepts an xml data type instance and an XSL transformation stored in a file, applies the transformation to the XML data, and then returns the transformed XML in the result. Following is a skeleton function that is written in C#:

public static SqlXml TransformXml (SqlXml XmlData, string xslPath) {
   // Load XSL transformation
   XslCompiledTransform xform = new XslCompiledTransform();
   XPathDocument xslDoc = new XPathDocument (xslPath);
   xform.Load(xslDoc);

   // Load XML data 
   XPathDocument xDoc = new XPathDocument (XmlData.CreateReader());

   // Return the transformed value
   MemoryStream xsltResult = new MemoryStream();
   xform.Transform(xDoc, null, xsltResult);
   SqlXml retSqlXml = new SqlXml(xsltResult);
   return (retSqlXml);
} 

After the assembly is registered and a user-defined Transact-SQL function is created, SqlXslTransform() corresponding to TransformXml(), the function can be invoked from Transact-SQL as shown in the following query:

SELECT SqlXslTransform (xCol, 'C:\MyFile\xsltransform.xsl')
FROM    T
WHERE  xCol.exist('/book/title/text()[contains(.,"custom")]') =1;

The query result contains a rowset of the transformed XML.

The CLR integration into SQL Server expands the possibilities for decomposing XML data into tables or property promotion, and querying XML data by using managed classes in the System.Xml namespace. For more information, see XML Data (SQL Server).

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