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Introduction to Common Language Runtime (CLR) Integration

Microsoft SQL Server now features the integration of the common language runtime (CLR) component of the .NET Framework for Microsoft Windows. The CLR supplies managed code with services such as cross-language integration, code access security, object lifetime management, and debugging and profiling support. For SQL Server users and application developers, CLR integration means that you can now write stored procedures, triggers, user-defined types, user-defined functions (scalar and table-valued), and user-defined aggregate functions using any .NET Framework language, including Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual C#. Note that Visual Studio .NET 2003 cannot be used for CLR integration programming. SQL Server 2005 includes the .NET Framework 2.0 pre-installed, and Visual Studio .NET 2003 cannot use the .NET Framework 2.0 assemblies.

Among the major benefits of this integration are:

  • A better programming model. The .NET Framework languages are in many respects richer than Transact-SQL, offering constructs and capabilities previously not available to SQL Server developers. Developers may also leverage the power of the .NET Framework Library, which provides an extensive set of classes that can be used to quickly and efficiently solve programming problems.
  • Improved safety and security. Managed code runs in a common language run-time environment, hosted by the Database Engine. SQL Server leverages this to provide a safer and more secure alternative to the extended stored procedures available in earlier versions of SQL Server.
  • Ability to define data types and aggregate functions. User defined types and user defined aggregates are two new managed database objects which expand the storage and querying capabilities of SQL Server.
  • Streamlined development through a standardized environment. Database development is integrated into future releases of the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET development environment. Developers use the same tools for developing and debugging database objects and scripts as they use to write middle-tier or client-tier .NET Framework components and services.
  • Potential for improved performance and scalability. In many situations, the .NET Framework language compilation and execution models deliver improved performance over Transact-SQL.

This following table lists the topics in this section.

Topic Description

Overview of CLR Integration

Describes the kinds of objects that can be built using CLR integration, and reviews the requirements for building database objects using CLR integration.

Architecture of CLR Integration

Describes the design goals of CLR integration.

Enabling CLR Integration

Describes how to enable CLR integration.

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