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The Art of XSD

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by Jacob Sebastian

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Today, a lot of applications exchange information in XML format. As such, there needs to be an agreement between the sender and receiver about the structure and content of the XML document. An XSD (XML Schema Definition Language) Schema can be used to enforce this contract and validate the XML data being exchanged. With SQL Server 2005 came the new native XML data type, and with it support for a subset of XSD. SQL Server stores XML schemas as ‘XML Schema Collections’, representing SQL Server objects, such as tables, views or stored procedures. Based on an XSD schema, you can create an XML Schema Collection that can be used to validate an XML data type, variable or column. An XML variable or column that is associated with an XML Schema Collection is known as TYPED XML. SQL Server validates a TYPED XML value against the rules defined in the schema collection. INSERT or UPDATE operations will succeed only if the value being inserted or updated is valid as per the rules defined in the Schema Collection.

This book will help you learn and use XML Schema collections in SQL Server. Prior knowledge of XSD is not required to start with this book, although any experience with XSD will make your learning process easier. This book starts with the basics of XML schemas and then walks you through everything you need to know, with examples and labs, in order to build powerful XML schemas in SQL Server.

If you have any question on the topics discussed in this book or on XSD in general, feel free to write to me at jacob@beyondrelational.com.

About the author

Jacob Sebastian is co-founder and CTO of Excellence Infonet (http://www.excellenceinfonet.com), Ahmedabad, an Indian unit of a US based software firm. Being the CTO of the company, Jacob contributes as Solution Architect and spends most of his time with SQL Server. Jacob is a Microsoft MVP (SQL Server) and a Moderator at MSDN and Technet Forums. He volunteers for the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS: http://www.sqlpass.org) as a Chapter Lead. He is a regular columnist at SQLServerCentral (http://www.sqlservercentral.com) and blogs regularly at http://jacobsebastian.blogspot.com/ on SQL Server and XML related topics. Jacob is Founder and President of Ahmedabad SQL Server User Group, a PASS chapter (http://ahmedabad.sqlpass.org) and works with a number of User groups in India.

Jacob started his database career in the mid nineties with Dbase, Foxbase, Clipper and Foxpro. He then moved to SQL Server 6.0 and worked on a number of applications on VC++/MFC/ATL/COM/VB. When not working, Jacob would like to spend time with family and friends and watch movies; but often gets engaged with helping someone in the SQL Server forums, writing articles, blogs or a book, learning SQL Server or creating a presentation for the next UG meeting.

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