Microsoft discussed its intentions to add an Extensible Markup Language (XML) data type to its SQL Server database, with the Yukon release of the product planned for late 2004, at its Professional Developers Conference 2003 in Los Angeles yesterday.
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Plans for integration of the database with Microsoft's Common Language Runtime (CLR) were also featured.
Developers will be allowed to treat XML and relational data alike, said Stan Sorensen, director of product management for SQL Server at Microsoft. "The way that we're going to enable that is by creating a native XML data type."
Queries can be run on XML data just as they could on relational data, he said. An example of a query would be to retrieve news articles written by a specific author and attaching an XML schema to the query, enabling retrieval specifically of deeper, analytical articles.
"By creating an XML data type, we're going to enable that data to fit into that rows-and-columns format," said Sorensen, which is common in relational databases. Support of the XQuery language in Yukon provides for a query mechanism.
Including the CLR in the database will enable developers to write database applications using a language other than the native Transact-SQL language featured in SQL Server. By running the CLR engine inside Yukon, developers can write database applications in languages such as C# or Visual Basic.
Third parties are expected to write drivers that enable applications to be developed in additional languages, said Sorensen, who added that he would expect such a driver for the rival Java language.
The CLR enables translation of code into a common language to be executed by the CLR engine.
Also highlighted in Yukon is deeper integration with the Visual Studio toolset and the ability to write a web service in Yukon. Microsoft Reporting Services enable this functionality now, but this ability will be increased in Yukon by writing a lot of the database in "managed code".
Microsoft's term for code that features common and consistent object and security models as well as a common and consistent set of APIs. Managed code is offered via the company’s .net Framework.
The Service Broker planned for Yukon will enable more inter-process communications between database components.
Paul Krill writes for InfoWorld