Book Review: Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2000 with XML
Version Compatibility: Visual Basic 6
More Information: The various methods of extracting XML from SQL Server and transporting XML into SQL Server are the primary focus of Programming Microsoft SQL Server 2000 with XML" (Graeme Malcom, MSPress). Core concepts are addressed briefly and a straightforward approach is used to illustrate the technologies. Step-by-step instructions with screenshots are given throughout and thorough examples make the material easy to learn. Included is a CDROM that contains the sample code with a soft copy of the book for quick reference.
The author "sets out to cover the middle ground between SQL Server and XML. True to his purpose, he touches briefly on XML (in an appendix) and only incidentally on SQL, so the reader will need to be familiar with both of these technologies to benefit from this book. The various ways of generating / structuring / inserting XML with SQL Server are thoroughly explored; technologies covered include Transact SQL, ADO, XML templates, mapping schemas and Open XML. The book is well organized and the writing is clear. Some of the technologies covered are in flux but caveats are provided where necessary. More material could have been covered (such as the emerging XSD standard) but this book is closer to an instruction manual than to an exhaustive, technical reference. This manual will be most useful to those who want to get familiar with the XML / SQL Server functionality in a painless way. But you'll already want to have a good idea of what you want to do with the XML / SQL Server technology as its significance is somewhat overlooked. The relevance of the cross-platform technologies to application integration of disparate business applications is mentioned and a chapter is dedicated to a sample application, but a bit more about how the technologies fit with application development would be helpful. For instance, updategrams have tremendous potential; coupled with a messaging backbone, they could provide a way to asynchronously update loosely, coupled data stores. In what circumstances should a developer best avail herself / himself of the various XML to SQL technologies? Perhaps questions of applicability are beyond the scope of the book and are usually overlooked in manuals; however, without context the most finely hewed technical manuals start to resemble encyclopedias that exhaustively enumerate every sex position but are devoid of pictures.