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7.3. XML Data Type Methods

The xml data type provides helper methods to query xml data type columns and variables. Internally, the xml data type methods are treated as subqueries. As a result, an xml data type method cannot be used in a PRINT statement or in a GROUP BY clause.

The examples in this section use a table called xmldtmTable. Create this table and add two rows to it by executing the following statement:

    USE ProgrammingSqlServer2005

    CREATE TABLE xmldtmTable
    (
      ID int,
      xmlCol xml,
    CONSTRAINT PK_xmldtmTable
      PRIMARY KEY CLUSTERED (ID)
    )

    INSERT INTO xmldtmTable (ID, xmlCol)
    VALUES (1, '<root><childElement1 value="1"/><childElement2 value="2"/></root>')

    INSERT INTO xmldtmTable (ID, xmlCol)
    VALUES (2, '<root><childElement value="1"/><childElement value="2"/></root>')

The T-SQL statement creates a table with the two rows shown in Figure 7-5.

Figure 7-5. Results for XML data type methods example


The xml data type methods are described in the following subsections.

7.3.1. query( )

The xml data type query( ) method queries an xml data type instance and returns an untyped xml data type instance. The query( ) syntax is:

    query(XQuery 
)

where:


XQuery

An XQuery expression that queries for XML nodes in an xml data type instance

The following example uses the query( ) method to extract the childElement2 element from the xml data type instance in the column xmlCol for ID = 1:

    SELECT xmlCol.query('/root/childElement2')
    FROM xmldtmTable
    WHERE ID = 1

The result set is shown in Figure 7-6.

Figure 7-6. Result set for query( ) method example


7.3.2. value( )

The xml data type value( ) method performs a query against an xml data type instance and returns a scalar value of SQL data type. The value( ) method syntax is:

    value(XQuery, SQLType)

where:


XQuery

An XQuery expression that retrieves data from the xml data type instance. An error is returned if the expression does not return at least one value.


SQLType

A string literal of the SQL data type to be returned. SQLType cannot be an xml, CLR UDT, image, text, ntext, or sql_variant data type.

The value( ) method uses the T-SQL CONVERT function implicitly to convert the result of the XQuery expression to the SQL data type.

The following example uses the value( ) method to extract the attribute value from the xml data type instance in the column xmlCol for ID = 1:

    SELECT xmlCol.value('(/root/childElement2/@value)[1]', 'int') Value
    FROM xmldtmTable
    WHERE ID = 1

The result set is shown in Figure 7-7.

Figure 7-7. Result set for value( ) method example


The value( ) operator requires a single operand, so [1] is required to specify the first childElement2. The value attributes could be accessed for other childElement2 elements, if they existed, using the appropriate index.

7.3.3. exist( )

The xml data type exist( ) method returns a value indicating whether an XQuery expression against an xml data type instance returns a nonempty result set. The return value is one of the following:


1

The XQuery expression returns at least one XML node.


0

The XQuery expression returns an empty result set.


NULL

The xml data type instance against which the query is executed is NULL.

The exist( ) method syntax is:

    exist (XQuery)

where:


XQuery

An XQuery expression

The following example uses the exist( ) method to determine whether the attribute value from the xml data type instance in the column xmlCol is a specified value for ID = 1:

    SELECT xmlCol.exist('/root/childElement2[@value=1]')
    FROM xmldtmTable
    WHERE ID = 1

The result is shown in Figure 7-8.

Figure 7-8. Result for exist( ) method example


The value of 0 means that the attribute value does not have the value 1. If the exist( ) method is changed to exist('/root/childElement2[@value=2]'), the result is 1.

7.3.4. modify( )

The xml data type modify( ) method modifies the content of an xml data type instance. The modify( ) method syntax follows:

    modify (XML_DML)

where:


XML_DML

An XML Data Manipulation Language statement. The XML DML statement inserts, updates, or deletes nodes from an xml data type instance.

The modify( ) method can only be used in the SET clause of an UPDATE statement.

XML DML and the modify( ) method are discussed in more detail in the "XML Data Manipulation Language" section later in this chapter.

7.3.5. nodes( )

The xml data type nodes( ) method shreds an xml data type instance into relational data by identifying nodes that will be mapped to a new row. The nodes( ) syntax is:

    nodes (XQuery) as Table(Column)

where:


XQuery

An XQuery expression that constructs nodes that are subsequently exposed as a result set


Table

The table name for the result set


Column

The column name for the result set

The following example uses the nodes( ) method to return the value attributes for each child element childElement as an int:

    SELECT T.C.value('@value', 'int') AS Value
    FROM xmldtmTable
    CROSS APPLY xmlCol.nodes('/root/childElement') AS T(C)
    WHERE ID = 2

The result set is shown in Figure 7-9.

Figure 7-9. Result set for nodes( ) method example


The CROSS APPLY operator lets you invoke the nodes( ) method for each row returned by the query.


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