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SQL Server XQuery

with 2 comments

I promised my students an example of writing xquery statements in Microsoft SQL Server. This post builds on two earlier posts. The first qualifies how to build a marvel table with source data, and the second qualifies how you can create an XML Schema Collection and insert relational data into an XML structure.

You can query a sequence with xquery as follows:

DECLARE @x xml;
SET @x = N'';
SELECT @x.query('(1,2,(10,11,12,13,14,15)),-6');

It returns:

1 2 10 11 12 13 14 15 -6

You can query a sequence with an xquery FLOWR statement. FLOWR stands for: FOR, LET, ORDER BY, WHERE, and RETURN. A sample xquery with a FLOWER statement is:

DECLARE @x xml;
SET @x = N'';
SELECT @x.query('for $i in ((1,2,(10,11,12,13,14,15)),-6)
                 order by $i
                 return $i');

It returns:

-6 1 2 10 11 12 13 14 15

You can query the entire node tree with the following xquery statement because it looks for the occurrence of any node with the /* search string:

DECLARE @x xml;
SET @x = N'<marvel>
             <avenger_name>Captain America</avenger_name>
           </marvel>';
SELECT @x.query('/*');

You can query the avenger_name elements from the marvel_xml table with the following syntax:

SELECT xml_table.query('/marvel/avenger_name')
FROM   marvel_xml;

It returns the following set of avenger_name elements:

<avenger_name>Hulk</avenger_name>
<avenger_name>Iron Man</avenger_name>
<avenger_name>Black Widow</avenger_name>
<avenger_name>Thor</avenger_name>
<avenger_name>Captain America</avenger_name>
<avenger_name>Hawkeye</avenger_name>
<avenger_name>Winter Soldier</avenger_name>
<avenger_name>Iron Patriot</avenger_name>

You can query the fourth avenger_name element from the marvel_xml table with the following xquery statement:

SELECT xml_table.query('/marvel[4]/avenger_name')
FROM   marvel_xml;

It returns the following avenger_name element:

<avenger_name>Thor</avenger_name>

You can use the value() function to verify an avenger_name element exists:

SELECT CASE
          WHEN xml_table.value('(/marvel[4]/avenger_name)','nvarchar') = 'T' THEN
            'Exists'
       END AS "Verified"
FROM   marvel_xml
WHERE  id = 3;

The query returns the Exists string when it finds a valid avenger_name element. You have a number of other tools to query results sets from the XML node tree.

I hope this helps my students and anybody interested in writing xquery-enable queries.

Written by maclochlainn

February 19th, 2015 at 1:54 am

Insert into XML Column

with one comment

Working through Chapter 7 of the Querying Microsoft SQL Server 2012 book for Microsoft’s Exam 70-461, I found the XML examples incomplete for my students. I decided to put together a post on how to create:

  • An XML Schema Collection type.
  • A table that uses an XML Schema Collection as a column’s data type.
  • An example on how you can transfer the contents of a table into the XML Schema Collection.

This post assumes you understand the basics about XML structures. If you’re unfamiliar with XML, please note that everything within it is case sensitive unlike SQL. You raise exceptions when the case of your XML fails to match the case of your XML Schema Collection definitions. I raised the following exception by using a Marvel element tag in title case when the XML Schema Collection uses a lowercase marvel element tag:

Msg 6913, Level 16, State 1, Line 2
XML Validation: Declaration not found for element 'Marvel'. Location: /*:Marvel[1]

The basic marvel table is defined in this earlier blog post. To ensure you don’t run into conflicts with previously existing objects, you can delete the marvel table with the following syntax:

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IF OBJECT_ID('studentdb.marvel_xml','U') IS NOT NULL
  DROP TABLE marvel_xml;

There is no predefined function that lets you conditionally drop the XML Schema Collection from the data base. The alternative is to query the Microsoft SQL Server data catalog for the existence of a row before dropping the XML Schema Collection, like this:

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IF EXISTS (SELECT * FROM sys.xml_schema_collections WHERE name = 'MarvelXMLTable')
  DROP XML SCHEMA COLLECTION MarvelXMLTable;
ELSE
  SELECT 'Not found.';

You can now create the MarvelXMLTable XML Schema Collection with the following syntax:

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CREATE XML SCHEMA COLLECTION MarvelXMLTable AS
N'<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-16"?>
    <xsd:schema xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
                xmlns:sqltypes="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2004/sqltypes">
    <xsd:import namespace="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2004/sqltypes"
                schemaLocation="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2004/sqltypes/sqltypes.xsd" />
    <xsd:element name="Marvel">
      <xsd:complexType>
        <xsd:sequence>
          <xsd:element name="marvel_id" type="sqltypes:int" />
          <xsd:element name="avenger_name" type="sqltypes:nvarchar" />
          <xsd:element name="first_name" type="sqltypes:nvarchar" />
          <xsd:element name="last_name" type="sqltypes:nvarchar" />
        </xsd:sequence>
      </xsd:complexType>
    </xsd:element>
  </xsd:schema>';

After creating the XML Schema Collection, you can confirm whether it works correctly with the following statements. It will fail when you use semicolons on the DECLARE or SET lines, so avoid them as shown below:

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DECLARE @marvel AS XML(MarvelXMLTable)
SET @marvel = '<marvel>
                 <marvel_id>1</marvel_id>
                 <avenger_name>Falcon</avenger_name>
                 <first_name>Sam</first_name>
                 <last_name>Wilson</last_name>
               </marvel>'
SELECT @marvel;

After creating and verifying the integrity of the XML Schema Collection, you can create a marvel_xml table. The xml_table column of the marvel_xml table uses a strongly-typed XML type, as shown:

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CREATE TABLE marvel_xml
( id        INT IDENTITY(1,1) CONSTRAINT marvel_xml_pk PRIMARY KEY
, xml_table XML(MarvelXMLTable));

You can write an INSERT statement with single element like this:

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INSERT INTO marvel_xml 
( xml_table )
VALUES
('<Marvel>
    <marvel_id>9</marvel_id>
    <avenger_name>Falcon</avenger_name>
    <first_name>Sam</first_name>
    <last_name>Wilson</last_name>
  </Marvel>');

You can insert two elements with an INSERT statement like this:

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INSERT INTO marvel_xml
( xml_table )
VALUES
('<Marvel>
    <marvel_id>9</marvel_id>
    <avenger_name>Falcon</avenger_name>
    <first_name>Sam</first_name>
    <last_name>Wilson</last_name>
  </Marvel>
  <Marvel>
    <marvel_id>10</marvel_id>
    <avenger_name>Scarlet Witch</avenger_name>
    <first_name>Wanda</first_name>
    <last_name>Witch</last_name>
  </Marvel>');

There’s a lot of typing to insert XML literal values. It a lot easier to transfer relational data from a table to an XML type. Unfortunately, Microsoft didn’t make it very easy. The FOR XML AUTO doesn’t work for two reasons. First, the FOR XML AUTO clause doesn’t render the correct XML structure. Second, the INSERT statement disallows nested SELECT queries that include the FOR XML AUTO clause.

Here’s the way you insert relational data into an XML type column:

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DECLARE @xml_elements NVARCHAR(MAX);
SET @xml_elements = N'';
WITH x AS
(SELECT CONCAT(N'<marvel>'
              ,N'<marvel_id>',marvel_id,N'</marvel_id>'
              ,N'<avenger_name>',avenger_name,N'</avenger_name>'
              ,N'<first_name>',first_name,N'</first_name>'
              ,N'<last_name>',last_name,N'</last_name>'
              ,N'</marvel>') AS element
 FROM   marvel)
SELECT @xml_elements += element FROM x;
INSERT INTO marvel_xml (xml_table)
VALUES (@xml_elements);

Line 1 declares an xml_element session variable. Line 2 initializes the xml_element session variable as an empty string. The WITH clause on lines 3 through 10 creates a Common Table Expression (CTE) with the valid XML structure for all rows in the marvel table. The nested SELECT statement on line 11 returns data from the CTE and adds returned row to the session-level string variable. Finally, the INSERT statement on lines 12 and 13 inserts the XML table into the xml_table column.

You can then query the table with the following statement:

SELECT xml_table
FROM   marvel_xml;

Click on the return type in the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), and the XML structure will expand to show this:

<marvel>
  <marvel_id>1</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Hulk</avenger_name>
  <first_name>Bruce</first_name>
  <last_name>Banner</last_name>
</marvel>
<marvel>
  <marvel_id>2</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Iron Man</avenger_name>
  <first_name>Tony</first_name>
  <last_name>Stark</last_name>
</marvel>
<marvel>
  <marvel_id>3</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Black Widow</avenger_name>
  <first_name>Natasha</first_name>
  <last_name>Romanoff</last_name>
</marvel>
<marvel>
  <marvel_id>4</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Thor</avenger_name>
  <first_name>Thor</first_name>
  <last_name>Odinsson</last_name>
</marvel>
<marvel>
  <marvel_id>5</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Captain America</avenger_name>
  <first_name>Steve</first_name>
  <last_name>Rogers</last_name>
</marvel>
<marvel>
  <marvel_id>6</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Hawkeye</avenger_name>
  <first_name>Clint</first_name>
  <last_name>Barton</last_name>
</marvel>
<marvel>
  <marvel_id>7</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Winter Soldier</avenger_name>
  <first_name>Bucky</first_name>
  <last_name>Barnes</last_name>
</marvel>
<marvel>
  <marvel_id>8</marvel_id>
  <avenger_name>Iron Patriot</avenger_name>
  <first_name>James</first_name>
  <last_name>Rhodey</last_name>
</marvel>

As always, I hope this post benefits those who read it.

Written by maclochlainn

February 18th, 2015 at 2:22 am

Functions disallow NDS

with 2 comments

My students asked if you could embed an OFFSET x ROWS FETCH NEXT y ROWS ONLY clause in a SQL Server T-SQL user-defined function. The answer is no, it isn’t Oracle (yes, you can do that in Oracle Database 12c with an NDS statement). There’s an example in Chapter 2 of my Oracle Database 12c PL/SQL Programming book if you’re interested. I also demonstrate a different approach to SQL Server T-SQL table functions in this older post. However, an attempt to add the clause to a SQL Server T-SQL function, like this:

CREATE FUNCTION studentdb.getBatch
(@rows   AS INT
,@offset AS INT) RETURNS @output TABLE
( marvel_id    INT 
, avenger_name VARCHAR(30)
, first_name   VARCHAR(20)
, last_name    VARCHAR(20)) AS
BEGIN
  /* Insert the results into the table variable. */
  INSERT @output
  SELECT marvel_id
  ,      avenger_name
  ,      first_name
	,      last_name
  FROM   studentdb.marvel
  OFFSET (@offset - 1) ROWS FETCH NEXT @rows ROWS ONLY;
 
  /* Return the table variable from the function. */  
  RETURN;
END;

Throws the following errors trying to compile the function:

Msg 102, Level 15, State 1, Procedure getBatch, Line 16
Incorrect syntax near '@offset'.
Msg 153, Level 15, State 2, Procedure getBatch, Line 16
Invalid usage of the option NEXT in the FETCH statement.

If you have a strong background in Oracle and can sort through the dynamic SQL syntax for T-SQL, you might try re-writing the function to use the EXEC SP_EXECUTESQL @var; command. That rewrite that attempts to use NDS (Native Dynamic SQL) would look like this:

CREATE FUNCTION studentdb.getBatch
(@rows   AS INT
,@offset AS INT) RETURNS @output TABLE
( marvel_id    INT 
, avenger_name VARCHAR(30)
, first_name   VARCHAR(20)
, last_name    VARCHAR(20)) AS
BEGIN
  DECLARE
    /* Declare a variable for a dynamic SQL statement. */
    @stmt          VARCHAR(400);
 
    /* Assign the SQL statement to a variable. */
    SET @stmt = N'SELECT marvel_id ' +
                N',      avenger_name ' +
                N',      first_name ' +
                N',      last_name ' +
                N'FROM   studentdb.marvel ' +
                N'OFFSET ' + (@offset - 1) + N' ' +
                N'ROWS FETCH NEXT ' + @rows + N' ROWS ONLY;';
  BEGIN
    /* Insert the results into the table variable. */
    INSERT @output
    EXEC sp_executesql @stmt; 
  END;
 
  /* Return the table variable from the function. */  
  RETURN;
END;

Throws the following exception because you can’t use dynamic dispatch inside a T-SQL function:

Msg 443, Level 16, State 14, Procedure getBatch, Line 23
Invalid use of a side-effecting operator 'INSERT EXEC' within a function.

On the other hand you can rewrite the statement with a BETWEEN operator and it works somewhat like an OFFSET and FETCH operation. That refactored function would be written as follows:

CREATE FUNCTION studentdb.getBatch
(@rowa  AS INT
,@rowb AS INT) RETURNS @output TABLE
( marvel_id    INT 
, avenger_name VARCHAR(30)
, first_name   VARCHAR(20)
, last_name    VARCHAR(20)) AS
BEGIN
  /* Insert the results into the table variable. */
  INSERT @output
  SELECT marvel_id
  ,      avenger_name
  ,      first_name
  ,      last_name
  FROM   studentdb.marvel
  WHERE  marvel_id BETWEEN @rowa AND @rowb;
 
  /* Return the table variable from the function. */  
  RETURN;
END;

It doesn’t raise an exception. You can call the table function like this:

SELECT * FROM getBatch(2,3);

It returns the two rows for Iron Man and Black Widow. As always, I hope this helps.

If you want to create the test case, here’s the script you need:

SELECT 'Conditionally drop studentdb.marvel table.' AS "Statement";
IF OBJECT_ID('studentdb.marvel','U') IS NOT NULL
  DROP TABLE studentdb.marvel;
 
SELECT 'Create studentdb.marvel table.' AS "Statement";
CREATE TABLE studentdb.marvel
( marvel_id     INT          NOT NULL IDENTITY(1,1) CONSTRAINT marvel_pk PRIMARY KEY
, avenger_name  VARCHAR(30)  NOT NULL
, first_name    VARCHAR(20)  NOT NULL
, last_name     VARCHAR(20)  NOT NULL);
 
/* Insert the rows. */
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Hulk','Bruce','Banner');
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Iron Man','Tony','Stark');
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Black Widow','Natasha','Romanoff');
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Thor','Thor','Odinsson');
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Captain America','Steve','Rogers');
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Hawkeye','Clint','Barton');
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Winter Soldier','Bucky','Barnes');
INSERT INTO studentdb.marvel (avenger_name, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('Iron Patriot','James','Rhodey');
 
/* Query the contents of the MARVEL table. */
SELECT * FROM studentdb.marvel;

Written by maclochlainn

February 14th, 2015 at 5:20 pm