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Using Altova Tools to Work with XML Data in the SQL Azure Cloud


In an earlier post we discussed connecting to Microsoft SQL Azure databases with Altova DatabaseSpy and demonstrated database schema comparison and content comparison between a local database and the same database migrated to SQL Azure. In this post we will use a different method to migrate an existing table to SQL Azure and show you some tricks you can do with XML in the cloud. We started by creating a new database schema in SQL Azure. Then we created a DatabaseSpy project with a connection to a local copy of SQL Server Express running the AdventureWorks sample database, and a second connection to our new SQL Azure schema. DatabaseSpy Project helper window The AdventureWorks database contains a table called JobCandidate with some XML data we will use for a model for our SQL Azure XML contents. AdventureWorks JobCandidate table in the DatabaseSpy Online Browser window We can generate a CREATE statement for the existing table to use as a basis for the SQL Azure version. CREATE statement for the existing JobCandidate table We need to modify this statement to execute in our SQL Azure database. In addition to changing the database and schema names, we will remove the foreign key constraint to the Employee table, since our new database doesn’t contain a table with that name. Also, SQL Azure does not support the CONTENT keyword, so we will remove that as well. Modifying the CREATE statement in a DatabaseSpy SQL Editor window After making sure the Properties window for the revised CREATE statement points to the SQL Azure database, we can execute the statement. When we refresh the database and expand our view in the Online Browser helper window, we can see the new empty table. New table viewed in the DatabaseSpy Online Browser window A data comparison between the existing table and the new one will allow us to create a script to migrate data into our new table in the SQL Azure cloud. This is similar to the data comparison we wrote about in our previous post on SQL Azure, except instead of merging data directly, we will save the merge script. DatabaseSpy Merge Data dialog Our first attempt to run the merger script failed, throwing an error message that SQL Azure cannot insert values into the new table when IDENTITY_INSERT is set to OFF. We can add a line to the merge script to SET INDENTITY_INSERT ON and re-execute: Merge data script viewed in a DatabaseSpy SQL Editor window Next, we can run a SELECT query to view the data that was successfully uploaded. Select query and Results viewed in DatabaseSpy The DatabaseSpy Data Inspector window lets us more easily examine the contents of a wide column, and is ideal to use for XML documents stored in the Resume column of the new JobCandidate table. DatabaseSpy Data Inspector window Editing XML Data with XMLSpy If you need to revise, edit, update, or validate XML data in a SQL Azure database, Altova XMLSpy provides more robust XML editing features than DatabaseSpy. We can connect to our SQL Azure database from XMLSpy and run a SELECT query from the XMLSpy Database Query window. XMLSpy lets us open any XML row for direct editing, with access to advanced XML editing functionality. XMLSpy Database Query view of XML data in the SQL Azure cloud Of course all the familiar features of the XMLSpy text view and grid view are available. XMLSpy Text view of XML data in the SQL Azure cloud XMLSpy Grid view of XML data inthe SQL Azure cloud After your edits are complete, the XMLSpy File / Save menu option saves the revised XML document to the same row of the JobCandidate table in the SQL Azure database in the cloud. XMLSpy File / Save menu option saves XML data to the SQL Azure cloud Parsing XML Data with XQuery You can also apply the XMLSpy XQuery editor, with its built-in knowledge of XQuery syntax and context-sensitive entry helpers to build XQuery statements that parse the XML data in your SQL Azure database. The XQuery statement below extracts and returns the home addresses from the XML resumes where JobCandidateID is less than 7. XMLSpy XQuery editor for XML data in SQL Azure The XQuery statement can be executed in the Database Query window, with results immediately available to work with in XMLSpy. XQuery statement and results inthe XMLSpy Database Query window Of course the XQuery result can also be edited in Text view or in Grid view. XQuery result in XMLSpy Text view XQuery result in XMLSpy Grid view And you can save the query result either from the Database Query window or from the XML Editor view. Find out for yourself how productive you can be by using Altova tools to work with XML data in the SQL Azure cloud ̶ download a free 30-day trial of the Altova MissionKit for Software Architects, an integrated suite that includes XMLSpy, DatabaseSpy, and additional XML, database, and UML tools.

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Working with XML in Databases


More and more users are storing XML documents in database columns, especially when XML data is sent or received from other entities. Storing data in XML helps enterprises more easily accommodate revisions to industry-standard data formats as XML Schemas evolve over time. One challenge in migrating from a relational database to an XML-oriented database application is developing queries that replace traditional SQL queries of relational data to parse XML documents stored in the database. We recently had an opportunity to address XQuery for XML in databases in a presentation titled Altova Tools for DB2® in a teleconference sponsored by IBM® for the pureXML™ Devotees user group. After an introduction and brief background on Altova, we focused on the special functionality included in XMLSpy to manage XML Schemas in DB2 and to edit XML data stored in DB2. The XMLSpy Database Query Window makes it easy to edit XML database content directly in XMLSpy. XMLSpy_editDB2_blog Altova has built specialized capabilities for deep integration of Altova tools with the DB2 pureXML data server to help customers working with XML, XML Schema, XQuery, and other XML-related technologies. We demonstrated the XMLSpy XQuery editor, XQuery debugger and XQuery profiler, with support for executing XQuery scripts directly against the DB2 database and for the special DB2 xmlcolumn and sqlquery operators. We closed the presentation with a walk-through of the steps a user can take to migrate legacy relational data to an XML-based application, including inferring an XML Schema from relational data in a table in DB2, then importing data from the table and automatically tagging it in XML according to the new XML Schema. We have uploaded a PDF file the slides from the presentation on SlideShare. You can also get a copy at the IBM pureXML Devotees page, where you can listen to the recorded audio as well. The best way to experience for yourself how well the features of XMLSpy, MapForce, StyleVision, and DatabaseSpy work with DB2 and other databases with XML is to click here to download a free trial of the Altova MissionKit.

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