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Microsoft Tool to Tighten .NET-SQL Server Bond

Microsoft Corp. is preparing a tool for simultaneous release with Visual Studio .NET that will tighten the relationship between Microsoft's .NET Web services vision and its existing SQL Server 2000 database.

"Today you can build Web services with SQL Server on the back end," says Gordon Mangione, vice president for SQL Server. "We'll again augment that XML technology to really turn SQL Server itself into a Web service. SQL Server itself will be able to expose its stored procedures, its tables into your Web service fabric."

Redmond is not yet publicly discussing the name for the Visual Studio-SQL Server tool or how it will be packaged.

The company is on record, however, that the tool will be ready when Visual Studio .NET ships. Microsoft appears to be on track to finalize the code for Visual Studio .NET by the end of the calendar year.

Visual Studio .NET is the standard-bearer for Microsoft's effort to sell developers on its .NET Web services strategy. That product will formally launch Feb. 13 at the VSLive! Conference in San Francisco.

The Visual Studio .NET-related tool is the next in a line of technical enhancements Microsoft has bolted onto SQL Server 2000 since its Fall 2000 release.

SQL Server 2000 had some capability for importing XML documents and doing queries using XML.

"Although we had XML support built into the database, we did it in a way that we could update it periodically without having to go through a full release," Mangione notes. "We really wanted to make sure we could update the XML Support to track the work of the W3C and the industry groups."

The most recent SQL Server Web update was SQLXML 2.0, which added support for XSD mapping schemas, client-side XML functionality, a new SQLXML OLEDB provider and a tool to convert XDR mapping schemas to XSD. An unsupported feature of the release was a set of SQLXML Managed Classes that allow .NET developers to access SQLXML functionality.

Microsoft plans to do more significant XML and .NET Web services integration work in the Yukon release.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.