Viewer's Choice

So I've notice lately that several TV shows, most notably “Friends”, have gone to a viewer's choice system where folks vote on their favorite episodes to see.  This seems to happen to either a) lengthen the season or b) raise ratings during slow times. Seems like a good idea to me, so here's what I'm going to do.  Given my obvious lack of attention to the blog here, I want to know what folks would like to hear about.  Are there any SqlXml topics you'd like opinions or thoughts on?  Any guidance on issues you're having?  Leave a comment, let me know, and I'll use them to decide what to write about next.

New Dev Center

Thanks in no small part to the efforts of Dare, the new XML Developer Center on MSDN was just launched.  Hopefully it will be a one stop shop for all XML related topics here at MS.  Included in that is of course SqlXml, though the pickings are somewhat slim at the moment.  Have no fear however, as we're working on more content.  Maybe Dare will even add this thing to the list on the site if I manage to post a bit more often.

Community

Besides responding to your interests here, I'm making a new effort to get back into the newsgroups much more.  It's kind of hard sometimes, remembering that in everything else going on during the day that I should stop for a bit and browse through.  Thankfully, there are a lot of other great folks on there answering questions as well.  I have made some observations though:

  • Bulkload seems to be by far the most popular technology in SqlXml.  However, folks don't tend to like having to annotate a schema to use it.  From what I've read, a lot of people are counting on the default mapping and working around that.  I'd still recommend giving us an annotated schema, especially when you get into nested shapes.  Trust me, take the time to learn it, it isn't that terrible. 
  • Lots of people are doing FOR XML EXPLICIT queries rather than Annotated XSD.  To me, when doing complex queries, Annotated XSD is much, much easier.  However, I do understand the drawbacks to it.  You can't do it inside a stored proc.  You can't do it on the server.  You lose these optimizations that the database has built in.  I'd be interested to know what SqlXml users would think about AXSD in a hosted CLR function in Yukon rather than FOR XML EXPLICIT.  Or is it simply a matter of people still prefer SQL over mapping?  Personally I love AXSD + XPath, but my demo apps don't really compare to massive database systems.
  • Another feature vs. feature - OpenXml vs. Bulkload.  Again, server vs. client technology.  Again, I choose the client one, but then again, I do own the thing.  For a database guy, I seem to run a way from it an awful lot, huh?

I think those are the big items.  Hopefully a few of them will turn into extended blog posts or articles.  I think my first article will be on type conversions in XPath over Annotated XSD.  A bunch of folks hit this and its quite a confusing story.  I'm working on that now and will of course blog about it when done.