Tabular structures are not always the best for storing some kinds of data. Maybe your data has a bit more dynamic structure than you can represent with tables or has a very specific structure, like hierarchy. This course introduces how to deal with such data inside a SQL Server database.
You will learn how to store and retrieve semi-structured data in XML or JSON format. You can extend the collection of the data types supported by SQL Server with your own CLR data types, written in C# or VB. This infrastructure was used also by Microsoft through the four spatial data types. Hierarchical data, like XML and JSON, are just a special case of general data structures called graphs. You will learn also how to use graphs in SQL Server.
All these features mentioned are sometimes referred to as “beyond relational”. However, data type and language support in a specific database management product has nothing to do with the relational model, which is a purely logical model. For many years, we used to associate an RDBMS with the SQL language and simple data types; but there are no limitations for both in the relational model. Therefore, I prefer to use the term “beyond classical RDBMS”.
This is the second “beyond relational” course. SQL Server supports also programming in languages other than T-SQL, and using specific T-SQL extensions for temporal data and full-text searches. Please see the “Beyond Classical RDBMS: Enhancing Pure T-SQL” for this support.