SQL Server XQuery: deleting nodes using .modify()

Quick blog post; got asked today by a developer friend of mine about how to delete nodes in an XML fragment using the .modify() method.  After some head-scratching and some fumbling around (its been a few months since I’ve done any work with XML), we came up with a version of the following script:

  <class teacher="Smith" grade="5">
    <student name="Ainsworth" />
    <student name="Miller" />
  <class teacher="Jones" grade="5">
    <student name="Davis" />
    <student name="Mark" />
  <class teacher="Smith" grade="4">
    <student name="Baker" />
    <student name="Smith" />


--delete the classes that belong to teacher Smith
SET @X.modify('delete /root/class/.[@teacher="Smith"]')

Now, let me try to explain it:

  1. Given a simple document that has a root with classes, and students in each class, we want to delete all classes that are being taught by a teacher named “Smith”.
  2. First, we delete the nodes under those classes that belong to Smith
    1. Using XPath, we walk the axis and use a node test to restrict to /root/class/. (the current node under class).
    2. We then apply a predicate looking for a teacher attribute with a value of “Smith”
    3. The .modify() clause applies the delete command to the @X variable, and updates the XML

March 10, 2014 · stuart · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: SQL, SQL Server, SQLServerPedia Syndication, XML

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