While XQuery has gained a lot of support and interest over the past two years, Microsoft has apparently bailed on the standard. In January, the Redmond software giant announced that it was dropping XQuery from the next release of its .NET Framework (version 2.0, or Whidbey). The folks at Stylus Studio -- and ostensibly, about 120 other Microsoft partners -- are not happy about this development.
Stylus Studio, a provider of XML development tools, has posted a petition to Redmond demanding that XQuery be added to Whidbey. According to the petition, "Since major updates to the .NET Frameworks only ship every 3 or so years (more or less), cutting XQuery from this release means that the next window of opportunity for XQuery to find its way into the .NET core framework won't be until around the 2009 timeframe, and possibly never if we, the community of XQuery developers don't make it a priority for them."
XQuery promises to do for XML data what SQL did for relational data — that is, make it possible to write a standardized query that will pull the right data out of any database, regardless of vendor or format. Surveys show XQuery to be a popular standard among database developers. Surveys I have worked on with Evans Data have found that at least half of database developers are ready to work with XQuery, especially with large volumes of XML-based data sweeping across enterprises. Another survey of 550 XML developers by DataDirect Technologies earlier this year finds that 52% already started working with XQuery, and another 33% have plans to start using XQuery this year.
For its part, Microsoft states in a message on its Website that it pulled XQuery because a final version has not yet been approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). "This means that we will have to finalize the code before XQuery becomes a W3C recommendation, making it impossible for us to guarantee forward compatibility between any XQuery support in .NET 2.0 and the eventual XQuery 1.0 recommendation." Also, Microsoft does include XQuery support in SQL Server 2005.