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XML Schemas and Data

Visual Studio .NET 2003

XML plays a large role in the way data is handled in Visual Studio .NET. XML is used in the following ways:

  • Datasets can serialize their data as XML. The schema of a dataset — what tables, columns, data types, and constraints are in the dataset — is defined using an XML Schema (.xsd file).
  • You can infer XML Schemas from existing datasets and create datasets from existing XML Schemas.

Visual Studio makes working with XML files, XML Schemas, and ADO.NET datasets easy by providing you with a visual tool, the XML Designer.

The XML Designer is used to create and edit XML Schema files, ADO.NET datasets, XML data files, and XML source code. The XML Designer has three views:

  • Schema view for visually editing XML Schemas and ADO.NET datasets.
  • Data view with a structured data grid for visually editing XML data files.
  • XML view with color-coding, IntelliSense, and statement completion for working directly with XML source code.

In This Section

Introduction to XML Schemas
Provides an overview of what XML Schemas are, how they are used to validate XML data, and some of the advantages over previous schema technologies.
XML Technology Backgrounder
Provides an overview of what XML is, how it relates to other markup languages such as HTML, and some of the common uses of XML.
XML Schema Syntax
Provides an overview of the structure of a XML Schema, and an explanation of the opening schema tags.
XML Walkthroughs
Introduces several step-by-step scenarios that demonstrate working with the XML Designer.
XML Schemas and the XML Designer
Introduces topics that describe the different elements in XML Schemas and how they are created using the XML Designer.
Creating XML Schemas and Datasets
Introduces topics that describe the different ways that schemas and datasets can be created using the XML Designer as well as describing the connection between datasets and schemas.
Relational Data in XML Schemas
Introduces topics that describe the different options in XML Schemas for representing relational data.
XML Files
Introduces topics that explain how to use the XML Designer when working with XML documents.

Related Sections

XML in Visual Studio
Provides links to a variety of topics about XML.
Introduction to Data Access with ADO.NET
Provides a high level overview of the most important concepts of data access in ADO.NET.
Introduction to Datasets
Provides an overview of what ADO.NET datasets are, how they can be typed or untyped, what they are used for, and how they are structured.
System.Xml Namespace
Describes the System.Xml namespace and provides a table of relevant classes.
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web site (
Links to the XML Schema primer and other XML info posted by the W3C.
XML Developer Center on MSDN Online (
Provides various resources about XML.
XML Schema Reference (XSD)
Provides reference topics for schema elements and data types.
XML Designer
Explains the XML design tool in Visual Studio.