The WITH SCHEMA constraint allows you force values of an XML column to match a particular schema. The syntax is as follows:

WITH SCHEMA (namespace-uri, top-element-name [, optional-dtd-configuration])

To use this feature, you should make load an XMLSchema to the server by a CREATE XML SCHEMA statement. As soon as schema is loaded, its target namespace URI can be used in WITH SCHEMA constraint to validate every new value of the column against this schema. In addition, the constraint ensures that the document is a well-formed XML document (not a well-formed generic XML entity) and checks if the name of the top level element of the document is equal to one specified in the constraint.

Depending on document size and the complexity of the schema, schema validation may be a time- and memory- consuming operation. An application can win a lot if every stored value is validated only once and avoid repeating validations on every read of the stored data, but it also may loose if the validation is actually redundant (e.g. if the data always comes from sources which produce valid content).

The parameter "optional-dtd-configuration" lets an application to specify how strict the validation should be. In real life, documents may match the schema in general, but not in minor details that are not important for a particular application. If specified, the parameter must be a string in the format described in Configuration Options of the DTD Validator . The default value is suitable for most of applications and forces the validator to check well-formedness of the document, nesting of elements, presence of all "required" attributes, syntax of values of typed elements and attributes; it also will check referential integrity of ID and IDREF attributes.

Example 9.26. Creating a table with the WITH SCHEMA constraint

Here a simple table will be created with a WITH SCHEMA constraint. Sample SQL statements follow that will demonstrate the effectiveness of the check constraints.

CREATE XML SCHEMA '<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<xs:schema targetNamespace=""
   <xs:element name="Part">
         <xs:choice minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded">
           <xs:element ref="p:Part"/>
         <xs:attribute name="ID" type="xs:string" use="required" />
         <xs:attribute name="Count" type="xs:int" use="optional" />
         <xs:attribute name="Type" type="xs:string" use="optional" />

create table SPARE_PARTS (
  PACK_ID integer primary key,
  CONTENT XMLType with schema ('', 'Part')

insert into SPARE_PARTS values (1, '
<p:Part xmlns:p=""
  <p:Part Count="101"/>

*** Error 42000: [Virtuoso Driver][Virtuoso Server]XML parser detected an error:
        ERROR  : Only 0 out of 1 required attributes are defined for element <p:Part>, e.g. the element has no attribute 'ID'
at line 3 column 25 of '(value to be placed in column DB.DBA.SPARE_PARTS of CONTENT)'
  <p:Part Count="101"/>

insert into SPARE_PARTS values (2, '
<p:Part xmlns:p=""
xml:id="key" Count="101"/>

select * from SPARE_PARTS

<n0:Part xmlns:n0=""
xml:id="key_01" Count="101" />
xml:id="body_02" />

1 Rows. -- 00000 msec.

ALTER TABLE ... MODIFY COLUMN statement does not support changes of WITH SCHEMA constraint. Double check your XMLSchema and carefully test it on real data used by an application before using this constraint. If you can't test your schema this way then calling of xml_validate_schema() in triggers may be safer than using the constraint: such triggers will be slower than the constraint but you can drop triggers without re-creating the table.