On November 22nd the World Wide Web Consortium announced that the XQuery 1.0, XPath 2.0 and XSLT 2.0 became Proposed Recommendations. In other words, it's safe to assume that in the early 2007 we should expect the work on current versions of these three XML management standards to end with proper W3C Recommendations. Obviously, the R&D activities of the XML Query Working Group will not seize, only the current versions of the specifications will have been made final.

From the W3C Glossary:

  • Proposed Recommendation (PR)
    A Proposed Recommendation is a mature technical report that, after wide review for technical soundness and implementability, W3C has sent to the W3C Advisory Committee for final endorsement.
  • W3C Recommendation (REC)
    A W3C Recommendation is a specification or set of guidelines that, after extensive consensus-building, has received the endorsement of W3C Members and the Director. W3C recommends the wide deployment of its Recommendations. Note: W3C Recommendations are similar to the standards published by other organizations.

The specifications are available at the W3C Website:

The accompainying specifications are also avaliable:

The XQuery 1.0 and XPath 2.0 Functions and Operators (W3C Proposed Recommendation 21 November 2006) specification has also been made available, and – as far as the XPath/XQuery functions are concerned – remains pretty much unchanged from the Candidate Recommendation. This means that so far, the list of XPath/XQuery functions does not need any updating.

The question that remains is whether the RTM version of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 will reflect any of this. I expect no changes in the SQL Server database engine regarding the XML Query Language implementation nor any additional support of the XPath/XQuery functions in the current version of the product, although the CTP of the SP2 already contains certain breaking changes that have received some negative reactions from the community. I guess we'll see more XPath/XQuery support in the next full version of SQL Server.