What is ODBC?

ODBC is an abbreviation for Open Database Connectivity, and is an interface to access databases via SQL queries. The ODBC can be used as an access tool to various databases such as MS-Access, dBase, DB2, Excel, and Text. Through these Call Level Interface (CLI) specifications of the SQL Access Group, the OBDC allows a neutral way of accessing the data stored in personal computers and various databases. It was first created by Microsoft and Simba Technologies. ODBC 1.0 was initially released in September 1992, and eventually became a part of the international SQL standard in 1995. Microsoft originally shipped the ODBCs as a set of DLLs and still today, ships the set with every copy of Microsoft Windows. Today, more and more operating systems such as Unix and Apple are adopting the ODBC.

ODBC stands for Open Data Base Connectivity. It is a connection that is created to define a connection between a computer and a database stored on another system. The ODBC connection contains information needed to allow a computer user to access the information stored in a database that is not local to that computer. You need to define the type of the database application – like Microsoft SQL or Oracle or FoxPro or MySql. Once you have defined the type of database you need to select or supply the appropriate driver for a connection (Windows already contains many of these) and then supply the name of the database file and the credentials needed to access the database.

Once the ODBC connection is created, you can tell specific programs to use that ODBC connection to access information in that database.

ODBC accomplishes platform and language independence by using an ODBC driver as a translation layer between the application and the DBMS. The application thus only needs to know ODBC syntax, and the driver can then pass the query to the DBMS in its native format, returning the data in a format the application can understand.

How ODBC is Processed?

To use the ODBC, three components are needed: ODBC client, ODBC driver, and a DBMS server (ex. Microsoft Access, SQL Server, Oracle, and FoxPro). Firstly, the ODBC client will use a command (referred to as “ODBC”) to interact (requesting and/or sending data) with the DBMS server (back-end). However, the DBMS server will not understand the command by the ODBC client yet, as the command has yet to be processed through the ODBC driver (front-end). So then, the ODBC driver will decode the command that can be processed by the ODBC server and be sent there. The ODBC server will then respond back to the ODBC driver which will translate the final output to the ODBC client.

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