ODBC has the X Factor
ODBC has been with us for over 20 years now, and it's become a staple of the IT industry. As a 'technology' it has many advantages and no disadvantages.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is that it was conceived as a multi-platform, multi-database data access technology and that is still true today; ODBC has become so well accepted that both database vendors and application vendors have developed their products with ODBC connection in mind.
It has been such an outstanding success that ODBC is included in Windows, all major Linux distributions, and is easily available for many UNIX versions (including AIX, HP-UX and Solaris).
In an announcement titled "Microsoft is Aligning with ODBC for Native Relational Data Access", Microsoft encourages developers to adopt ODBC in the development of new and future versions of their applications. This demonstrates the continuing importance in the Microsoft product roadmap of the global user base that relies on this proven, robust data access technology. The future of ODBC is therefore very bright indeed.
Another huge advantage of ODBC is that it enables applications to connect to different databases without needing to be recoded, relinked and recompiled. ODBC compliant applications link against a single library, the ODBC Driver Manager, which loads a database-specific ODBC driver based on user-specified configuration information that the application passes to the Driver Manager. This architecture insulates the application from the ODBC driver (which is the component that interacts with the database). New or updated drivers can be installed on the machine and the application can use these without having to be changed.
It's this simplicity for users (who are usually never usually aware that they are using any middleware) that makes ODBC attractive for connection to data sources.
For application developers, ODBC provides a highly predictable application programming interface (API) in which to develop applications and queries that are decoupled from the backend database.
ODBC has definitely come a long way over a relatively short amount of time and it will be with us for many, many years to come.
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