Open Database Connectivity

What Does Open Database Connectivity Mean?

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is an interface standard for accessing data and communicating with database systems, regardless of the operating system (OS), database system (DS) or programming language. This is accomplished by using ODBC drivers that serve as a bridge between applications and database systems.


Techopedia Explains Open Database Connectivity

In 1992, a group of manufacturers introduced the ODBC model as a communications solution for the large number of OSs, DSs and applications written in different programming languages. For example, an application written in C to access an Oracle database in UNIX had to be rewritten if the application changed to Windows, or if the database platform was moved to Sybase. These manufacturers recognized the need for an intermediate translation mechanism and created a set of protocols and application programming interfaces (APIs), which was the first ODBC model.

The ODBC model contains the following three major components:

  • Client (usually a programming application)
  • Database Server
  • ODBC Driver

The driver’s function, which is very similar to a human translator, is to bridge the gap between parties that would not otherwise understand each other.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…