What is database connectivity?

Konfinity
March 5,2021 - 8 min read
What is database connectivity?

In today’s day and age websites have a humongous amount of data stored in them. In other words, they contain various amount and type of information that is actually stored in computer memory, for example, user information in the form of personal details, address and banking information. This information put together and stored in a structural way is informational data.

When talking about data, the concept of database comes into picture. A database is an organized system that allows data to be stored, accessed, manipulated and updated in an easy and efficient manner. One of the two most important components of a database is data and methods for accessing and manipulating that data. There are some special database platforms that are needed to host or create a database. Some popular ones are PostgreSQL, MySQL, Microsoft Access, SQLite among others. There are special softwares that perform various operations on databases, these software are known as Database Management System, commonly known as DBMS. It performs different operations, like addition, access, updating, and deletion of the data. A database management system makes access and management of data a lot easier.

A lot of times, the terms database and database management system are confused. However, it is important to understand the difference between the two terms.

One important point of distinction is that database provides the data to the website and consists of a meaningful way to access data but it cannot understand the commands on its own. However, a database management system understands the commands and the queries that are used to extract the required data for the application or website. DBMS is a connecting bridge between the database and the user. It understands the queries and hence helps the database to understand the requirements of the application.

Hence, database stores data and methods to access it while a DBMS converts those queries into meaningful command. This was the basic and the most important distinction between database and database management system.

Apart from this, there are a number of different types of databases present out there. They are categorised into four distinct types, these are Relational databases, Hierarchical database, Network database and an Object-oriented database.

Database Connectivity

Database is a popular technology used widely in the business world and their importance, popularity and success have already grown. However, in spite of the extensive development that took place in the world of databases, one area has not been fully researched upon. We are talking about the connection of middleware or user-interface with the back-end database of the application. Some technologies are present that connect the user interface with the database at the backend. Some systems are basically front-end combined with levels of middleware and database back-ends. Along with that, there are multi-tier models that allow mix and match of various technologies according to their system goals. One critical aspect of the mechanism for connecting the middleware to the database backend is the design of the system. We will discuss several popular approaches to database connectivity available through an application-programming interface (API) in this blog. We will understand the issue of database connectivity and compare the technologies and methodologies available. The blog will follow an easy approach and the ultimate goal is to make the user understand the connectivity methods available and hence make a knowledgeable and informed decision, next time you work on an application as a developer and especially implementing a database solution. While discussing database connectivity, we will also explore the most common data access technologies while offering a case study of major database vendors like Oracle and Java. This will demonstrate how database vendors complies, implements and supports data access standards.

These data access methods facilitate understanding of development and the problems they are trying to solve. Instead of proprietary methodologies, we have tried to focus on technologies that have achieved acceptance in the world of databases and have become standards for database connectivity. Let’s get started and begin our discussion with learning open database connectivity, commonly known as ODBC.

What is Open Database Connectivity?

Microsoft Corporation has always been ahead in introducing new technologies that positively impact the development technologies further. In the database section also, Microsoft made an effort to connect to different databases like OB2 and others which is a host- based system, dBASE, FoxPro, Paradox, and others which are a file-server OBMS2 and developing client-server OBMS like Oraclev and others.

Before Microsoft introduced Open Database Connectivity, developers had to use copyright methods to connect to a vendor’s OBMS. These methods were offered by the vendor. This requires the knowledge and expertise of the specific tools offered by the developer in order to develop an application. The disadvantage of this traditional method is that it is difficult and complex to connect multiple databases to a user-interface.

Microsoft’s ODBC is a generic method to connect to any supported database. It has become phenomenally successful and is accepted and supported in the data industry. It is also one of the first few methods used to connect the user interface of the application with the back-end database. However, the speed can be reduced depending on the implementation of ODBC driver.

ODBC and ODBC drivers are basically theory and its applications respectively. Open Database Connectivity is a theoretical, logical structure to connect diverse data sources. ODBC drivers are the implementations of the structure in theory. Most of them are implemented in the C language.

Microsoft’s OOBC offers "maximum interoperability," and the current version 3.51 complies with XlOpen as well as the ISO call-level interface standards. Now that we have read in brief about the Microsoft’s open database connectivity, it’s time to discuss Java database connectivity. Let’s get started.

What is Java Database Connectivity?

Java Database Connectivity, popularly known as JDBC, is a Java API that is used to connect and execute queries with the help of database. JDBC is a part of JavaSE, an acronym for Java Standard Edition. JDBC drivers, which are used to connect with the database, are of four types. There is a JDBC-ODBC Bridge Driver, Native Driver, Network Protocol Driver, and Thin Driver.

The JDBC API accesses tabular data stored in relational databases. In these databases, data can be saved, updated, deleted and fetched also. It is very similar to Microsoft’s Open Database Connectivity, also known as ODBC, the one we discussed earlier.

Java Database Connectivity is based on the Open SQL Call Level Interface and the java.sql package contains classes and interfaces for JDBC API. Some widely used interfaces of JDBC API include the Driver interface, Connection interface, Statement interface, CallableStatement interface, ResultSet interface among others. Whereas, some popular JDBC API classes are DriverManager class, Blob class, Clob class, Types class etc.

JDBC has a huge advantage over Open Database Connectivity (which was hugely popular before the advent of JDBC). One issue with ODBC is that ODBC API (application programming interface) uses its drivers which are primarily written in C language and hence it is not platform independent and is not as secure. Java came up with a solution and hence developed its own API which is known as the JDBC API. These APIs uses JDBC drivers which are programmed in the Java language.

JDBC API can connect to the database, execute queries and update statements to the database, retrieve the results received from the database with the help of a Java program.

With this we have come to an end of our explanation of JDBC along with OODB, it’s time to discuss the stark differences between the two database technologies.

JDBC vs ODBC

While both JDBC and ODBC are used by different clients to access various kinds of information present in the databases hosted on the server side, there are some key differences between the two connectivity.

We have mentioned above that JDBC stands for Java Database Connectivity and ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity. However, one evident distinction between the two is that JDBC is dependent on a particular language and platform but ODBC is both language and platform-independent.

Java Database Connectivity and ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity. However, one evident distinction between the two is that JDBC is dependent on a particular language and platform but ODBC is both language and platform-independent

Another major difference between ODBC and JDBC is that the former is a little complex and hard for developers to learn while the latter is a lot easy and simple to learn as well as run.

Hence, both of them are used on the client side to access the server side, but there are a few distinctions between JDBC and ODBC also that we just discussed above. We hope the comparison of JDBC vs ODBC.

With this, we have come to an end of our discussion on database connectivity. We talked about the prevalent connectivity methods after we understood the concept of database connectivity. This blog might help you make a smarter and more knowledgeable decision, next time you are implementing a database solution.

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