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This topic provides the basics of Open Database Connectivity (ODBC):

You will also want to read the related topic ODBC: The ODBC Cursor Library.


ODBC data sources are accessible through the MFC ODBC classes, as described in this topic, or through the MFC Data Access Object (DAO) classes.


The MFC ODBC classes support Unicode and multithreading. For more information about the multithreading support, see ODBC Classes and Threads

ODBC is a call-level interface that allows applications to access data in any database for which there is an ODBC driver. Using ODBC, you can create database applications with access to any database for which your end user has an ODBC driver. ODBC provides an API that allows your application to be independent of the source database management system (DBMS).

ODBC is the database portion of the Microsoft Windows Open Services Architecture (WOSA), which is an interface that allows Windows-based desktop applications to connect to multiple computing environments without rewriting the application for each platform.

The following are components of ODBC:


    A library of function calls, a set of error codes, and a standard Structured Query Language (SQL) syntax for accessing data on DBMSs.

  • ODBC Driver Manager

    A dynamic-link library (Odbc32.dll) that loads ODBC database drivers on behalf of an application. This DLL is transparent to your application.

  • ODBC database drivers

    One or more DLLs that process ODBC function calls for specific DBMSs. For a list of supplied drivers, see ODBC Driver List.

  • ODBC Cursor Library

    A dynamic-link library (Odbccr32.dll) that resides between the ODBC Driver Manager and the drivers and handles scrolling through the data.

  • ODBC Administrator

    A tool used for configuring a DBMS to make it available as a data source for an application.

An application achieves independence from DBMSs by working through an ODBC driver written specifically for a DBMS rather than working directly with the DBMS. The driver translates the calls into commands its DBMS can use, simplifying the developer's work and making it available for a wide range of data sources.

The database classes support any data source for which you have an ODBC driver. This might, for example, include a relational database, an Indexed Sequential Access Method (ISAM) database, a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, or a text file. The ODBC drivers manage the connections to the data source, and SQL is used to select records from the database.

For a list of ODBC drivers included in this version of Visual C++ and for information about obtaining additional drivers, see ODBC Driver List.

The ODBC software development kit (SDK) is provided in the MSDN documentation. For more information about ODBC, see the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) SDK and the ODBC API Reference Help system.

See Also

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