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Open DataBase Connectivity, or ODBC, is a standard application programming interface (API) that was originally developed in the 1990s by Microsoft and Simba Technologies. The purpose of ODBC is to make it possible to access information from any application, regardless of the database system being used. Microsoft Access is an example of an ODBC compliant database.

How important is ODBC and what does it enable you to do? Let’s learn more about ODBC and why the most popular database management systems are compliant.

What Does ODBC Compliance Mean, Exactly?

When a database is ODBC compliant, it means that it can exchange information with other databases. This is made possible with ODBC drivers that let different database programs communicate with each other and understand the data being exchanged. ODBC has been used for over 25 years and has become the industry standard in the database field.

There are four components to ODBC that work together to allow functions:

  • Application. Any ODBC compliant application can be used, such as Microsoft Excel or Crystal Reports. The application performs processing by receiving results from the ODBC driver manager and passing SQL statements.
  • Driver manager. Drivers are loaded for each application. Windows comes with a driver manager of its own, whereas other programs have the choice to use an open source ODBC driver manager like iODBC.
  • Driver. The driver handles ODBC function calls and submits each SQL request to a data source. Results are returned to the application.
  • Data source. The data source refers to the data being accessed and its associated database management systems. It could be any type of data, ranging from a simple file to a live data feed.

What Databases are ODBC Compliant?

Microsoft Access is compliant with ODBC, but there are many other databases that are as well. These include:

  • MySQL
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Visual FoxPro
  • IBM DB2

ODBC is very common, so it’s likely that whatever database program you are using is ODBC compliant. If you’re unsure, check your database’s manual, contact your developer or give Arkware a call at 877-519-4537. We’re always happy to help!