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ODBC - Open DataBase Connectivity

ODBC is a standard for accessing relational databases

ODBC is the most popular implementation of X/Open SQL Call Level Interface specification, which evolved into the international standard ISO/IEC 9075-3:2003 SQL/CLI by now.

ODBC is a C programming language interface that started life by Microsoft exclusively on Windows and is included in MSDN. This API makes possible for applications to access data from a variety of database management systems (DBMSs). The ODBC interface permits maximum interoperability - an application can access data in diverse DBMSs through a single interface.

ODBC consists of two key components:

Since its inception in 1992, the popularity of ODBC grew, an it has become the industry standard interface for developing database-independent applications. Application authors and database vendors have been making efforts for this data access standard to be available on other Operating systems. The OpenLink-branded ODBC Driver Manager is called iODBC, being the acronym for Independent Open DataBase Connectivity, is an open source platform-independent implementation for operating systems like Linux, Unix, Mac OS, OpenVMS and others.

In theory, an ODBC application can be quite independent of any DBMS from which it accesses data. In practice however, there some differences in quality and features supported by various drivers. Some big DBMS vendors are reluctant to improve and polish up their ODBC drivers hoping to make profit out of tying up application developers to their own APIs. But there are many independent driver suppliers, whose products outperform the "native" drivers supplied by DBMS vendors. To name a few:

Here is the full list of companies.

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