Almost every software application is driven by data. Usually, this data is centralized in a relational database system such as SQL Server, Oracle, or DB2. In the .NET world, you access this information using Microsoft's latest data access technology: ADO.NET.
Like many other .NET technologies, ADO.NET bears some superficial similarities to its predecessor (in this case, ADO). However, ADO.NET also includes some dramatic changes and a few surprising innovations. It has a disconnected programming model tailored for distributed applications and the Web, built-in support for XML serialization, practical data binding, and an extensible set of interfaces that let you create custom data providers.
Learning to use ADO.NET takes a little work, but the rewards are well worth it. With the help of this reference, you'll be up and running before you know it.