Activex data objects for the .NET Framework (ADO.NET) is the latest database access technology from Microsoft. ADO.NET addresses issues with previous database access technologies and provides the foundation for future scalability. Although ADO.NET stands for Active Data Objects .NET, it's perhaps misnamed because unlike ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), ADO.NET isn't an ActiveX/Component Object Model (COM) technology. As the business world is moving onto the Internet, one of the main goals of ADO.NET is allow developers to write high-performance, reliable, and scalable database applications over the Internet. ADO.NET uses .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) services to manage the library, and it utilizes Extensible Markup Language (XML) to cache the data and exchange data among applications over the Internet as well as intranets.
Our goal in this chapter is simply to provide you with a high-level overview of ADO.NET. In it, we provide the basics of ADO.NET, describe its advantages over current data access technologies, and briefly introduce ADO.NET classes and namespaces as well as show how to use them to write simple database applications using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET (VS .NET). VS .NET provides tremendous support for writing database applications in no time, using its wizards and utilities. (Chapter 2 covers VS .NET and ADO.NET support.) In this chapter, we also briefly describe the ADO.NET components and how they fit in the model and work together. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss these components in more detail. Specifically, in Chapter 3, we cover the ADO.NET object model in disconnected environments, and in Chapter 4, we cover ADO.NET in connected environments.
The .NET Base Class Library is also called the .NET Runtime Library or the .NET Framework Class Library.