The purpose of this book is to show you how to develop database applications, using Visual Basic.NET and ADO.NET.
Although both the OLEDB and the ODBC Data Providers for .NET are discussed (Chapter 4), almost all the demonstrations and examples in this book use the data provider for Microsoft SQL Server. It is readily available and used by most of our readers. Moreover, applying the concepts and making the required code modifications for other data sources are normally very straightforward. We point out where there are significant differences.
Even though we expect that most readers will be working with SQL Server, we do not assume that they are experienced with it. You may be new to database applications or only have experience with other databases such as Microsoft Access or Oracle. We have therefore included a hefty overview of Microsoft SQL Server in Chapter 3. If you are experienced with SQL Server, you may want to skip this chapter. However, it covers a wide variety of topics, and you may still find a "nugget" or two that would make reading the chapter worthwhile.
Along with the coverage of SQL Server as a data source, we have included coverage of XML and XML integration with ADO.NET. This aspect of developing database applications with Visual Basic.NET is crucial and is often overlooked or short-changed. However, because XML is so important to developing modern data-driven applications we have provided rather extensive coverage of this topic.
This book contains a lot of demonstrations, examples, and code. We believe that their use is the best way to help you understand the concepts being presented. We normally provide relatively simple examples to demonstrate the concepts and then present Business Cases to put the concepts into a real-world context.