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SQL Server Reference Guide

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Database

Last updated Mar 28, 2003.

The database API (sometimes called the SQL Server API) is the set of objects you load in a VB or C++ project (or the new .NET languages) to get at the data. The database API uses tabular result sets, which is the transport used to return data. The language you use to produce and access these results (called recordsets in the old systems and datasets in the new) is a superset of the Structured Query Language called Transact-SQL (T-SQL).

The Tabular Result Set API is encompassed by several technologies and libraries that have evolved over time. Here are a few of the well-known libraries:

  • Remote Data Objects (RDO), used in Visual Basic 5 and Visual C++

  • ActiveX Database Objects (ADO), used in Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual C++

  • ADO.NET

All have their pluses and minuses. I'll show you more about these concepts later on, as sections covering these topics are added to this Reference Guide.

Microsoft was an early adopter of the Extensible Markup Language (XML), and SQL Server has patches that allow XML documents to be consumed and produced by the database engine. It also supports XPath, the query language for XML structures. See the section on XML for more information.