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This chapter is from the book

Learning the Client/Server Buzzwords

People who talk about client/server technology use many terms that are unfamiliar to the average database developer. To get a full appreciation of client/server technology and what it offers, you must have at least a general understanding of the terminology. Table 3.1 lists the most commonly used terms.

Table 3.1 Client/Server Terms




A field.


A data definition language used to define and describe the database structure.

Foreign key

A value in one table that must be looked up in another table for validation.


The native database engine used by Microsoft Access.

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)

A standard proposed by Microsoft that provides access to a variety of back-end databases through a common interface. In essence, ODBC is a translator.


A new standard for connecting to relational and nonrelational data sources.

Data access objects (DAO)

A method of manipulating data. It is being replaced by ADO and was optimized for accessing Jet databases.

ActiveX data objects (ADO)

A COM-based object model that allows you to easily manipulate OLE DB data sources. It is the data access methodology that replaces DAO.

Primary key

A set of fields that uniquely identifies a row.


A record.


A blueprint of the entire database. Includes table definitions, relationships, security, and other important information about the database.

Structured Query Language (SQL)

A type of data-manipulation language commonly used to talk to tables residing on a server.

Stored procedures

Compiled SQL statements, such as queries, stored on the database server. Can be called by an application.


A set of actions that must be performed on a database. If any one action fails, all the actions are discarded.


Pieces of code that execute in response to an action occurring on a table (insert, edit, or delete).

Many books are devoted solely to client/server technology. Most magazines targeted at developers contain numerous articles on client/server technology. Access/VB/SQL Advisor always offers excellent articles on client/server development. Many of the articles are specifically about client/server connectivity using Access as a front end. Visual Studio Magazine often contains useful articles as well. Another excellent source of information is the Microsoft Developer Network CD. Offered by Microsoft as a subscription, it includes numerous articles and whitepapers on client/server technology, ODBC, and the use of Access as a front end to a database server.

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