The Life and Times of ODBC - Part 1

The Life and Times of ODBC - Part 1

July 20, 2012 0 Comments

Many remember the fall of 1992 as the time when Super Mario Kart came out. Or when the World Wide Web was born. What many don’t remember, however, is that the ODBC driver was released in September of 1992. While it doesn't seem like an important milestone, database management systems (DBMS) would not be where they are today without this key driver. ODBC was developed by the SQL Access Group, a collection of software companies that included Microsoft, in order to standardize the use of DMBS by applications.  Our own John Goodson was also heavily involved in the development, back in his Microsoft days. The driver works similarly to a printer driver, providing one central location from which an application can access information and standardize its use. In 1994, while most people were out seeing the Lion King or catching the first episode of Friends, ODBC developers were releasing version two of the driver. The second version reorganized the API core, made changes to level 1 and 2 conformance and input new data types. Only a year later, the same year that Windows 95 was released (and so was OJ Simpson), ODBC 3.0 was developed. This version introduced a larger number of new APIs and ODBC descriptor handles. Even though there have been many updates to ODBC since 1995, most Linux drivers and many applications use the ODBC 3.0 driver. When ODBC was developed no one could guess that it would become an integral API for today’s enterprise. Even twenty years later, developers frequently employ ODBC to tackle critical business challenges (such as Big Data, cloud computing and mobile computing), and in August of last year, Microsoft officially announced that it was fully focusing its resources and development on the ODBC standard for all its native client applications. And as version 7.0 of the driver was released earlier this year, it’s becoming even more evident that ODBC will be sticking around for a while! Tune in for our next post where we look at how ODBC continued to develop from 1995 to the present. ?Image sourced from


Paul Griffin

View all posts from Paul Griffin on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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