The Life and Times of ODBC – Part 2

The Life and Times of ODBC – Part 2

Posted on August 14, 2012 0 Comments

A few weeks ago I explained the life of ODBC drivers from their inception in 1992 until version 3 was released, in 1995. In case you need a refresher, ODBC drivers allow easy access of data from database management systems. I know you’ve been anxiously waiting to find out how ODBC has evolved since then; so, without further ado the rest of the timeline is below.

In 1997, the same year that Tony Blair became the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, ODBC 3.5 came out. What makes this version unique is that it’s the first version to introduced Unicode, the industry standard for consistent coding. Unicode is comprised of a 16-bit character scheme that makes it easy for databases to handle international symbols and languages. All other versions of ODBC are coded in Unicode.

Even though another version of the ODBC driver was not released until 2009, developers continued to improve functionality and features throughout the 10-year period. At DataDirect, we were working on driver components such as wire protocol, performance and security to provide relief and support to our customers. They were happy with our performance during the Y2K scare, the release of the first generation iPod and the premier of High School Musical.  Then in 2009 (the year of “Party in the USA”), Windows 8 included an updated version of the ODBC driver – ODBC 3.8. This version used ODBC C data exclusively and allowed users to stream output parameters and execute operations asynchronously.

These days, ODBC drivers are typically database-specific, with separate drivers being developed for each database and platform. At DataDirect, however, we can connect any application, from any platform to any database, with just one driver. We make ODBC universal with our standards-based access to so many data sources.

In February 2011 (the same month that the Packers beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV), DataDirect came out with the ODBC 7.0 driver. The 7.0 driver gives developers a fast and secure database connectivity solution that increases productivity and delivers platinum features, such as bulk load and failover. The efficiency benefits are even more pronounced in a virtualized environment.

The next generation of ODBC drivers will bring even more advances to the field. For example, this fall (around the time of the Iron Man Triathlon), DataDirect will be releasing a Hadoop driver that will enable reliable connectivity to structured or unstructured data resources simultaneously. What all of this means is that ODBC drivers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon – in fact, they will continue to contribute to other exciting possibilities down the road! To learn more about our thoughts on Big Data solutions, check out our 2012 industry predictions.


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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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