Using database drivers to communicate with your database

Using database drivers to communicate with your database

The ODBC, OLE DB, and JDBC interfaces are implemented by database drivers (or "data providers" in OLE DB), which are simply pieces of software. When your web application communicates with your database, it does so through the intermediary of a driver.

Database drivers are database-specific. For example, you can use Microsoft Access, SQL Server, and dBase drivers. Similarly, you can use OLE DB providers such as the OLE DB provider for SQL Server. Your choice depends on your database.

Drivers are written by database vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle, and by a variety of third-party software vendors. Microsoft offers a number of ODBC drivers and OLE DB providers for the most popular database packages, such as Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server, and Oracle. The ODBC drivers, which only run on the Windows platform, are automatically installed with Microsoft Office, and with Windows 2000 and Windows XP Professional. They are also installed with the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.5, 2.6, and 2.7 packages, which you can download for free from the Microsoft website at MDAC 2.7 installs a number of OLE DB providers.

To find out which ODBC drivers are installed on your Windows system, see Viewing the ODBC drivers installed on a Windows system.

Some common JDBC drivers include the i-net JDBC drivers for Microsoft SQL Server databases, the Oracle Thin driver for Oracle databases, and the JDBC Driver for DB2 for IBM DB2 databases. For more information on JDBC drivers and their vendors, see the searchable database of JDBC drivers on the Sun website at

Here are the database interfaces for each type of web application and some common database drivers for each:

Web application

Database interface

Common drivers




ColdFusion native drivers

Sun JDBC-ODBC driver

Oracle Thin JDBC driver



Microsoft Access Driver

Microsoft SQL Server Provider

Microsoft ODBC for Oracle



Microsoft Jet Provider

Microsoft SQL Server Provider

Microsoft Oracle provider


MySQL specific

MySQL driver

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