ODBC Router Frequently Asked Questions
Developing Applications that use ODBC and ODBC Router


About ODBC
ODBC stands for Open Database Connectivity, a standard Application Programming Interface that allows applications to interact with virtually any type of database system without any database-specific coding. Like printing, the Customer (not the Developer) traditionally completes the connection between the application and the database by installing a driver on each of their computers. ODBC came to prominence as part of the Windows platform, but was based on the X/Open Group's Call Level Interface (CLI) specification.

About the ODBC Control Panel
The ODBC Control Panel is where the Customer traditionally maintains their list of data sources using ODBC drivers much as they might administer printing destinations with printer drivers. Like printer drivers, ODBC drivers typically implement their own "setup dialog" that is called by the ODBC Control Panel to maintain driver parameters. The Customer's list of data source names, corresponding ODBC drivers and any parameters are all managed exclusively by the ODBC Control Panel.

About the ODBC Driver Manager
Database applications normally link to a shared-library (DLL) called an ODBC Driver Manager (DM) that implements the generic ODBC API. But the DM itself generally does not actually process the requests; instead, the DM passes each API call through to a specific vendor's ODBC driver that is contained in another shared-library. The DM knows which ODBC driver to pass the application's database calls thru to by having first intercepted the initial "Data Source Connect" call and having looked-up the requested data source in the list maintained by the Customer with their ODBC Control Panel. ODBC drivers themselves actually process the application's database API call, though they may callback into the ODBC Configuration Manager (part of the ODBC Control Panel) when they need to store or retrieve parameters.

What is ODBCSDK?
ODBCSDK is a free drop-in replacement shared-library (DLL) that enables your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, PC or Linux app to use ODBC drivers installed on a Windows server in place of client-side ODBC control panels, driver managers, drivers and supporting libraries.

Why use ODBCSDK?
Since there are less than a dozen ODBC drivers available on all non-Windows platforms combined, it makes little sense to endure the significant deployment costs, technical support and customer training issues associated with non-Windows ODBC control panels. ODBCSDK eliminates these issues and also enables even Windows clients to benefit from centralized administration. ODBCSDK is available for both PHP/PERL type web-scripts and C applications on Linux, iOS, Macintosh and Windows.

How does ODBCSDK work?
Instead of linking your application to an ODBC Driver Manager, you link instead to the compatible ODBCSDK shared library and either specify the network-address of the Customer's Window box (where ODBC Router is installed along side the official Windows ODBC drivers for their databases) in the standard ODBC connection string, or supply an /etc/odbcrouter.conf file or a simple "callback routine" that returns the address of the Customer's Windows Server (perhaps after interactively prompting the User). On GUI platforms like Mac OS, OS X and Windows, you may even specify a connection string without any Data Source Name to request that ODBCSDK itself prompt the user with its own "network database chooser". This eliminates the need for your users to interact with an ODBC control panel, know database settings or otherwise perform complex driver configuration on each machine in their network, thus reducing your technical support.

Which APIs are implemented by ODBCSDK?
ODBCSDK implements the entire ODBC API with the exception of driver-management calls (which are not needed since the database drivers reside only on a centrally managed Windows server), SQLExtendedFetch/SetPos (use a cursor library instead) or the optional 3.X and 4.X API extensions (unnecessary, see docs).

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