ADO.NET Programmer's Reference

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ADO.NET is Microsoft's latest data access technology, and, as an integral component of the .NET framework, is far more than simply an upgrade of an existing technology.ADO.NET is a large set of .NET classes that enable us to interact with data sources, manipulate data, and communicate with other applications and Web Services in entirely new ways.

This book provides a wealth of information about the ADO.NET. We describe the features and how to use them, as well as providing ...

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ADO.NET is Microsoft's latest data access technology, and, as an integral component of the .NET framework, is far more than simply an upgrade of an existing technology.ADO.NET is a large set of .NET classes that enable us to interact with data sources, manipulate data, and communicate with other applications and Web Services in entirely new ways.

This book provides a wealth of information about the ADO.NET. We describe the features and how to use them, as well as providing advice and explanation that will enable you to use ADO.NET effectively. The code examples are concise, and demonstrate how to use a specific techniques rather than how to build entire applications.

This book covers:

  • An overview of ADO.NET, including differences to ADO and its new class structure
  • How to access and query databases using ADO.NET
  • The DataSet, DataReader and DataAdapter objects
  • How to implement transactions in ADO.NET
  • XML support
  • Working with database permissions
  • Incorporating classic ADO components in .NET applications
  • Real-world programming tasks using the SQL Client, OLEDB and ODBC providers
  • Extensive reference sections
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861005588
  • Publisher: Wrox Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/15/2001
  • Series: Programmer's Reference Ser.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 700
  • Product dimensions: 7.28 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 2.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Adil Rehan works as an independent consultant for a Fortune 500 company. He has been involved in several books in different roles. He has been actively involved in design and implementation of enterprise Internet enabled solutions for different clients. He can be reached at

Dushan Bilbija works as a consultant with clients in areas from academia to software development to wireless communications. He specializes in Visual Basic, Enterprise Applications, Application Integration, Database Development and System Architecture. He can be reached at

Fabio Claudio Ferracchiati is a software developer and technical writer.

Jan D. Narkiewicz is Chief Technical Officer at Software Pronto, Inc ( In his spare time Jan is Academic Coordinator for the Windows curriculum at U.C. Berkeley Extension, teaches at U.C. Santa Cruz Extension and writes for ASP Today.

Jeffrey Hasan is a technical architect specializing in Microsoft technology at LiveMarket, Inc. He has extensive experience developing N-Tier applications. He has written numerous articles on application development, and is a contributing author to several books by Wrox Press. Email Jeff at:

John McTanish has written many control systems and various other application and drivers, mostly for PC hardware. John currently works as a team leader developing public safety software for computer aided dispatch systems used by Police, Fire and Ambulance vehicles.

Jon Reid is the Chief Technology Officer for Micro Data Base Systems, Inc.His primary current activity is developing database tools for the Microsoft.NET environment.

Matt Milner works as a Technical Architect for BORN in Minneapolis where he designs and builds Microsoft solutions for clients in a variety of industries. Matt's primary focus has been using Windows DNA architecture and he is excited about the move to .Net and all the powerful new features.

Naveen Kohli is an independent software developer. He's been developing ranging from Chemical Reactor Optimisation to N-tier web applications. He has a vast experience in writing middle tier components for extracting data from data sources like SQL Server, Oracle, Exchange Server and Access database.

Paul Dickinsons most recent resting place involves developing information management systems for laboratories.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: What Is ADO. N ET?

ADO.NET. is a set of data access classes which form an integral part of the .NET Framework. As part of the .NET framework, they share the features of the .NET classes in general, such as type-safe standard data types, specialized network classes, and XML integration. ADO.NET is designed to provide highly efficient data access, especially for disconnected, n-Tier application architectures. XML plays a pivotal role in this new data access technology, as XML is the data representation language for the .NET framework. ADO.NET classes are tightly integrated with the XML framework classes, which provide seamless access to a host of XML-related services, including easy transfer of data between data sources and XML documents.

Before looking at ADO.NET in detail, we will take a general look at the .NET Framework.

The .NET Framework

The.NET Framework provides system-level services, classes, and data types, which significantly change the way we go about developing distributed applications. It encapsulates all system-level functionality into a framework of classes. Many of the low-level plumbing details that are required for components to work together, such as memory management, are handled automatically, and it introduces a high level of thread safety so that errant components cannot easily crash an application. In short, it allows us to concentrate on developing functionality, instead of worrying about management details.

Microsoft has positioned .NET as the platform for building Web Services, although Web Services are just one aspect of the .NET strategy. Web Services are components that communicate over HTTP using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), which is a protocol for sending packets of XML. They are designed to provide specific types of functionality in components that are accessible over the Internet to any XML-aware client.

An important part of the .NET framework, for the development of Internet applications and Web Services, is ASP.NET This is tightly integrated with XML and standard Web protocols, including SOAP, thereby making it easy to build Web services.

For more information on ASP.NET, see Professional ASP.NET by Wrox Press. ISBN 1-863004-88-5.

As we've seen, ADO.NET provides a set of specialized classes and types that are designed for data access. These classes are extended from the .NET Base Class Library, meaning that they are built directly on top of System-level classes.

The various components of the .NET Framework are shown in the figure below. We've highlighted those parts which are most important to the data access functionality in the .NET Framework, and which we will be looking at in this book: Let's take a look at some of these aspects of the .NET Framework in some more detail:

  • Common Language Runtime: This is a rich runtime environment that handles important runtime tasks for the developer, including memory management and garbage collection. The Common Language Runtime is built around the Common Type System, which defines a common type system for all .NET compliant languages. Code that runs under control of the CLR is called managed code.
  • Base Class Library: This is a rich set of functional base classes that encapsulate system functionality.
  • Extended Class Libraries: These contain abstracted classes that focus on particular aspects of development: ASP.NET (for Web Services and Internet applications), ADO.NET (for data access), XML (to parse and manipulate XML documents), and Windows Forms (for developing Windows user interfaces).
  • Common Language Specification: This defines the rules and requirements for .NET compliant languages.
  • Multiple Programming Languages: VB.NET, C++, and C#, are just some of the languages that may be used for development within the .NET Framework. In the near future, the number of .NET compliant languages will increase enormously, as, in principle, any language can be integrated to work with the .NET framework. the .NET Framework provides one platform for many languages.
  • Visual Studio.NET: Although not strictly part of the .NET Framework, this is integrated development environment for developing applications within the .NET Framework.
In brief, the most important aspects of the .NET Framework may be summed up in the following way:
  • It is built on a common set of Framework classes
  • It provides a Common Type System, which serves to provide support for all languages, via the CLS
  • It provides a Common Language Runtime, which provides runtime services for individual components and entire applications
  • It provides abstracted class sets for ASP.NET ADO.NET, XML.NET, and Windows Forms

A definitive guide of the .NET famework may be found in Professional .NET Framework, Wrox Press, ISBN:1-861005-56-3

A History of ADO

We have become accustomed to Microsoft data access technologies evolving at breakneck speeds. The rapid evolution of data access technologies reflects the growth of the Internet, and the seemingly insatiable demand for faster, more scalable web applications.

Web applications need to access data quickly, regardless of how many active users may be logged on at any one time. Traditional ADO never quite gave us the lightweight data access objects that we might have wanted to meet the demands of scalable, highly available web applications. This was primarily because ADO's data exchange mechanism was better integrated with marshaled object calls, rather than with lightweight XML. The Internet space demands a data access technology that is tailored to delivering information to large numbers of individual clients who are accessing data remotely.

ADO 2.6 was designed for the tightly coupled application environments often found in traditional client/server applications. Such applications use n-Tier architectures with well-defined user services, business services, and data services layers. The middle-tier business layer typically manages all database access, and usually delivers data as recordsets, which are dependent on a persistent connection to the back-end database. ADO as a technology is well suited to this architecture, because it excels at providing rich recordsets with a flexible choice of cursors for accessing the data. Web application architecture is based on the same n-Tier application architecture, but the relationships between the service layers are very different. Web applications have loosely coupled architectures, where the user interface and business tiers communicate over HTTP, and where state is not persisted between calls without explicit coding. The user services layer, in particular, is very loosely coupled to the business services layer.

Traditional client/server applications were designed to hold open a connection for the duration of a data access task, and close the connection only once the task is complete. Ideally, a Web application wouldn't dominate resources by maintaining such a connection. Web applications service a large number of users, and cannot effectively provide persistent connections to the database for every user on the system. Whereas, client/server applications might support several thousand users with several hundred concurrent users, Web applications, on the other hand, might need to support thousands to millions of concurrent users. ADO is simply not designed to support these kinds of loads.

The following diagrams compare the general structure a .NET application, showing the role of ADO. NET (on the right), with the general structure of a pre .NET application, built around ADO (on the left). Note, in particular, how, within the .NET model, XML is used as the transport between the User Services and the Business Services

Client-side data access presents a significant challenge. It is a key aspect of any application that supports a large numbers of concurrent users, including web applications. The growth of the Internet, in particular, has created an upsurge in demand for fast, flexible, client-side data access technology. The recent evolution of ADO, up through version 2.6, has largely been driven by the quest to handle disconnected data access more effectively. With this in mind, in the following section, we will look at the recent development of traditional ADO....

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
What Is ADO.NET? 1
What does this book cover? 2
Who Is This Book For? 2
What you Need to Use this Book 3
Conventions 3
Customer Support 4
Chapter 1 What Is ADO.NET? 7
The .NET Framework 7
A History of ADO 9
Overview of ADO.NET 13
ADO 2.6 and ADO.NET 18
The Visual Studio.NET Component Designer 20
Summary 29
Chapter 2 The ADO.NET Object Model 31
The .NET Class Framework 31
The ADO.NET Object Model 35
ADO.NET Integration with XML 53
COM Interoperability 59
The Visual Studio.NET Server Explorer 60
Summary 64
Chapter 3 The Connection Object 67
Introduction 67
IDbConnection 68
Required Namespaces 68
Construction 69
Instance Properties 71
Methods 81
Events 92
Connection Pooling 96
Asynchronous Connections 97
Summary 101
Chapter 4 OleDbCommand / SqlCommand Objects 103
SqlCommand Class 103
OleDbCommand and OdbcCommand Classes 128
Chapter 5 The DataSet Object 145
Creating a DataSet 146
Filling a DataSet with a DataAdapter 151
Using XML to Fill the DataSet Object 157
The DataSet Object 164
Summary 223
Chapter 6 The DataReader Object 225
Data Type Mapping 229
The DataReader Object Members 230
The SqlDataReader Object 267
Chapter 7 The DataAdapter Object 281
The DataAdapter 282
The DbDataAdapter 296
The OleDbDataAdapter 326
The SqlDataAdapter 351
The OdbcDataAdapter 356
Chapter 8 The DataTable object 359
The DataTable Object 362
The Sub-Objects 404
The DataColumn Object 404
The DataRow Object 425
Relevant Collection Objects 447
Summary 451
Chapter 9 DataRelations 453
Understanding Table Relationships 453
The DataRelation Class 456
The Constraint Class 463
The UniqueConstraint Object 465
The ForeignKeyConstraint Object 472
DataRelationCollection Class 478
Summary 490
Chapter 10 Using DataViews 493
Preliminaries 495
The DataView Object 498
The DataViewManager Object 529
The DataViewSetting Object 539
The DataViewSettingCollection Object 541
Chapter 11 Mapping 547
The Mapping Mechanism 547
The DataTableMapping Object 553
The DataColumnMapping Object 570
The DataTableMappingCollection Object 577
The DataColumnMappingCollection Object 592
Summary 606
Chapter 12 Transactions 609
Understanding Transactions 609
Changes from ADO 2.6 613
The Transaction Class 613
A Transaction Example 621
Transaction Guidelines 623
Summary 623
Chapter 13 The XmlDataDocument Object 625
Constructors of the XmlDataDocument 627
Properties of XmlDataDocument 631
Methods of XmlDataDocument 656
Events of XmlDataDocument 715
Chapter 14 Exceptions and Error Handling 725
Handling Exceptions 725
Exceptions 728
Managed Provider Errors 754
Summary 764
Chapter 15 Permissions 767
Security In .NET 767
Permission Class 772
PermissionAttribute Class 784
Code Placement of Security Actions 786
Summary 790
Chapter 16 COM Interoperability 793
Garbage Collection 794
Error Handling 795
Tools For Interop 795
ADO in Managed Applications 799
ADOX In Managed Applications 802
JRO In Managed Applications 806
ADOMD In Managed Applications 809
Summary 812
Appendix A Examples 815
Retrieving a DataSet 815
Setting a DataRelation 817
Filtering a DataSet Using a DataView 819
Adding Keys and Constraints 820
Using the DataReader 821
Updating Data Using the DataSet Object 822
Merging Data: DataSet, DataTable, and arrays of DataRow Objects 824
Controlling DataSet and DataTable Changes 827
Explicit Row and Column Updates 830
Miscellaneous Class Reference 835
Appendix B System.Data Class Reference 835
System.Data.Common Class Reference 869
Miscelaneous Other Classes 883
Appendix C ADO.NET Class Diagrams 897
System.Data 897
System.Data.Common 906
System.Data.OleDb 909
System.Data.SqlClient 914
System.Data.odbc 919
Appendix D Support, Errata, and 925
The Online Forums at 925
Checking the Errata Online at 927
Add an Erratum: e-Mail Support 928
How to Tell Us Exactly What You Think 929
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2002

    Set me straight about ADO.NET

    I haven't found as good a resource on ADO.NET yet... its an extremely intregal subject for anyone that plans to work with .NET. If you're out there thinking that the DataSet is just an improved Recordset, you NEED to read this book. My only complaint, as with many Wrox books, they regurgitate the information many times, making for a much thicker book than necessary, especially for one aimed at experienced developers. Anyway, read it now and be amazed about the amazing set of classes that is ADO.NET.

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