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ASP.NET Basics (part 8): Data Overload
Use the ADO.NET classes to build dynamic data-driven Web pages with ASP.NET and C#

| Out With The Old... |

Before we get into the code, a little theory to smoothen the way. Classic ASP programmers may remember how overjoyed they were at the advent of ADO, which made database communication a breeze and significantly reduced development times. However, with the ascension of .NET, ADO, together with other ASP staples, has been given a new lease of life in the form of ADO.NET

Nope, it's not just a name change hiding the same tired skeleton. According to the .NET development team, ADO.NET (like ADO) is a set of libraries designed to help developers access data from different RDBMSs, including Microsoft Access, SQL Server and Oracle 8. It does this through an object model supporting a wide range of object classes for connecting to a database, adding new information, updating or deleting existing records, and so on.

If this sounds familiar, hang on a minute - unlike plain-vanilla ADO, ADO.NET uses a new, more efficient object model which supports XML to simplify the transfer of data between two applications. Additionally, it allows "disconnected access" to data, wherein developers cache data on the local machine, work on it and send the changes back to the database on an as-needed basis.

New DataSet objects allow data from different sources to be merged together and treated as one - this makes it possible, for example, to have an online shopping store running off SQL Server and an offline accounting system running off Microsoft Access, and create composite reports using both systems without needing any complex import/export routines. Finally, ADO.NET allows far greater flexibility when it comes to manipulating record sets, and also lets you run multiple SQL statements simultaneously.

Simply put, ADO.NET rocks!

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