Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is an open standard application programming interface (API) for accessing a database. By using ODBC statements in a program, you can access files in a number of different databases, including Access, dBase, DB2, Excel, and Text. In addition to the ODBC software, a separate module or driver is needed for each database to be accessed. The main proponent and supplier of ODBC programming support is Microsoft.
ODBC is based on and closely aligned with The Open Group standard Structured Query Language (SQL) Call-Level Interface. It allows programs to use SQL requests that will access databases without having to know the proprietary interfaces to the databases. ODBC handles the SQL request and converts it into a request the individual database system understands.
ODBC was created by the SQL Access Group and first released in September, 1992. Although Microsoft Windows was the first to provide an ODBC product, versions now exist for UNIX, OS/2, and Macintosh platforms as well.
In the newer distributed object architecture called Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), the Persistent Object Service (POS) is a superset of both the Call-Level Interface and ODBC. When writing programs in the Java language and using the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) application program interface, you can use a product that includes a JDBC-ODBC "bridge" program to reach ODBC-accessible databases.