ADO.NET is a set of technologies that provides native access to data in the Microsoft .NET Framework. It is designed to support an n-tier programming environment and to handle a disconnected data architecture. ADO.NET is tightly integrated with XML and uses a common data representation that can combine data from disparate sources, including XML.

One of the major components of ADO.NET is the .NET Framework data provider, which connects to a database, executes commands, and retrieves results.

Microsoft provides .NET Framework data providers for SQL Server and OLE DB with the .NET Framework, and data providers for ODBC and Oracle can be downloaded from the Microsoft Web site. You can also obtain .NET Framework data providers from other vendors, such as the .NET Framework Data Provider for Adaptive Server Enterprise from SAP.

To connect to a database using the PowerBuilder ADO.NET database interface, you must use a .NET Framework data provider.

Accessing Unicode data

Using the ADO.NET interface, PowerBuilder can connect, save, and retrieve data in both ANSI/DBCS and Unicode databases but does not convert data between Unicode and ANSI/DBCS. When character data or command text is sent to the database, PowerBuilder sends a Unicode string. The data provider must guarantee that the data is saved as Unicode data correctly. When PowerBuilder retrieves character data, it assumes the data is Unicode.

A Unicode database is a database whose character set is set to a Unicode format, such as UTF-8, UTF-16, UCS-2, or UCS-4. All data must be in Unicode format, and any data saved to the database must be converted to Unicode data implicitly or explicitly.

A database that uses ANSI (or DBCS) as its character set might use special datatypes to store Unicode data. Columns with these datatypes can store only Unicode data. Any data saved into such a column must be converted to Unicode explicitly. This conversion must be handled by the database server or client.