Introduction to ADO.NET Core

Introduction to ADO.NET Core

In this article, I will give you a brief introduction to ADO.NET Core. ADO.NET Core is one of the data access technologies in the .NET Core framework to interact with databases. It provides a set of classes that can be used to execute SQL queries and retrieve data from different types of databases, with a primary focus on relational databases like SQL Server. At the end of this article, you will understand the following pointers in detail.

  1. What is ADO.NET Core?
  2. Key Components and Concepts of ADO.NET Core.
  3. What Types of Applications Use ADO.NET Core?
  4. What are ADO.NET Core Data Providers?

What is ADO.NET Core?

ADO.NET Core refers to the version of ADO.NET included in .NET Core, a cross-platform, open-source framework developed by Microsoft for building modern, cloud-based, internet-connected applications. 

ADO.NET Core is a data access technology, designed for interacting with databases in a .NET Core environment. It provides a set of classes and interfaces that enable developers to connect to databases, execute commands, and retrieve results. ADO.NET Core can work with various database systems, including SQL Server, MySQL, SQLite, and more. ADO.NET Core has been designed to work across multiple platforms, supporting development in Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Why Use ADO.NET Core?

ADO.NET Core is essential for developers who need efficient and reliable data access solutions. The following are some of the key benefits of using ADO.NET Core:

  • Performance: ADO.NET Core provides direct access to the database, allowing for high-performance data operations.
  • Flexibility: It supports multiple database systems, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
  • Control: Developers have complete control over SQL execution and data retrieval, which is ideal for complex data handling scenarios.
  • Cross-Platform Development: ADO.NET Core supports cross-platform development. This allows developers to build and run applications that interact with databases on any operating system supported by .NET Core.

Components of ADO.NET Core

The Core Components of ADO.NET Core are as follows:

Connection Object:

The Connection object establishes a connection to the database, which is the first step in any data operation. In ADO.NET Core, different data providers have specific connection classes, such as SQLConnection for SQL Server and NpgsqlConnection for PostgreSQL. For example, the SqlConnection class is used to open and close connections in the SQL Server database.

using (SqlConnection connection = new SqlConnection(connectionString))
    // Perform database operations
Command Object:

The Command object executes SQL queries or stored procedures against a data source. Similar to the Connection object, specific command classes exist for different data providers (e.g., SqlCommand for SQL Server, OracleCommand for Oracle, etc.). The Command object can execute queries that return results, modify data, or manage database structures. For example, the SqlCommand class is used to execute SQL queries and commands against the SQL Server database.

string query = "SELECT * FROM Users";
SqlCommand command = new SqlCommand(query, connection);
DataReader Object:

The DataReader provides a forward-only, read-only cursor to read data from a data source efficiently. It retrieves data from a database, iterating through the rows returned by a command object’s execution. For example, the SqlDataReader class is used to read data retrieved from the SQL Server database.

using (SqlDataReader reader = command.ExecuteReader())
    while (reader.Read())
        Console.WriteLine($"{reader["Id"]}, {reader["Name"]}");
DataAdapter Object:

The DataAdapter serves as a bridge between a Data Set and a data source for retrieving and saving data. It uses command objects to execute SQL commands, fill the data set with data, and update it with changes made in the data set. This component is essential for disconnected data access scenarios. For example, the SqlDataAdapter class serves as a bridge between a Data Set and the database for retrieving and saving data.

SqlDataAdapter adapter = new SqlDataAdapter("SELECT * FROM Users", connection);
DataSet dataSet = new DataSet();
DataSet and DataTable:

These classes represent in-memory data structures that can hold multiple tables and relationships between them. The Data Set is a disconnected, in-memory data representation. It can contain one or more Data Tables, which in turn contain the data in rows and columns, similar to a traditional database table. 

DataTable dataTable = dataSet.Tables[0];
foreach (DataRow row in dataTable.Rows)
    Console.WriteLine($"{row["Id"]}, {row["Name"]}");

Connection Strings: Connection strings specify the parameters needed to connect to a data source. They include the data source type, the server location, authentication credentials, and other configuration options. Each data provider has its syntax for connection strings.

Transaction Management: ADO.NET Core supports database transactions, allowing multiple operations to be executed as a single unit of work. Transactions ensure data integrity by allowing changes to be committed or rolled back as a whole based on the success or failure of the transactional operations.

What Types of Applications Use ADO.NET Core?

The following are some common types of applications that use ADO.NET Core as the data access technology:

  • Web Applications: ADO.NET Core is widely used in ASP.NET Core Web Applications to interact with databases. It supports the development of dynamic websites, Web APIs, and RESTful services where data storage, retrieval, and manipulation are essential requirements.
  • Desktop Applications: For Windows desktop applications (e.g., Windows Forms, WPF), ADO.NET Core provides the necessary tools for database operations, allowing for the creation of rich, data-driven desktop apps.
  • Mobile Applications: ADO.NET Core can be used to access databases in mobile applications running on iOS, Android, and Windows through Xamarin, a part of the .NET ecosystem.
  • Microservices: In microservices architectures, where small, autonomous services communicate over a network, ADO.NET Core can be used within individual services for database interactions. 
  • Cloud-based Applications: ADO.NET Core suits applications hosted on cloud platforms like Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud Platform. It can interact with cloud-based databases, including SQL Server on Azure, Amazon RDS, and Google Cloud SQL.
  • Real-time Applications: Applications that require real-time data processing and updates, such as chat apps or live monitoring systems, can benefit from ADO.NET Core’s efficient database operations.

What are ADO.NET Core Data Providers?

ADO.NET Core Data Providers are components that facilitate the interaction between a .NET application and a data source. These providers are the bridge between a .NET Core application and its data sources, enabling applications to perform tasks such as querying and updating data. Some of the most commonly used ADO.NET Core Data Providers are:

  • SQL Server Provider (System.Data.SqlClient or Microsoft.Data.SqlClient): This is the official data provider for SQL Server. It connects to SQL Server databases. Microsoft.Data.SqlClient is the newer package that supports the latest features of SQL Server and is recommended for use with .NET Core and .NET Standard applications.
  • SQLite Provider (Microsoft.Data.Sqlite): This provider is used for local database storage in desktop and mobile applications. It is lightweight and ideal for embedded database applications.
  • MySQL Provider (MySql.Data.MySqlClient or MySqlConnector): Several MySQL providers are available for .NET Core. MySql.Data.MySqlClient is the official connector provided by Oracle, while MySqlConnector is an open-source alternative that offers async support and aims for high performance.
  • PostgreSQL Provider (Npgsql): Npgsql is the open-source .NET data provider for PostgreSQL. It’s fully asynchronous, provides efficient database operations, and supports many PostgreSQL features.
  • Oracle Provider (Oracle.ManagedDataAccess.Core): This is the official Oracle data provider for .NET Core. It’s a fully managed ADO.NET provider, meaning it doesn’t depend on native libraries, making deployment easier and more flexible.

In the next article, I will discuss ADO.NET Core using SQL Server with Examples. Here, I give a brief Introduction to ADO.NET Core. I would like to have your feedback. Please post your feedback, questions, or comments about this introduction to the ADO.NET Core article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *