Microsoft SQL Server and Visual Studio .NET
Introduction to SQL Server
A database is a list-based
application as a collection of information destined to make that information
easy to view and exploit. The word database primarily suggests a fancy and
powerful programming environment used to create such an application. With
today's requirements, the expectation is certainly justified.
Consequently, there are many software packages used to create database
applications. On this site, we will use Microsoft SQL Server.
SQL Server and Visual Studio .NET
Microsoft SQL Server is mainly used to create and maintain
computer databases. It doesn't provide the means of creating graphical elements
that would make it easy for a regular user to take advantage of its lists. To
create an application made of graphical user interface (GUI) objects, you must
use a separate environment. To make this easy, Microsoft created a very direct
link between Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and Microsoft SQL Server. The
communication is so smooth that, from Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, you can use
Microsoft SQL Server directly without having to formally open SQL Server.
ADO.NET is a group of libraries used to create powerful
databases using various sources that include Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft
Access, Oracle, XML, etc. ADO.NET relies on the .NET Framework's various classes
to process requests and perform the transition between a database system and the
user. The operations are typically handled through the DataSet class. While
ADO.NET is the concept of creating and managing database systems, the DataSet
as we have introduced it so far, serves as an intermediary between the database
engine and the user interface, namely the Windows controls that the user uses to
interact with the computer. Still, remember that a DataSet object is used to manage
lists, any lists, not just those created using database environments such as
Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Access.
Besides using features of a database in an ADO.NET
application, you can also fully take advantage of XML as it is completely and
inherently supported by the DataSet class. To fully support XML in your
application, we saw in previous lessons that the .NET Framework is equipped with
the System.Xml.dll library. You may have noticed that, in previously
lessons, to use XML, we never had to import any library. This was possible
because, if you create a Windows Forms Application using the New Project dialog
box, the System.Xml.dll namespace is directly included in your
application. The classes that implement XML in the .NET Framework are defined in
the System::Xml namespace.
Getting Access to ADO.NET Libraries
The classes used to create ADO.NET databases are defined in
the System::Data namespace and are stored in the System.Data.dll
library. If you create a Windows Forms Application from the New Project dialog
box, Visual Studio .NET would automatically include the System.Data.dll
library and add the System::Data namespace to your project, even if you
are not creating a database application. This makes it convenient. If you are
creating the application from scratch, in order to use ADO.NET, you must
remember to reference the System.Data.dll library and include the System::Data
namespace in your file(s).