OLE DB is Microsoft's strategic low-level application program interface (API) for access to different data sources. OLE DB includes not only the Structured Query Language (SQL) capabilities of the Microsoft-sponsored standard data interface Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) but also includes access to data other than SQL data.
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As a design from Microsoft's Component Object Model (COM), OLE DB is a set of methods (in earlier days, these might have been called routines) for reading and writing data. The objects in OLE DB consist mainly of a data source object, a session object, a command object, and a rowset object. An application using OLE DB would use this request sequence:
- Initialize OLE.
- Connect to a data source.
- Issue a command.
- Process the results.
- Release the data source object and uninitialize OLE.
OLE once stood for "Object Link Embedding" and "DB" for database. However, Microsoft no longer ascribes these meanings to the letters "OLE" and "DB."