Comparison of ADO and ADO.NET

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Note: The following content requires a knowledge of database technologies.

The following is a comparison of two different database access technologies from Microsoft, namely, ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) and ADO.NET. Before comparing the two technologies, it is essential to get an overview of Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) and the .NET Framework. Microsoft Data Access Components provide a uniform and comprehensive way of developing applications for accessing almost any data store entirely from unmanaged code. The .NET Framework is an application virtual machine-based software environment that provides security mechanisms, memory management, and exception handling and is designed so that developers need not consider the capabilities of the specific CPU that will execute the .NET application. The .NET application virtual machine turns intermediate language (IL) into machine code. High-level language compilers for C#, VB.NET and C++ are provided to turn source code into IL. ADO.NET is shipped with the Microsoft NET Framework.

ADO relies on COM whereas ADO.NET relies on managed-providers defined by the .NET CLR. ADO.NET does not replace ADO for the COM programmer; rather, it provides the .NET programmer with access to relational data sources, XML, and application data.

ADO ADO.NET
Business Model Connection-oriented Models used mostly Disconnected models are used:Message-like Models.
Disconnected Access Provided by Record set Provided by Data Adapter and Data set
XML Support Limited Robust Support
Connection Model Client application needs to be connected always to data-server while working on the data, unless using client-side cursors or a disconnected Record set Client disconnected as soon as the data is processed. DataSet is disconnected at all times.
Data Passing ADO objects communicate in binary mode. ADO.NET uses XML for passing the data.
Control of data access behaviors Includes implicit behaviors that may not always be required in an application and that may therefore limit performance. Provides well-defined, factored components with predictable behavior, performance, and semantics.
Design-time support Derives information about data implicitly at run time, based on metadata that is often expensive to obtain. Leverages known metadata at design time in order to provide better run-time performance and more consistent run-time behavior.

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