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Part VII: Appendixes > Data Sources

C.4. Data Sources

A data source is, in general, a source of data. However, this term is one of the most abused and inconsistently misused terms in database-related programming (at least in Microsoft's arsenal). For instance, when the data are contained in a text file, then the term "data source" refers simply to the physical data in the file. Similarly, when the data are contained in an Access database file (extension MDB) that is being accessed by a file-based driver, the term data source refers to the MDB file. On the other hand, when the data are contained in an Access database file that is being accessed by a DBMS-based driver, then the data source is considered to be the combination of the Access DBMS and the MDB file. On the other hand, in the context of the new VB6 DataBinding object model, the term data source refers to a source for the data binding, which is often a VB6 class module that has its DataSourceBehavior property set to vbDataSource. In this case, the data source itself contains no data whatsoever!

Thus, just what constitutes a data source depends upon the circumstances. In fact, since a data source is always associated with a particular driver under ODBC, we will usually think of the pair together. This view is supported by the fact that when configuring a data source using the ODBC Administrator, we are first required to select a driver.


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