Be Brief Series: Data and Architecture

The client/server model for application processing

The client server model in application processing is complex as it involves many different components interacting with each other. First, the client computer, requests information through the TCP/IP layer of a network which delivers the message to the web server. The web server then distributes this message to the API or CGI, which then routes the message through the appropriate middleware application layer to the RDBMS and database.

The return packet is then redistributed back to the client computer and is returned back through the paths the request took to reach the server. Once the message is passed though the middleware, API/CGI, server, network, and then to the user, the client can then view the response to the original message, which can either be connectivity, text, data, status, or other types of information depending on the application requesting information on the client computer.

ODBC, DAO, and RDO relationships

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is Microsoft’s answer to SQL Access Group CLI for database access. This application allows any Windows application to access relational database data sources using SQL by way of an API. ODBC’s popularity has made it the first widely accepted database middleware standard. ODBC could not keep up with the growth of applications in the industry and needed to develop two other APIs.

Data Access Objects (DAO) is an API used with Access, FoxPro and dBase databases from VisualBasic programs and other databases. The Remote Data Objects (RDO) is a high-level object-oriented API used to access remote database servers, and utilizes DAO and ODBC to directly access databases. These two APIs use ODBC data services.

The OLE-DB model based on its two types of objects

The OLE-DB model consists of two different types of Microsoft COM object components for database connectivity. The OLE-DB model uses object-oriented functionality to access the Consumer and Provider objects. The Consumer objects request and use data. The Provider objects enable data exchanges (email, SQL, Oracle) between the database and a consumer. Generally, there are two different types of Provider objects: data providers and service providers.

Data Providers provide data to other processes and Service providers produce extended services to Consumers. Data providers open access to underlying functionality to data sources and lie atop the database. In between the Data providers and Consumers lie Service Providers. This layer requests data from the data source through the Data provider, transforms the data, then sends the formatted data back to the Consumer. These workflows consist of the main paths in the OLE-DB model.

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