Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is a library of standardized data access functions. It’s intended to give programmers a way to access and manipulate data in a variety of data sources.
ODBC operates in a way that is similar to Informix ESQL/C and Oracle Pro*COBOL®. The main difference is that ODBC offers the advantage of being able to access almost any data source.
With traditional call-level interfaces (CLI), you are required to learn the Application Programming Interface (API) for each data source. If you want to port an application from one data source to another, you must write a complete new access module.
ODBC was designed expressly to access almost any data source. It offers a standard API that can be used to manipulate data in a Microsoft Access database on your PC, or connect from your PC to an Oracle database on a UNIX host. It can even access files that are not databases, such as Btrieve data files and Excel spreadsheets.