Table of contents


  • ADO.NET Data Provider for Data Sources that have ODBC driver support. It is recommended to use a managed provider other than ODBC to access a database. For example, it is better to use Npgsql to connect to PostgreSQL instead of using ODBC.
  • Exists in namespace System.Data.Odbc and assembly System.Data
  • Works on Windows, Linux, and Unix.
  • Works on Windows via the native Windows odbc32.dll
  • Microsoft did not add System.Data.Odbc to the System.Data.dll assembly until Dot NET 1.1 (Visual Studio.net 2003). For Dot NET 1.0 (Visual Studio.net 2002), ODBC was available as Microsoft.Data.Odbc.dll as a separate download from MSDN

Current Status

  • OdbcCommandBuilder has been implemented.
  • Can connect on Windows via native Windows odbc32.dll
  • Can connect on Linux via unixODBC's libodbc.so or iODBC's libiodbc.so
  • Various databases have been tested using their ODBC drivers: MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, IBM DB2, and Microsoft SQL Server. Please note, some drivers maybe good while others may not be. If a managed provider is available, it recommend to use that managed provider.
  • Can execute non-query commands via ExecuteNonQuery of a OdbcCommand
  • Can execute aggreates and retrieve a single row single column result via ExecuteScalar of a OdbcCommand
  • Can execute queries via ExecuteReader of a OdbcCommand and retrieve results using an OdbcDataReader
  • Can get a DataTable containing schema info via GetSchemaTable() in a OdbcDataReader
  • Can Fill a DataTable in a DataSet via an OdbcDataAdapter

Action plan

  • Need to create more test cases to find and fix bugs
  • Test more ODBC drivers
  • Test other setups

Missing Features

  • Odbc Output Parameters
  • Complex Parameter Types (Binary, Numeric, Guid)

Testing ODBC Providers

You can test a native odbc provider with ADO.NET Odbc classes. There is a possiblity of bugs in either Managed code or the native odbc providers. Before filing a bug, make sure your native provider works with other languages (C, perl, etc).

To test a odbc provider

  • Create a DSN entry at /etc/unixODBC/odbc.ini and /etc/unixODBC/odbcinst.ini.
  • Provide the connection string information in odbc.config file under mcs/class/System.Data/Test/ProviderTests. The app settings name should be "ConnString".
  • Go to the source director mcs/class/System.Data/Test/ProviderTest.
  • In a shell, enter "make run-test DATABASE=odbc".

The following topics are for running tests for individual providers as stand-alone tests.

Testing ODBC provider with IBM DB2 Universal Database

  • You need a working mono and mcs
  • For UNIX, you will need unixODBC or iODBC installed
  • Read these web pages about UNIX, ODBC, and IBM DB2
  • The ODBC provider is similar to the IBM DB2 provider.

Testing ODBC provider with MySQL

Prerequisites You can test Mono's ODBC provider System.Data.Odbc with the MySQL ODBC driver MyODBC

  • Take a look at OdbcTest.cs in mcs/class/System.Data/Test

Connection String Format

  • Here is a ConnectionString format if you have a DSN setup:
 "DSN=dataSetName;" +
 "UID=myuserid;" + 
  • Here is a ConnectionString format if you do not have a DSN (also called DSN-less connection). Note the use of DRIVER and SERVER parameters:
 "DRIVER={MySQL ODBC 3.51 Driver};" + 
 "SERVER=localhost;DATABASE=test;" + 
 "UID=myuserid;PASSWORD=mypassword;" + 
C# Example
 using System;
 using System.Data;
 using System.Data.Odbc;
 public class Test
    public static void Main(string[] args)
		// have an ODBC DSN setup named MYSQLDSN
		// that accesses a MySQL database via
		// MyODBC driver for ODBC with a
		// hostname of localhost and database test
       string connectionString =
          "DSN=MYSQLDSN;" +
          "UID=myuserid;" +
       IDbConnection dbcon;
       dbcon = new OdbcConnection(connectionString);
       IDbCommand dbcmd = dbcon.CreateCommand();
       // requires a table to be created named employee
       // with columns firstname and lastname
       // such as,
       //        CREATE TABLE employee (
       //           firstname varchar(32),
       //           lastname varchar(32));
       string sql =
           "SELECT firstname, lastname " +
           "FROM employee";
       dbcmd.CommandText = sql;
       IDataReader reader = dbcmd.ExecuteReader();
       while(reader.Read()) {
            string FirstName = (string) reader["firstname"];
            string LastName = (string) reader["lastname"];
            Console.WriteLine("Name: " +
                FirstName + " " + LastName);
       // clean up
       reader = null;
       dbcmd = null;
       dbcon = null;
  • Building C# Example:
  • Save the example to a file, such as, TestExample.cs
  • To build on Mono:
 mcs TestExample.cs -r:System.Data.dll
  • Running the Example:
 mono TestExample.exe