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<Starting to use ODBC with PHP ⁄ >

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PHP is one of the most commonly used programming languages for dynamic website development. It is reasonably powerful and efficient. It also happens to be quite simple and can be a great language for beginners because of its flexibility.

PHP is good as a language on its own (especially when coupled with XHTML). However, the majority of applications need a convenient data-storage method, typically fulfilled by a database, such as MySQL or PostgreSQL. For PHP to connect to data-storage systems, a connector is required that allows functions like mysql_query() and pg_query(). This works under most circumstances, but occasionally, business requirements demand that data be stored in something like a spreadsheet that can be more easily manipulated by individuals. In these situations, a different type of connector is required to talk to the data.

What if you want to send SQL to no particular database system and want your SQL to work with any data store you configure? This is the very reason why Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) was created and, with the right connectors installed, you can even access Microsoft® Excel®, CSV, and other data file types. ODBC is a connector that makes PHP development "database connector-agnostic." It uses functions like odbc_query() against databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server®, IBM® DB2®, Sybase, OpenLink Virtuoso, FileMaker, and Microsoft Office® Access®. It can also be used against CSVs and Excel spreadsheets, depending on the correct ODBC driver setup.

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