Difference Between JDBC and ODBC

JDBC vs ODBC | We will discuss, What are the differences between JDBC and ODBC drivers? Why Java applications are looking for exclusive JDBC driver software when all other software technologies/languages are using ODBC driver software for Database interaction?

The JDBC (Java Database Connectivity) and ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) both are SQL-based Application Programming Interface (API), which is used to enable Java applications to use SQL queries for database access.

What is JDBC?

The JDBC driver is a bridge between Java application and database software. It converts Java calls to database software calls and vice-versa. Examples of JDBC drivers are:- JDBC driver software for Oracle database, JDBC driver software for MySQL database, JDBC driver software for PostgreSQL database, and e.t.c.

As said by Oracle, the Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) API is the industry standard for database-independent connectivity between the Java programming language and a wide range of databases—SQL databases and other tabular data sources, such as spreadsheets or flat files. The JDBC API provides a call-level API for SQL-based database access.

What is ODBC?

ODBC driver software acts as the bridge between applications developed in any programming language and database software. Examples of ODBC drivers are:- ODBC driver software for Oracle database, ODBC driver software for MySQL database and etc.

Before Java came into the market there were only ODBC drivers, which was developed by Microsoft in 1992. Therefore, the ODBC driver is used by Windows software applications to access the database via SQL. The ODBC driver is platform-dependent and only works on the Windows platform, but It can be used with all programming languages like C, C++, Java e.t.c. Mostly ODBC drivers are developed in native languages like C, C++.

When Java came into the market (1996) then for database connectivity, it also starts using the ODBC driver. But there were some problems with the ODBC driver. Due to those limitations, the Sun Microsystem (now Oracle Corporation) decided to develop their own driver for database connectivity.

The need for JDBC driver for Java

Why Java applications are looking for exclusive JDBC driver software when all other software technologies/languages are using ODBC driver software for Database interaction?

Using ODBC driver software in Java application having the following limitations,

  • ODBC driver software is created using native language like C, C++ which has the full support of pointers, but Java doesn’t support pointers directly.
  • Therefore, converting the pointer notation code of ODBC driver software to non-pointer code is very complex and may degrade the performance of the application.
  • ODBC driver software is platform-dependent because they are there in the native language (only available for Windows OS), so it might affect the platform-independent behavior of Java language.

Since Java is a platform-independent programming language and ODBC driver is platform-dependent, so the combination of Java and ODBC driver will become platform-dependent nature. After all, It might become against the platform-independent feature of the Java programming language.


JDBC understands for Java Database Connectivity.ODBC understands for Open Database Connectivity.
It is compatible with only the Java language.It is compatible with all programming languages.
JDBC was introduced by Sun Microsystems in 1997 as part of JDK1.1ODBC was introduced by Microsoft in 1992.
JDBC is platform-independent, and it can be used for all operating systems.ODBC is platform-dependent and only available for Windows operating system.
It is developed in Java.It is developed in native languages like C, C++
JDBC is object-oriented.ODBC is procedural.
For Java application, it is always recommended to use a JDBC driver.It is not recommended for Java application development.

JDBC vs ODBC driver Suppliers

We can get JDBC driver software from different vendors,

  • SUN Microsystems:- In the initial versions of Java, Sun Microsystems provided JDBC driver software along with JDK, later they stopped.
  • Database Vendors:- The company that develops database software is called database vendors. The database software and the JDBC driver software both are developed by the same company so, their JDBC driver software is best.
  • Third-party Vendors:- Generally, when Sun Microsystems or database vendors don’t give JDBC driver software for a certain database then third-party vendors create JDBC driver software and sell them into the market.

Since all vendor companies have created JDBC driver software based on the common rules and guidelines of JDBC technology or JDBC API. So, the way we work with all JDBC driver software is going to be much similar. In other words, the knowledge we gained to work with one JDBC driver software can be used almost as it works with other JDBC driver software.

Similar to the JDBC driver software, ODBC driver software is also given by different vendors like,

  • Microsoft Corporation
  • ODBC group (their ODBC driver software are best)
  • Database vendors
  • Third-party vendors

More on JDBC driver

Sun Microsystems released JDBC as part of JDK1.1 on February 19, 1997. The JDBC classes are contained in the Java package:- java.sql and javax.sql. Moreover, Initially, only Sun Microsystem was given JDBC driver software. As a result up to JDK1.7, we got one built-in driver JDK software and it’s driver class name was sun.jdbc.odbc.jdbcOdbcDriver. But later Database vendors and third-party vendors also start giving the JDBC driver software.

Since JDK’s built-in driver JDK software is outdated and not coming from JDK1.8. As a result, the industry is referring to use JDBC driver software supplied from database vendors. For example, we prefer Oracle Corporation supplied JDBC driver Software for Oracle database that comes along with Oracle database software installation in the form of the Jar file. Moreover, in the case of the Oracle database, the driver’s class name is oracle.jdbc.OracleDriver

Important Notes

  • We are not responsible to develop JDBC/ODBC driver software. The JDBC/ODBC driver software is already given by different vendors, we always use them and develop our applications.
  • Every JDBC driver is specific to only one database software, for different databases we need a different JDBC driver.

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