ASP.NET is a server-side Web application framework designed for Web development to produce dynamic Web pages. It was developed by Microsoft to allow programmers to build dynamic web sites, web applications and web services. It was first released in January 2002 with version 1.0 of the .NET Framework, and is the successor to Microsoft’s Active Server Pages (ASP) technology. ASP.NET is built on the Common Language Runtime (CLR), allowing programmers to write ASP.NET code using any supported .NET language. The ASP.NET SOAP extension framework allows ASP.NET components to process SOAP messages.

Database: A database is essentially a place to store data. However the key to understanding the term “database” is that a database is an electronic warehouse for storing data. Databases can contain any type of data (depending on the manufacturer/vendor). For example the Wikibooks website is maintained within a database.

There are many types of database. Hierarchy database, Network database, Relational database, Object database, XML database. Even a file system or Excel can be considered as a database.

The most common structure for storing the data is as a table. Each row in the table is a record and each column is a field. The table may relate to other tables by sharing a common field. This is known as a relational database.

Relational database is the dominant database in the database market today. There are proprietary ones like Oracle, IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, ANTs, and open source ones like PostgreSQL, MySQL, Derby, Berkeley DB (Sleepcat) etc.

There are typically limitations on length and width of database tables. SQL Server 2005 has an 8K row width limit for example, and many lengths are limited by 32-bit addressing, to at most approximately 4E9 records. This increases to approximately 1.8E19 records with 64-bit addressing.

The Microsoft .NET framework comes with several namespaces to manage data in databases. .NET also comes with SQL Server and Oracle native providers. A native provider will only work with one database product, and uses the native database more efficiently. There are several generic database classes, however if you are using a database that has a native provider, use it.

Performing database operations is fairly easy in ASP.NET. Below is a quick sample of how to connect to a database.

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