The modern digital age is very, very dependent on the performance and integrity of good software. Robust software enables us to put our feet back and let all kinds of elaborate digital applications do most of our tasks. For example, without good software, we would still be standing in long lines instead of overseeing critical financial transactions from the comfort of our homes.
However, creating such dependable and robust software is no easy task. It demands detailed requirement analysis, proper technical planning, and ensuring optimized implementations. Additionally, such software is built on smaller components and has layers of complexity. Therefore such software and its components have to stand the test of time and be safely upgradeable if users are to safely trust them.
One of the most important fundamental parts of desktop software applications that often become obsolete and affect the whole application is the data access component. It leads to various user problems and can be tricky to solve. Its high chances of occurrence make application builders like Delphi give you easy options to modernize your components.
This article takes a closer look at data access components, their importance for an application, and why you should seriously consider modernizing them urgently.
What are data access components and how do they work?
Most applications are significantly data-intensive and need to either consistently store data or fetch and access stored data. Additionally, applications are also modifying the data stored as well, depending on the use cases. An application looks up to its data access components and expects it to provide the appropriate methods for such purposes.
Microsoft Data Access Components are built on an architecture composed of different layers. Each layer is tasked with handling inputs and relaying relevant responses to the appropriate parts of the data access components. The different layers are described below:
- Programming Interface Layer: This layer comprises methods that help developers control the data access components and their functionalities. The methods directly connect to the next layer and have their implementations encapsulated.
- Database Access Layer: This layer comprises drivers and methods that control the retrieval to and from the primary database. It also has various data source connectors involved for consistent data flow.
- Database Layer: This is the final database layer where the whole of data is stored. While there may be different databases depending on the vendor, they all follow the Open Database Connectivity protocols.
All of the layers are available to the developer as the MDAC API and they can use the API methods directly in their applications.
The most popular form of data access component is Microsoft’s Data Access Components (MDAC). MDAC was released back in 1996, and since then, has undergone many upgrades that improved security and performance flaws. The most recent Microsoft data access components are available for its SQL Server product. Oracle also offers data access components for applications like Delphi to connect to Oracle-based data storage applications.
How can data access components be useful?
As the name suggests, data access components have the critical responsibility of connecting your application to its data sources. While some applications only need to connect to one source at the back-end, some simultaneously take in data from multiple sources. Data access components are expected to quickly handle large volumes of data and connect to various sources with varying data storage models.
The following are some of the primary benefits of using quality data access components in your application:
- Easy Interface To Access Data Source: With data access components, you can easily interact with your data source(s) without worrying about their nature. The data source could be a relational database or a JSON document. However, you will still get the same methods to access both. This way, you can focus on the use of the data and not on its source.
- Helps Achieve Higher Development Productivity: Quality data access components help significantly with the application’s development. You can design and use elaborate SQL query commands for efficient data retrieval and exploring a data source within your application.
- Gives A Logical Data Type Mapping: A data access component enables you to map the data onto your application through objects. Flexible data type mapping helps with avoiding data type issues and any sacrifices in performance.
- Monitoring Your Data Source: You can monitor your data source and its state from within your application through data access components. Events like data updates and rollbacks help your application keep a close eye on the data source.
Data access components are often the heart of most applications and carry a lot of duty on them. Application development software like Delphi gives you a wide variety of data access components to choose from and even guides to modernize existing ones safely.
What are the benefits of modernizing your data access components?
Just like any piece of software, data access components are also guilty of going obsolete over time. Much of the Microsoft Data Access Component has been either deprecated or gone obsolete entirely. Microsoft has replaced its data access components with newer and better technology to handle innovative data storage technologies like NoSQL.
By modernizing your data access components, you are giving your applications a longer lease on life. Discussed below are only some of the advantages you will benefit from by updating your data access components appropriately.
Smarter data access Components have new and improved capabilities
The newer data access components are optimized and implemented with the newest code technologies. These components can achieve much better performance and make data access and monitoring issues a thing of the past. Many of these data access components directly interact with databases even without TCP/IP or a DB client; they fulfill your data needs much more swiftly.
Updated data access components prepare the application for the future
Gone are the days when data mainly was either in spreadsheets, relational databases, or object-oriented databases. Now, much of the data is hosted in the cloud for better data access and to avoid physical storage setbacks. Newer data access components support seamless integration with cloud data storage services and enable you to take your applications to a higher performance level.
Update your application for mobile platforms
Many of the applications developed currently are intended to be used on all sorts of platforms, desktop or mobile. With newer data access components, you can enable your native application to go mobile as well. Your mobile codebase can also interact with its data sources as seamlessly as your native application and deliver a blazing mobile application.
Do newer data access components bring better security features?
Security has been one of the main concerns of data access components since their inception. The increase in cybersecurity concerns has pushed the software development industry to ensure security in everything it develops, even the newest data access components. These components ensure the data flow is close-ended and security protocols are adequately observed.
If your applications still utilize data access components of the past, they are at the risk of failing to deliver even the most basic outcomes. However, software development applications like Delphi enable you to quickly modernize your data access components without breaking your application’s codebase. Furthermore, you can ensure more robust data integration through newer connectivity options and further optimize your application.
Are you ready to modernize your data access components? Head over to learn how Delphi can help you with the process and how you can utilize LearnDelphi for the most updated Delphi tutorials.