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LINQ (Language Integrated Query)

LINQ (Language Integrated Query) is a Microsoft programming model and methodology that essentially adds formal query capabilities into Microsoft .NET-based programming languages. LINQ offers a compact, expressive, and intelligible syntax for manipulating data. The real value of LINQ comes from its ability to apply the same query to an SQL database, a DataSet, an array of objects in memory and to many other types of data as well. LINQ requires the presence of specific language extensions.

LINQ uses an SQL-like syntax to make query expressions well beyond the capabilities of embedded SQL as implemented in programming languages. That's because embedded SQL uses a simplified, streamlined syntax to add SQL statements to other programming languages, where there's no attempt to integrate such statements into the native syntax and typing mechanisms. Thus, you can't invoke native language structures such as functions in embedded SQL statements, as you can using LINQ, because it is implemented to use native syntax, structures, and typing mechanisms. Furthermore, LINQ may be used to access all kinds of data, whereas embedded SQL is limited to addressing only databases that can handle SQL queries.

This was last updated in February 2008

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