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Difference between DataSet and DataReader.

Feb 20 2021 11:39 AM
DataReader, DataSet, DataAdapter and DataTable are four major components of ADO.NET. In this blog, I will explain the difference between a DataReader, DataSet, DataAdapter and DataTable with code examples in C#.DataReader DataReader is used to read the data from database and it is a read and forward only connection oriented architecture during fetch the data from database. DataReader will fetch the data very fast when compared with dataset. Generally we will use ExecuteReader object to bind data to datareader.  To bind DataReader data to GridView we need to write the code like as shown below: 
  1. Public void BindempGridview()  
  2. {  
  3. using(SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection("Data Source=yourDatasource;Integrated Security=true;Initial Catalog=yourLocalDBName"))  
  4. {  
  5. con.Open();  
  6. SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("Select EmpUserName, EmpFirst EmpName,EmpLastName,EmpLocation FROM Emoloyee", conn);SqlDataReader sdr = cmd.ExecuteReader();
  7. gvEmp.DataSource = sdr;
  8. gvEmp.DataBind();conn.Close();  
  9. }  
  10. }    
  • Holds the connection open until you are finished (don't forget to close it!).
  • Can typically only be iterated over once
  • Is not as useful for updating back to the database
DataSet is a disconnected orient architecture that means there is no need of active connections during work with datasets and it is a collection of DataTables and relations between tables. It is used to hold multiple tables with data. You can select data form tables, create views based on table and ask child rows over relations. Also DataSet provides you with rich features like saving data as XML and loading XML data.
  1. Public void BindGridviewemp() {    
  2.     SqlConnection conn = new SqlConnection("Data Source=yourdatasourcename;Integrated Security=true;Initial Catalog=Test");    
  3.     conn.Open();    
  4.     SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("Select EmpUserName, EmpFirst  EmpName, EmpLastName, EmpLocation FROM Employee", conn);    
  5.     SqlDataAdapter sda = new SqlDataAdapter(cmd);    
  6.     DataSet ds = new DataSet();    
  7.     da.Fill(ds);    
  8.     gvUserInfo.DataSource = ds;    
  9.     gvUserInfo.DataBind();    
  10. }     


DataAdapter will acts as a Bridge between DataSet and database. This dataadapter object is used to read the data from database and bind that data to dataset. Dataadapter is a disconnected oriented architecture. Check below sample code to see how to use DataAdapter in code:
  1. Public void BindGEmpview() {    
  2.     SqlConnection con = new SqlConnection("Data Source=YourDatasource;Integrated Security=true;Initial Catalog=yourDatabasename");    
  3.     conn.Open();    
  4.     SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("Select EmpUserName, EmpFirst EmpName,EmpLastName,EmpLocation FROM Employee", conn);    
  5.     SqlDataAdapter sda = new SqlDataAdapter(cmd);    
  6.     DataSet ds = new DataSet();    
  7.     da.Fill(ds);    
  8.     GridEmp.DataSource = ds;    
  9.     GridEmp.DataBind();    
  10. }     
  • Lets you close the connection as soon it's done loading data, and may even close it for you automatically
  • All of the results are available in memory
  • You can iterate over it as many times as you need, or even look up a specific record by index
  • Has some built-in faculties for updating back to the database.


DataTable represents a single table in the database. It has rows and columns. There is no much difference between dataset and datatable, dataset is simply the collection of datatables.

  1. Public void BindEmpGridV() {  
  2. SqlConnection con = new SqlConnection("Data Source=yourdatabaseName;Integrated Security=true;Initial Catalog=yourdatabase");  
  3. conn.Open();  
  4. SqlCommand cmd = new SqlCommand("Select EmpUserName, EmpFirst EmpName,EmpLastName,EmpLocation FROM Employee", conn);  
  5. SqlDataAdapter sda = new SqlDataAdapter(cmd);  
  6. DataTable dt = new DataTable();  
  7. da.Fill(dt);  
  8. EmpGridV.DataSource = dt;  
  9. EmpGridV.DataBind();  
  10. }   

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