ASP.NET supports a data-binding architecture that enables Web server controls to bind to data in a consistent fashion. Web server controls that bind to data are referred to as data-bound controls, and the classes that facilitate that binding are called data source controls. Data source controls can represent any data source: a relational database, a file, a stream, a business object, and so on. Data source controls present data in a consistent way to data-bound controls, regardless of the source or format of the underlying data.
You use the data source controls that are provided with ASP.NET, including SqlDataSource, AccessDataSource, and XmlDataSource, to perform most Web development tasks. You use the base DataSourceControl and DataSourceView classes when you want to implement your own custom data source control.
You can think of a data source control as the combination of the IDataSource object and its associated lists of data, called data source views. Each list of data is represented by a DataSourceView object. The DataSourceView class is the base class for all data source views, or lists of data, associated with data source controls. Data source views define the capabilities of a data source control. Because the underlying data storage contains one or more lists of data, a data source control is always associated with one or more named data source views. The data source control uses the GetViewNames method to enumerate the data source views currently associated with the data source control and the GetView method to retrieve a specific data source view instance by name.
All DataSourceView objects support data retrieval from the underlying data source using the ExecuteSelect method. All views optionally support a basic set of operations, including operations such as ExecuteInsert, ExecuteUpdate, and ExecuteDelete. A data-bound control can discover the capabilities of a data source control by retrieving an associated data source view using the GetView and GetViewNames methods, and by querying the view at design time or run time.