A lot of acronyms are tossed around that relate to ADO. Knowing what all the acronyms mean and figuring out how they fit together can be confusing. The following general definitions will give you an understanding of several basic terms.

ADO
Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) is a set of components based on COM. The objects provide an interface between program and scripting languages and OLE DB. ADO provides access to various data sources in a uniform way. ADO tends to be used most commonly in non-.NET languages such as VBScript.

ADO MD
Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects, Multi-Dimensional (ADO MD) is an extension to ADO that provides additional objects related to multidimensional data sources such as SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) cubes. ADO MD is often used by languages such as Visual Basic (VB), Visual C++, and Visual J++ to browse schemas and retrieve data.

ADO.NET
Like ADO, Microsoft ADO.NET provides a mechanism to programming and scripting languages for accessing various types of data sources. However, ADO.NET is based on the .NET Framework, not on COM objects like ADO. As a result, you can use ADO.NET only in a .NET language, such as Visual Basic .NET or PowerShell script. You can’t use ADO.NET from within VBScript. In addition, the ADO.NET object model is different from the ADO model.

ADOR
Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects Recordset (ADOR) is a subset of ADO that’s installed automatically when you install Internet Explorer (IE). ADOR components are associated primarily with client-side scripting, which usually requires only the Recordset object, not the Connection and Command objects.

ADOX
Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects Extensions for Data Definition Language and Security (ADOX) is an extension to ADO that provides additional objects related to database schema creation and modification as well as to security. By using ADOX, you can access database structure objects such as stored procedures and tables and database security objects such as users and groups.

COM
Microsoft Component Object Model (COM) is a set of objects that provides an interface between software components, allowing those components to communicate. Although COM is used primarily in Windows environments, COM objects are platform independent and provide a distributed, object-oriented system for creating binary software components that can interact. A wide range of Microsoft Server products and Windows functionalities use COM. Although Microsoft .NET Framework is replacing COM to some extent, COM continues to be supported in Windows environments.