Before looking at how to invoke stored programs using ADO.NET, let’s review how we perform operations in ADO.NET involving simple SQL statements. These operations form the foundation of stored program interactions. If you are already familiar with using ADO.NET with MySQL, you might want to skip forward to "Using Stored Programs in ADO.NET,” later in this chapter.
To connect to MySQL from ADO.NET, we first need to download and install the Connector/Net provider from MySQL. We can download the Connector/Net driver from the MySQL web site at http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/connector/net/.
Once we have installed the Connector/Net driver, we are ready to write .NET programs to connect to MySQL. However, we must add a reference to the Connector/Net driver in our .NET application.
To do this in Visual Studio, select Project → Add Reference from the main menu, then select the Browse tab. We find the MySQL.Data.dll file on our system, usually located in a directory such as C:\Program Files\MySQL\MySQL Connector Net <x.x.x>\bin\.NET <y.y>; where "x.x.x" corresponds to the version of the Connector/Net driver (currently 1.0.7) and "y.y" corresponds to the version of .NET that we are using (usually 1.1 or 2.0). Figure 17-1 shows how we can configure Visual C# Visual Studio Express Edition to use the Connector/Net driver.