What does JDBC stand for?
To connect to a database like MySQL or HyperSQL Database (HSQLDB) in Java, you use JDBC. And if you use JPA or Hibernate, you’re using JDBC under the covers.
JDBC is at the heart of all relational database connectivity in Java.
But what does JDBC stand for? What’s the logical expansion, or full form of JDBC?
JDBC full form
To most Java developers, the expanded, full form of JDBC is Java Database Connectivity. Trademark lawyers, however, might have a different opinion.
Sun Microsystems registered a trademark on the term JDBC in 1999, and the trademark filing had no reference to the term Java Database Connectivity. Legally speaking, JDBC simply stands for JDBC. It’s a trademarked term that stands independently on its own.
The JDBC spec
If you download the latest JDBC specification document from Oracle, you’ll notice that a search for ‘Java Database Connectivity’ produces zero results.
An important part of protecting a trademark is to ensure there is no ambiguity in its use or meaning. Thus, the specification document is careful not to dilute the JDBC term, and the spec avoids mention of the full form of JDBC.
JDBC stands for Java Database Connectivity
On the other hand, you don’t have to dig far into the Oracle website to find the term JDBC and its full form ‘Java Database Connectivity’ used together. The image below shows an Oracle FAQ that describes JDBC as the Java Database Connectivity API.
Two ways to think of JDBC
So, is JDBC a trademark or is it an initialism? (JDBC is not an abbreviation, and it’s not an acronym because it isn’t spoken as a word)
Perhaps the correct answer is that it’s both.
From a legal standpoint, JDBC is a trademarked term that stands on its own. From a developer’s standpoint, its full form is ‘Java Database Connectivity.’
Regardless of how you think about it, JDBC underpins database connectivity in Java. It is a simple yet powerful abstraction layer over the Structured Query Language which has enabled JDBC frameworks, including the Jakarta Persistence API (JPA), iBatis, JDO, Hibernate, DataNucleus and TopLink, to flourish.