The interface is part of what the Open Group refers to as the Common Application Environment, which is intended to be a wide standard for programming open applications, i.e. applications from different programming teams and different vendors that can interoperate in an efficient manner. SQL/CLI provides an international standard implementation-independent CLI to access SQL databases. Client-server tools can easily access databases through dynamic link libraries. It supports and encourages a rich set of client-server tools.
The most widespread use of the CLI standard is as the basis of the ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) specification, which is widely used to allow applications to transparently access database systems from different vendors. The current version of the API, ODBC 3.52, incorporates features from both the ISO and X/Open standards (see below).
ISO SQL/CLI is an addendum to 1992 SQL standard (SQL-92). It was completed as ISO standard ISO/IEC 9075-3:1995 Information technology -- Database languages -- SQL -- Part 3: Call-Level Interface (SQL/CLI). The current SQL/CLI effort is adding support for SQL3.