By Paul McWilliams.
The Db2 for z/OS documentation team recently changed how we deliver PDF manuals for Db2. These changes are mostly transparent to you. However, I've recently fielded several questions related to the recent process changes and more general concerns about the future of PDF manuals for Db2, and I want to respond to those questions.
But first: advantages of IBM Knowledge Center
As I hope you're aware, IBM Knowledge Center is and continues to be the main way that we deliver Db2 for z/OS documentation. I also hope you're aware that IBM Knowledge Center contains the exact same content as the PDF manuals, except for high-level organization differences and some content that is not delivered in PDF at all.
Web-based documentation offers significant advantages over PDF format, such as:
- You always find the latest content in Knowledge Center, especially compared to a PDF sitting on your hard drive.
- More powerful and improved search capability, especially compared to the strict text-based search in PDF.
- Searches results from the across all Db2 content, or all content for a single Db2 release. You don't always know which PDF manual contains the answer to your question.
- Related links go directly to relevant content, even when the target content resides in a different PDF manual. (This is why many links inside the PDFs already point to Knowledge Center whenever the target isn't in the same PDF manual.)
Nevertheless, we recognize that PDF remains important to you. We know that many of you prefer reading Db2 content in the more linear presentation offered by PDF manuals, prefer the ability to restrict your search to a particular manual, and sometimes need to bring Db2 documentation to places where you don't have internet access. So we have no plans to discontinue PDF manuals, and we've made the following process changes to our approach to delivering PDF manuals:
More frequent updates
We recently created a new process that enables us to refresh the content of PDF manuals on the web more frequently, as often as weekly, for any significant changes.
With the more frequent updates, you should download the latest PDF manual every time that you use it. You can still keep your own downloaded files for offline use, but they're likely to quickly become outdated. If you can't always download for each use, establish your own routine for downloading, knowing that you're possibly relying on outdated information.
You can still find links to the PDF manuals from Db2 for z/OS Product Documentation. However, we removed the "last updated" dates from those pages because they'd constantly change now that we're updating PDFs much more frequently. You can now find the date that each PDF manual was created at the top of the edition notice, on page 4 inside the PDF file.
Another change is the URLs and file names of PDF manuals. They are now based on the Db2 release and our short nicknames for each manual and they'll no longer change for each refresh. For example, you can bookmark the What's New? PDF manual for Db2 12 in your browser:
Then you can always access the latest content from that bookmark.
PDFs in Knowledge Center
The PDF manuals are now stored in IBM Knowledge Center, not in the IBM Publications Center. You might even find PDF manuals in Knowledge Center search results. All of the more frequent PDF updates will be published in Knowledge Center. PDF manuals in IBM Publications Center will be updated only infrequently, at certain milestone refreshes.
Finding the most current Db2 for z/OS documentation
Db2 for z/OS Product Documentation
IBM Knowledge Center - Db2 for z/OS
IBM Publications Center
Paul McWilliams is a technical writer for Db2 for z/OS.