Administrating and Developing with Informix
Happy Monday to most everyone. For those of you who made it to the IIUG conference in April,
you may have hear about the new open source intiative. The goal is to either maintain support
or add support for popular Open Source options. One of the first pieces that is being worked on is
enhanced Hibernate support. The Dialect for Informix on Hibernate has been update significantly,
so if you use Hibernate I highly suggest you download this patch.
So go take a look.
So can I get a show of hands that have used IBM Data Studio Developer? Anyone?
The product comes in two flavors, Data studio, the free version, and Optim Studio Developer,
which is the paid version.
If you do Java Coding, or currently use Eclipse, it's a very nice tool. If you use Eclipse you can
add it as a plugin to eclipse, or you can re-install the API.
Pamela Siebert and Venkatesh Gopal have done a Developerworks article that covers how to
get up and running with Data Studio.
Thanks for the introduction Guy.
A lot of you know me, but for those that don't, I've worked for 20 years in the RDBMS industry,
either as an application developer or a DBA. I've worked on every major RDBMS that runs on
WIndows or some flavor of Unix (Linux and OSX included) at various points in my career,
finally coming to work for Informix in 1995, then moving on to DBA work before coming back to
Informix, now IBM, in 1999. Been working for "the man" ever since. My main areas of focus have
been performance tuning, GLS, and Security. I've had the opportunity and pleasure of working
with some of Informix's great VARS and partners while supporting some of Informix's best and
most demanding customers.
Now with performance tuning, GLS, and Security you would naturally think "Database Engine Nerd,"
and you wouldn't be wrong. Be that as it may, I haven't forgotten my roots as an ESQL/C programmer,
and while I have to grab a manual to write java, I am definitely an advocate for the Developer.
After all the way I look at things is if you don't advocate for the developer, who is going to write
applications for this RDBMS called informix which you think is great.
So the next question you may be asking is "What's with the title of the post Mark?"
Glad you asked. I'm an Apple nerd. I prefer a Mac to a PC, an iPhone to any other phone, and
Love the iPad. Certain members of IIUG have referred to me as "Steve Jobs Jr." . I was also one
of the first to test Informix on the Mac, and continue to test and play with Informix versions as they
come out on the Mac. I'm a Mac advocate as well as an Application Developer advocate.
I plan to discuss things going forward in the App Dev side of the fence, and the Mac side of the fence.
And I looks forward to hear from people as well. Informix application development tools and process
cannot move forward and get better without input. While a blog may not get that much input, then
again it may too.
I look forward to adding content in the future. And hope to hear from readers soon and often.
Critics might argue that this blog has over the years become a little sparse on actual weighty topics related to application development, and somewhat abundant when it comes to reprinting random announcements and links to other posts. It could be further argued, by the most exacting of readers, that my average post takes about 25 seconds to type, and I don't even bother checking it for typos..
Therefore I am very pleased to welcome Mark Jamison, an enterprise support engineer, trenchant Informix developer advocate, and posessor of many other talents.. as a technical author for this blog. You'll be seeing posts from Mark over the coming months.
Informix User Group stalwart Norma Jean has started her own blog where she writes about Informix, the development tool GeneXus and IIUG related matters: check out Thoughts about Informix, GeneXus, & life in general. The photo makes me want to visit Wisconsin..
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During a visit to London last November I met Clive Eisen at Hildebrand Consulting to learn about the solution they provided for the Digital Environment Home Energy Management System (DEHEMS) - a project to monitor home electricity consumption to a fine level of granularity, enabling people to make significant savings in energy costs. It was also an eye-opener to learn about some of the appliances that use the most electricity in a typical.
Hildebrand needed to create a solution capable of handling 50,000 new database entries per second with time-series data. Hildebrand selected the Informix TimeSeries DataBlade and Real-Time Loader as a technology to could handle this level of throughput with complex data.
You can learn more about the DEHEMS project and Hildebrand's Informix-based solution in this recently published following case study: Hildebrand solves a key problem in smart metering research With IBM Informix technologies for time-series data management.
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The next Informix Chat with the Lab is just over two weeks away. This time Mark Ashworth covers an increasingly in demand Informix feature: the Spatial and Geodetic IDS extensions. Here are the details..
The International Informix User Group (IIUG) conference ended on Wednesday, followed by a well attended Customer Advisory Council meeting on Thursday.
It was a good conference and I'm looking forward to being able to download the conference material from the website. As usual I didn't make it to many sessions except ones I had to moderate. This at least enabled me to catch up on the work Informix has been doing with VMware on performance best practices in a presentation by Sreeni Paidi from IBM and Robert Campbell, a VMware technologist. The fruits of this endeavor will soon be published as a white paper.
Two of the speakers at the conference have started blogs this week. I have been mentioning a plethora of blogs started by IBMers over the past few weeks, and it's good to see more Informix related blogs started by Informix experts in the wider community.
Database and Baseball stuff
The most entertaining presentation at IIUG had to be Mike Magie's Informix in the Everyday World - Moving from 10 to 11. Mike works for consultants SAIC at the USDA and took us through some stories of his Informix DBA experiences, and also contrasting Informix features and architecture with SQL Server. Mike had the audience laughing throughout the talk, once his wife got him a working laptop. Anyhow, getting to the point, he has also started a new blog: Database and Baseball stuff, It begins with a discussion of the new External Tables feature in IDS, showing the phenomenal unload performance it delivers, a later post will discuss loads.
There is also some stuff about baseball, I remember seeing something about pitch macros before I fell asleep.
Informix: Art Kagel's View
Art Kagel, Informix guru currently working for Oninit has announced a blog, in his own inimitable style..
The Informix technical writing team, obviously envious at are amazing riting skils, have decided to get in on the act and start their own blog.
The blog, inappropriately named, Appropriate Content can be found here. It begins with an introduction to the team, where I learned that many of our technical writers are in fact real.
I enjoy working with the writing team, and I'm always impressed how quickly they can convert the obscure mumblings of engineers and incomprehensible technical specifcations into lucid text. I'm looking forward to reading more.
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The IIUG conference is next week and our user-friendly Usability guy Howard Glaser has shared some details about the Usability Sandbox sessions that are taking place. The feedback from these sessions goes directly to Development and really helps us understand your needs and concerns. Many of the features we are working on for Panther release of Informix came out of usability sessions that were conducted over the last two years.
Here are the details, and don't forget the free T-Shirt!
Today the Informix 11.50.UC6 Developer Edition Ubuntu packages went live on the Ubuntu Partner Repository.
These packages are the easiest way to install Informix products on any platform.
As my screen shot shows I upgraded from UC5, and as one comes to expect with Ubuntu packages the upgrade was quick and painless.
To see the Informix packages in the Synaptic package manager, go to Software Sources->3rd Party Software and enable the Ubuntu Hardy Partner repository. More detailed instructions, including how to install these packages on later versions of Ubuntu (by default these are for the Hardy - 8.04 LTS release) are available in my earlier post.
If you are wondering when we are going to support later versions of Ubuntu which don't require libstdc++5 to be installed, the Panther release of IDS expected later in the year will dispense with the libstdc++5 requirement and support the next Ubuntu Long Term Support release 10.04 LTS.
Informix advanced support engineer Yunming Wang has recently published a developerWorks article on getting started with and using the Amazon Web Services Informix machine images: Informix application development and testing on the cloud - Using IBM Informix Dynamic Server and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
In a succinct 7-page tutorial style Yunming covers the steps from signing in for the first time, launching an Informix image, connecting using SSL, starting a VNC server, and getting to know the application development components provided with the Informix images.
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The latest issue of IIUG Insider includes an open letter to the Informix community and clients, from IBM's Information Management VP Robert Thomas. In it he outlines IBM's strategy for Informix, one of delighting the install base, building strategic differentiation, creating a proactive culture and building revenue streams.
You can find the letter here: http://www.iiug.org/Insider/insider_mar10.php#2.1
If you were to install the Cognos Express Business Intelligence and planning application you probably won't notice Informix Dynamic Server being installed as its default embedded content store at the same time. Under the covers Cognos Express uses the Informix Deployment Utility (DU) to silently and rapidly deploy a pre-configured IDS instance.
In IDS 11.50.xC6 this technology is available as part of the product for all platforms. The basic concept behind DU is that you set up your Informix instance on one machine. Configure it, create and populate databases if required, and then copy your Informix directory and dbspaces and bundle it with your application. Your application can then silently deploy the pre-configured instance to any machines it installs on by calling DU (the executable is called ifxdeploy). At deployment time DU will unzip the instance, create the informix user, set file permissions, set any instance specific settings for the machine such as the instance name, listening port etc., and optionally relocate data chunks, so if your application deploys pre-configured dbspaces in a new directory the root space will be updated to reflect the new location of chunks.
To help get started with the Deployment Utility, Informix enablement consultant Sreeni Paida has published a new developerWorks article:
Automate small footprint, embedded Informix Dynamic Server deployments - End-to-end embeddability for IDS deployments on Linux, UNIX, and Windows using the IDS Deployment Utility and Embeddability Toolkit.
This article covers end to end Informix deployment scenarios for UNIX and Windows:
1. Installing Informix on a "template" machine.
2. Reducing the instance to a minimal footprint.
3. Packaging the instance and data.
4. Deploying the instance and data on target machines.
There is also active research going on to make embedded IDS deployment easier, that is taking as many of the manual steps out of this process as possible, to reduce both application developer time, and the amount of application installer code required to deploy IDS as an embedded database server.
If you embed IDS in your application or are thinking of doing so, it is worth taking a look at this technology to see how it can make the installation component of integrating with Informix easier.