Appropriate Content: Informix Documentation Team
We are very excited about our new blog, as it gives us a way to let you know what's on our minds, share info that might find useful, and give you a chance to post your own comments and thoughts on the Informix documentation. Let us know where you'd like to see us go next with the product information, or just visit regularly and learn more about the things that keep the information developers awake at night!
We work hard on delivering what we think you, our customers, need in product information (which includes but is not limited to the product documentation that you see in our information centers and PDFs). We know that there's no shortage of things we can be working on, whether it's new documentation about the latest features, improvements to existing documentation, or new info resources like our onstat or onconfig Quick Reference Cards. So anytime we can get some direction and feedback from you, it makes a big difference in how we decide on what we do, and how we do it.
Here's the Informix Documentation Team:
I've been writing Informix documentation since 1996 (aka "the good old days"). I work on DataBlade module, Enterprise Replication, and embeddability documentation. I used to be the team lead of the Informix doc team and work on release notes, but (thank goodness) I'm only the technical lead now. Being the technical lead means, among other things, that I'm supposed to know the IDS doc set inside and out. I can honestly say I know the outside really well. I'm also the moderator for the 11.50 information center, so if you leave a comment, you might hear from me! My hobbies include driving my kids around and making up words I'm not allowed to use in Informix doc.
Hai-Nhu Tran (pronounced like the movie High Noon, but without the N at the end)
I'm the newly minted manager of the Informix Information Development team. I started at IBM in 2000, joined the Informix ID team as the Team Lead in 2007, and earlier this year I had the good fortune of becoming the manager of this dedicated group. I studied English literature in college and never would have guessed that I'd end up in software documentation! I'm currently working on instilling a life-long love of books in my 3 year old daughter, and so far I've been 100% successful. When I'm not reading Dr. Suess, I'm working through my own book list (which happens to occasionally include children's books, oddly enough), sampling the seemingly endless supply of restaurants and farmers' markets in San Francisco, and dreaming of being able to sleep in again at some point in my life.
Bill Belisle (pronounced: bell-eye-L)
People have been mis-pronouncing my name at IBM since June of 2006. I concentrate on writing about Informix high-availability (sometimes known as MACH-11) features. I’m also responsible for the Informix Administrator’s Guide, the Backup and Restore Guide, virtual appliance, and cloud documentation. I have a degree in journalism from Boston University and have written several college-level textbooks on Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Office and Excel. My hobbies include (in no particular order): astronomy, machining and metalworking, woodworking, CNC, photography, reading, seismology, and high-vacuum thin-film deposition.
I’ve also been writing Informix documentation since 1996, initially specializing in online help. Currently, I’m concentrating on updates to the Migration and Performance Guides and on new feature documentation (such as compression). In the past, I’ve worked on the Common Criteria certification guide, the Administrator guides, and MTK documentation.
Karin Moore (pronounced car-in)
I've been on the Informix documentation team since 1996, and am currently the infrastructure lead. What that means is that I create, update, and deliver the information centers, documentation CDs, and techdocs. I also manage source file control, automated builds of the documentation sets, and translation. It's a nice variety of work that lets me dabble in all the Informix products. My hobbies include birdwatching, hiking, gardening, and caring for injured animals at a local wildlife rehabilitation center.
Johanna Turaj (pronounced tour-eye)
I joined the documentation team in February of this year. Though I’ve been doing Information Development since 19<mumble>, I’m the new kid on the Informix block. In my role as Team Lead for IDS, 4GL, and some other acronyms, I get to learn about all the products and develop plans to help the team deliver helpful information you need when you need it. I enjoy travel, knitting, and keeping my cats off the keyboard.
I'm the technical editor for the Informix writing team. I work with the writers to produce the best possible documentation for our customers. I'm not an expert in the technology we write about (that's my team's job), but I'm familiar with the technology and terminology, and I review the documentation to ensure that it tells customers what they need to know as accurately, concisely, and clearly as possible in a consistent manner. Rest assured, I won't be editing this blog (phew!) so the writers will get to express themselves in their own "voice". Oh, and my name is pronounced as it's spelled (http://www.medjugorje.org/croatianlanguage.htm).
Information development is my "second" career. I launched my career in book publishing production and project management--a good foundation for handling a lot of the behind-the-scenes work in creating technical documentation. During the Sturm-und-Drang of the dot-com era, I gained experience documenting database migration and a few end-user applications. Along the way, I earned a B.A. degree at Oberlin College and a Technical Writing Certificate at San Francisco State University. I speak German as a second language, and have a beginner/intermediate knowledge of Spanish.
Hi! My path to technical writing was the "road less travelled". I graduated with a degree in Economics and went to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington DC. Through various twists and turns there I moved into courseware development and teaching computer applications, which eventually lead me to IBM about 10 years ago where I have worked on Informix and DB2. With the Informix team I work on a wide range of documentation from the Administrator's Reference and SQL Reference to the Common Client information. Most recently I have been working on improving our warehousing documentation.
Tom Houston (pronounced the opposite of the similarly-spelled street in Manhattan)
I was employee #237 when Informix was still called "RDS Software" in Menlo Park, California, and I have been monitoring the Informix Technical Publications external email alias since it was called "email@example.com" (but it is now spelled "firstname.lastname@example.org"). I mostly work on the IBM Informix Guide to SQL: Syntax, which keeps me busy documenting new SQL features and correcting the errata that I create while documenting new SQL features (or while correcting older errata). Among my hobbies are photography, dreaming, and trying to outwit spelling-checker software.
I've been with IBM Informix since 2008. I write the UI text and help for OAT. I once wrote longer sentences.
I'm not officially a member of the Informix Documentation Team. I've been responsible for usability and user interface design on Informix products since 2006 and am heavily involved in the UI design of OAT. I am a professionally trained Human Factors Engineer/Psychologist and have been working in the human computer interaction and design field for more than 25 years.
I'm currently a remote co-op or supplemental employee on the Informix ID team working in Socorro, NM. I have been with the Informix team since 2008 and have worked both full- and part-time. A majority of my tasks deal with DITA markup such as migrating books from SGML to DITA. Recently, I have begun to work with development teams in India to produce documentation for the 4GL and CSDK components of IDS. I am responsible for all documentation with in 4GL and CSDK. I'm currently pursuing a degree in Technical Communication from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
About a year ago, we decided to try something different for certain kinds of information: quick reference cards. They are designed to be printed out on a single piece of paper, both sides. We currently have two quick reference cards, both of which represent 11.50.xC6 information: one for onstat commands and one for the onconfig.std. When we originally published them, they were 8.5"x11" size, but since then there were a few additions to onstat and onconfig.std, so now they are both legal sized.
onstat quick reference card
onconfig.std quick reference card
We are hoping to create other quick reference cards this year, but we need your help! Let us know what you'd like to see. Here are some possibilities:
This post is from Howard Glaser, the Informix usability expert. He attended the IIUG conference last week.
I want to thank all of the 2010 IIUG Conference attendees who provided feedback in our Usability Sandbox and customer sessions at the conference. Your feedback is invaluable in making IDS even better! Below is a list of the usability sessions that were held at the conference. Let us know if there are additional usability topic areas that you would like to see at future conferences (please write to email@example.com).
• Hands on experience test driving the latest Schema and Storage Manager UIs for the OpenAdmin Tool
• A sneak peak and feedback on the new IDS Installation and Configuration Tooling/UI: A group walkthrough discussion with the IDS Dev team
• A sneak peak and feedback on the new IDS Deployment Tooling/UI: A group walkthrough discussion with the IDS Dev team
• Your opportunity to give your input on useful sources and resources for solving problems encountered while using IDS: An examination of current and future resources followed by a group exercise to provide your preferences
• How Optim may be used for problem determination and resolution with IDS: A walkthrough and group discussion
The new Informix Products information center has all the documentation for older Informix server and CSDK versions, 4GL, DataBlade modules, and other tools.
Instead of clicking around over 2000 Pubs Library web pages, you can now find all the titles on one site!
To find the title you are looking for, just enter it in the search box in the upper left-hand corner and click Go.
These URLs are now redirected to the new information center:
If you have any feedback on the new information center, please let us know!
You might have noticed the complete lack of social niceties like "please" in Informix documentation. Occasionally, I do get messages to review from developers that say things like "Please read the Guide to SQL: Syntax for information on the syntax." Or even better: "Please contact IBM Software Support." I have to take out the "please" because it is against IBM style guidelines.
The official IBM Style guideline on "please" instructs us not to use "please" in IBM technical information: Terms of politeness are superfluous, convey the wrong tone for technical material, and are not regarded the same way in all cultures.
In some cultures, when you use a word like "please," it indicates that the action mentioned is optional. We have to take into account that our documentation will be translated and also that it will be read in English by people whose first language is not English.
So you see, we are not being rude--just authoritative!
The Informix onconfig.std portal is a handy way of finding functionally related configuration parameters. The configuration parameters are listed together, in the same order as in the onconfig.std file, with links to the individual topics for each configuration parameter. You might want to bookmark this portal:
The onconfig.std portal topic is in the Administrator's Reference, in the Configuration Parameters chapter.
If your list of bookmarks is disorganized like mine, you can find the link on the home page of the v11.50 information center, or just type "onconfig portal" into your favorite search engine.
Can't remember which onstat command shows you the information about the server that you are looking for? Try the onstat portal.
The onstat portal organizes onstat commands by functional area, with links to the individual topics for each command.
The onstat portal topic is in the
IBM Informix Survey for Continuous Availability White Paper
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Every response matters. - Start Survey here!
IBMR Informix is the database software voted #1 in customer satisfaction.
Clients choose Informix because it is reliable, low cost, and hassle free.
Solution providers choose Informix for its best-of-breed embeddability.
Yet, there are some people that still don't 'get' Informix, or realize the
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- Informix is exceptionally hardware efficient, which means that (in the
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performance as other products.
- Informix is exceptionally reliable, which means that (in the REAL world)
you don't need to pay lots of people to make sure it stays 'up'.
- Informix is exceptionally scalable, which means that (in the REAL world)
it can be idling one moment and then processing thousands of transactions
the next with no apparent stress.
Advanced DataTools is working with Oninit, to gather data about what happens
in the REAL world to support these assertions with empirical evidence in the
The data collected will be used to compile a report that will be made
available to every CTO, IT Director and IT Manager. Along with this, they
will receive a list of all the major application vendors that are now
porting their applications to Informix V11.5 and a document outlining the
key reasons to choose Informix.
Every response matters. - Start Survey here!
Win an Apple iPad. One randomly selected participant in the data collection
phase of this research will win an Apple iPad, provided by Advanced
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If you replicate your data with Enterprise Replication, you might need to repair inconsistencies in the data. Instead of syncing all the data, you can check the data to find inconsistencies and then sync only those records. The cdr check replicate and cdr check replicateset commands, which were introduced in Informix 10.0, had several new options added in Informix 11.50 to improve the speed of consistency checking and repairing data.
You can increase the speed of a consistency check on a replicate by indexing a new shadow column, ifx_replcheck. You add the ifx_replcheck column to your replicated table using the WITH REPLCHECK clause and create a unique index on the ifx_replcheck column and your primary key columns. You can also alter an existing table to add the ifx_replcheck column. The replicated table must also have the CRCOLS shadow columns. You cannot perform a table-level restore on a table that contains the ifx_replcheck column.
By default, inconsistent rows are rechecked for up to five seconds, which might not be enough time for replicated transactions to be applied on the target server. You can specify the number of seconds to spend on rechecking the consistency of inconsistent rows. Rechecking prevents transactions that are in progress from being listed as inconsistent in the consistency report. You can use the --inprogress option of the cdr check replicate and cdr check replicateset commands to specify the maximum number of seconds to perform rechecking.
You can reduce the duration of a consistency check by performing a check in parallel and by controlling the amount of data that is checked. You can specify a time from which to check updated rows by using the --since option. You can specify a subset of a table to check by using the --where option. You can prevent the checking of large objects by using the --skipLOB option.
You can increase the speed of a consistency check on a replicate set by performing the operation on each replicate in parallel. Specify the number of parallel processes to use for processing a replicate set by using the --process option with the cdr check replicateset command.
Use these options to customize your consistency checking and repairing.
For more information, see:
Informix added a couple of key warehousing features in 11.50.xC5 and 11.50.xC6:
Load and Unload Data with External Tables
IDS supports external tables. You can read and write from a source that is external to the database server. External tables provide an SQL interface to data in text files managed by the operating system or to data from a FIFO device. To create external tables, use the CREATE EXTERNAL TABLE statement. Use the existing DROP TABLE statement to drop an external table.
See the Guide to SQL: Syntax.
Loading Data into a Warehouse with the MERGE Statement
Instead of using separate UPDATE and INSERT statements to load data from an OLTP database into a database warehouse environment, use the new MERGE statement, which can combine UPDATE and INSERT operations into a single SQL statement.
The MERGE statement can merge records from a table, view, or query (the source) with the records in a local table (the target). You can specify a logical condition that MERGE applies to a join of the source and target objects.
The MERGE statement supports Update and Insert triggers on the target table. Any constraints on the target table are enforced in MERGE operations.
See the Guide to SQL: Syntax.
Retrieving Data by Using Hierarchical Queries
You can now retrieve data from a table by using hierarchical queries, which maintain the relationship between the data.
The SELECT statement of Informix now supports START WITH .. CONNECT BY syntax for recursively querying a table in which a hierarchy of parent-child relationships exist. The syntax can define recursive queries that reflect the topology of the data hierarchy.
This implementation of hierarchical queries uses extensions to the ISO standard for SQL.
See the Guide to SQL: Syntax.
Informix Warehouse Feature
The Informix Warehouse Feature provides an integrated platform for the design and administration of data warehousing applications.
The core of Informix Warehouse Feature is the SQL Warehousing Tool. It includes an application development component in the Informix Warehouse Feature client and an administration component on the Informix Warehouse Feature server.
Informix Warehouse Feature client includes the Design Studio, which provides a common design environment for creating physical data models, SQL data flows and control flows. Design Studio is built on the Eclipse Workbench and automatically generates SQL that is based on visual operator flows that you model in the Design Studio. The library of SQL operators covers the in-database data operations that are typically needed to move data between database tables.
Basic text searching in Informix v11.50 became more versatile, configurable, and faster. See the What's New in Database Extensions for more information.
Process Multiple Basic Test Search Queries Simultaneously
If basic text search queries are slow because multiple users are running queries at the same time, you can add more BTS virtual processors so that queries run simultaneously, each in their own virtual processor. Previously, you could only create one BTS virtual processor and queries ran serially.
Control the Results of a Fuzzy Search with the Basic Text Search DataBlade® module
You can now specify the degree of similarity of search results in fuzzy searches when using the Basic Text Search DataBlade module. Specify a number between 0 and 1, where a higher value results in a higher degree of similarity. To limit results, specify a higher number. To maximize results, specify a lower number. The default degree of similarity is 0.5.
Map Characters for Indexing with the Basic Text Search DataBlade module
You can now map characters in your data to other characters during indexing with the Basic Text Search DataBlade module. For example, you can specify that letters with diacritical marks are indexed as the same letters without marks. You can also standardize inconsistent prefixes or delete character strings from indexed text. To use character maps, include the canonical_maps parameter when you create your bts index.
Default Boolean Operator in Basic Text Search Queries
You can now change the default Boolean
operator between search terms in Basic Text Search queries from OR to AND by
using the query_default_operator parameter when you create a bts index. The default
operator is represented by a blank space between terms. Many popular end-user
search engines use AND as the default operator between search terms, where
end-users expect the search results to contain all their search terms.
Storage for Temporary Basic Text Search Files
You can now specify that temporary files used by the Basic Text Search DataBlade module are stored in a separate sbspace from the one used to store the bts index. Separating temporary files from the bts index might improve query performance.
Track Basic Text Search Query Trends
You can now track what queries are run against your bts index by including the query_log parameter when you create a bts index. You can use query trends information to provide hints to end-users on popular queries or work on optimizing the most popular queries.
Fragment bts Indexes by Expressions
You can now fragment bts indexes by expressions into multiple sbspaces instead of a single sbspace.
Basic Text Search DataBlade module Supports High-Availability Clusters
You can now use the Basic Text Search DataBlade module to perform searches on high-availability cluster servers by creating indexes in sbspaces. Previously, the Basic Text Search DataBlade module only supported the creation of indexes in extspaces, and thus could not participate in any queries on high-availability secondary servers and in backup and restore operations.
Querying XML Attributes with the Basic Text DataBlade module
The Basic Text Search DataBlade module now supports searches on XML attributes in a document repository. The new all_xmlattrs parameter enables searches on all attributes that are contained in the XML tags or paths in a column that contains an XML document.
Support added for a user-defined stopword list
You can create a customized stopword list for frequently occurring words in your data or you can use the default stopword list.
Support added for XML-structured documents
You can use Basic Text Search XML index parameters to manipulate searches of XML data in different ways.
IngeHalilovic 060000MPB8 Tags:  11.7 highlights database features information_center information informix 2,481 Views
Do you want to know exactly what's new for IBM® Informix® 11.70? Visit the new v11.70 information center.
For highlights of Informix 11.70, short descriptions of all the new features, and links to where the features are described in detail, see What's new in Informix.
Don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed so that you'll know when we update the information center.
The v11.70 information center has the same collaboration features as the v11.50 information center. Find out how to comment on, rate, and watch topics.
The v11.70 information center works best with these browsers:
IngeHalilovic 060000MPB8 Tags:  configuration quick_reference informix onconfig onstat 2,615 Views
The Quick Reference Cards for onconfig.std and onstat have been updated for Informix 11.70. These cards are designed to be printed double-sided on legal-sized paper (8.5" by 14") and folded into a four-sided pamphlet. They look best printed in color, especially the onconfig.std card, which shows version numbers in red.
This entry is provided by Tom Houston, our esteemed SQL writer. He will be contributing the occasional entry about how to interpret syntax diagrams as they are used in IBM® Informix® documentation.
The Informix documentation uses syntax diagrams to summarize in a graphic format the syntax tokens -- the keywords, input values, delimiters, and other symbols -- and the order in which they can appear in a valid statement or command. Syntax diagrams that Informix user documents like Administrator's Reference and Guide to SQL:Syntax use a standard graphical notation that many IBM products currently use. Syntax diagrams are described in the Introduction chapter of PDF manuals and in the information centers.
The term syntax note refers to
Several instances of the same parenthetical digit (or digits) within the diagram can reference the same note below the diagram.
This blog entry addresses two potential ways to interpret a syntax note:
This diagram of the CONNECT statement of SQL (for the Informix 11.70 database server) includes two restrictive syntax notes and two cross-reference syntax notes:
1. See Database Environment
2. ESQL/C and DB-Access only
3. See USER Validation Clause
4. ESQL/C only
Here the cross-referencing note (1) that follows the Database Environment syntax segment matches the digit that precedes the
text of the "See Database Environment" note below the diagram, which is a link to the topic that shows the syntax of the Database
Environment syntax segment. Similarly, the cross-referencing note (3) that follows the USER Authentication Clause
syntax segment matches the digit that precedes the text of the "See USER Validation Clause " note below the diagram, which is a link to
the topic that shows the syntax of the USER Authentication Clause syntax segment.
The digit 2 delimited by parentheses (2) preceding the optional USER Authentication Clause syntax segment matches the digit that precedes the "ESQL/C and DB-Access only" syntax note text, restricting that clause to IBM Informix ESQL/C routines and to scripts of the DB-Access utility. This note implies, for example, that the database server will throw an exception if you attempt to run an SPL routine that attempts to connect to a database by using a CONNECT statement that includes this clause.
Similarly, the digit 4 delimited by parentheses (4) preceding the optional WITH CONCURRENT TRANSACTION keywords matches the digit that precedes the "ESQL/C only" syntax note text, restricting that clause to IBM Informix ESQL/C routine. In this diagram, the optional TRUSTED keyword is outside the scope.of syntax note (4), because a CONNECT statement that omits the WITH CONCURRENT TRANSACTION keywords can reach the TRUSTED keyword without following a path that syntax note (4) restricts.
In both instances, the restrictive syntax notes appear immediately above the path of the syntax tokens that the syntax note references, and to the left of those tokens. Syntax notes do not refer to the path above the digit that identifies the note. To apply the same syntax note to several independent paths in a diagram, the parenthetical digit that identifies the syntax note must be repeated for each path.
In an SPL routine, the following SQL statement fails with an error:
CONNECT TO DEFAULT WITH CONCURRENT TRANSACTION TRUSTED;
Even if a default database environment is defined for the current session, this statement fails because CONNECT statements that include the WITH CONCURRENT TRANSACTION keywords are not supported in SPL applications (unless the SPL routine invokes an ESQL/C routine to issue the CONNECT statement).
In summary, a cross-reference syntax note
A restrictive syntax note
The 59 new oninit return codes introduced in Informix® 11.70 describe exactly why the server didn't start. We also document what your next move should be.
For example, oninit return code 175 says: The database server failed to initialize the root dbspace. What you should do if you get this return code is to check the root dbspace related parameters in server configuration file (onconfig) to make sure that the path for the root dbspace is valid.
The oninit return codes are documented in the Administrator's Reference.