IIUG Insider (Issue #54) December 2004

Highlights: Editorials, sponsorship programs, & More…

Welcome to the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) Insider! Designed for IIUG members and Informix user group leaders, this publication contains timely and relevant information for the IBM Informix community.


  1. Editorial
  2. IIUG – IIUG Informix Yellow Pages
  3. IIUG – Sponsorship Program
  4. Editorial – A word from the President, Stuart Litel
  5. Editorial – Informix and IBM
  6. Event – Washington Area Informix User Group meeting (Besthesda, MD, USA)
  7. Product News – New White Paper: Business Advantage of Upgrading to IDS 9.4
  8. Service Offerings – Advanced Informix IDS Performance Tuning and Optimization Course
  9. Service Offerings – ITES
  10. Developer Corner – Report from DeveloperWorks
  11. Developer Corner – Answer on Technical Questions for EGL
  12. People – Mehdi Afshar, CEO, Querix
  13. Useful Links
  14. Closing and Credits


2004 is coming to an end…

2005 will be brighter than ever for IBM Informix. I have heard so many great things (you know, like Mac OS X, is it ‘X’ or is it Ten?), I cannot wait any longer!

IIUG is pleased to announce two new programs for our members and IBM Business Partners: IIUG Informix Yellow Pages and Sponsorship Program. Do you want to know more about those? Then read!

This issue contains not one, nor two but THREE editorials, thanks to Mr. President (Stuart Litel) and Mr. Analyst (Philip Howard). Thanks guys!

A few things for developers, including an exclusive interview of Mehdi Afshar and his vision of 4GL and nothing for DBA, guys and gals, wake up…

Finally, I’d like to say a special thank you to Fred & Neil who provided us a lot of help and fun (Hey Neil, Philip’s editorial is in English, you see, I managed to make Europe more visible in the Insider).

Merry Xmas for those of you that wish to have a merry Xmas, and a fantastic year 2005 (I need one!).

Thanks to all for your continuous support!

Jean Georges Perrin

IIUG – IIUG Informix Yellow Pages

This new service is called the “IIUG Informix Yellow Pages” listing service, and it will be provided at no charge. This service will offer any Informix-related supplier of software or services a way to get their message out to other Informix users. This service will also provide IIUG members an easy way to find companies that provide Informix-related products and services. Members will be able to search for listings by O/S platform, Informix product base, geographies, and type of service.

The “IIUG Informix Yellow Pages” listings requires that an application be completed. IIUG will review applications and make final approval related to membership and content.

IIUG will be accepting applications for the “IIUG Informix Yellow Pages” immediately and will make the “IIUG Informix Yellow Pages” search available to IIUG members in January. Watch for additional announcements!

For more information and to submit an application for an “IIUG Informix Yellow Pages” listing, please see /yellowpages.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at yellowpages@iiug.org.

IIUG – Sponsorship Program

The second new offering is a Sponsorship Program. This is an easy and inexpensive way for IBM Business Partners to promote their Informix-related products and services. The Sponsorship program follows a three-tier approach with a limit to the number of sponsors at a given level. Based on the sponsorship level, the sponsor’s logo, press releases, webcast promotions, and more will be featured on http://www.iiug.org and within future issues of the Insider. In addition to promoting Informix products and services, the Sponsorship program will help IIUG achieve its goal of promoting and protecting the interests of the many businesses and organizations that rely on Informix products daily.

Sponsorship Program requires that an application be completed. IIUG will review applications and make final approval related to membership and content. Completing an application does not cost anything or commit you to a level of sponsorship.

IIUG will be accepting applications for the Sponsorship Program immediately.

For more information, pricing, and to submit an application for Sponsorship, please see /sponsor.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at sponsorship@iiug.org.

Editorial – A word from the President, Stuart Litel

For those who know me, they know that I have a tendency to talk a lot and tell lots of Informix stories, but I am not a person who enjoys writing, so during the past year I have not written much for the Insider, but it is the end of 2004 and as we welcome 2005, I thought it was time to write an article on many different topics for the IIUG members.

The past year has been a break thru year for IIUG experiencing more than a 50% turnover in the IIUG board members. We started off the year a bit rocky but as President I think we have changed a lot. I originally told the board that I wanted to make IIUG more of a relationship organization and concentrate on relationships with IBM, members and partners. During the past year we have completed much of this, as I believe the IIUG / IBM relationship is the best it has ever been and for that matter, Informix is stronger than ever inside of IBM. There have been many rumors over the past three and a half years about the demise of Informix and IDS inside and outside of IBM, I want to state it here loudly and strongly. IBM is FULLY and 100% behind the future of Informix database products. Informix is here to stay for the VERY LONG HAUL and IBM is spending possibly more money on research and development of Informix products than even Informix spent on R & D. IDS is here to stay and will be here for years to come. So if anyone tells you otherwise, please let them contact me and I will set them straight.

During 2004, the IIUG board decided to work in conjunction with IDUG (International DB2 User Group), as IDUG is an organization that puts on very professional conferences, this year IIUG is working with IDUG and has complete control of all Informix technical sessions. The IDUG conference will be held in Denver, CO in May 2005 (/conf). At the conference there will be more Informix content than any other conference in the last three and a half years, making this the premier Informix technical event anywhere in the world, complete with more than 50 Informix sessions from IDS to Standard Engine products from beginner to advanced topics including four amazing training sessions on Sunday from possibly four of the best Informix speakers in the world. We hope to see as many people as possible in Denver.

Also in this issue of the Insider, IIUG is launching a “Sponsorship” program, so that Informix partners and vendors can reach the IIUG membership. Rest assured, IIUG will NEVER release its membership list to ANY third party, but we do need to raise some money for some programs and expenses. IIUG reaches more Informix users than any other organization including IBM on a regular basis and therefore we believe this is a very good program for vendors to reach members.

During the past year there have been too many people on the IIUG board, at IBM and IIUG members to thank individually, but I would like to thank a few here. First of all two departing IIUG Board members for their long time work on the IIUG board: Neil Truby and Fred Hubbard have both departed the IIUG board and I personally wish to thank both of them for their long time contribution to IIUG.

There are also a few IBM people I need to thank and in no particular order, first is of course Janet Perna for her long time support of IIUG. Along with Janet and her Data Management organization, Jon Prial, WorldWide VP of Marketing, Paul Rivot, Director of Marketing and Bruce Weed from IBM for their support of IIUG. A few other IBMers who have been constant supporters of IIUG and without them over the past year, we would not be where are today. They are Mohan Natraj as the official IBM representative to the IIUG board, Jerry Keesee for his worldwide travels to present to Informix users the roadmap for Informix and lastly but most important, Dawn Shannon who once told me she could never handle me as President of IIUG. Dawn has spent tireless hours assisting IIUG but due to her new position within IBM will be moving on from working with us.

As we usher in 2005 and I return as President, I believe we had the most returning board members to IIUG with only two board seats turning over, I look forward to a successful 2005 for IIUG and let me take this opportunity on behalf of the IIUG board to wish all IIUG members Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

Comments or suggestions for IIUG in 2005, I can be reached at: president@iiug.org

Editorial – Informix and IBM

By Philip Howard, Industry Analyst, Bloor Research

While it is understandable that all Informix current and potential users would like to see Informix displace DB2 as IBM’s main database, that isn’t going to happen. So, how does IBM position Informix vis à vis DB2?

If we consider the historical position of Informix then its users broadly fall into three constituencies: ISVs, VARs and other software developers that deliver applications based on the Informix database; users of said applications; and companies that have deployed Informix because of its advanced features such as parallelism, security, datablades and so on. In effect, there have been two markets: the embedded database space, which encompasses both of the first two classes of users; and the high-end, stand-alone space addressed by the various initiatives taken by Informix in the mid to late 90s.

While it is an over-generalisation to say that these two markets are completely distinct they can, for most purposes, be regarded as separate markets.

Now think about DB2. Historically, it competed with Informix at the high-end. On the other hand, IBM has never been very successful with DB2 in the embedded database market.

So, what do I think that IBM will do with Informix? In effect, I expect a dual strategy. I think we will see a greater concentration on Informix for the embedded database community, particularly given IBM’s strength with the Rational product line and the Eclipse framework, and I anticipate the company favouring Informix over DB2 in this market.

On the other hand, at the high end, there is no doubt that DB2 will remain the database of choice. IBM has committed itself to a long-term merger of the two products but if this ever happens it will be a long way off. In the meantime, IBM simply doesn’t want to lose its Informix user base and the corollary to that is that it must continue to develop the product. The fact that it has started to do that with the release of the CopperEye Datablade is encouraging but, on the other hand, Informix has always been a lean machine – IBM must be careful not to lose the benefits of that approach by introducing too much unnecessary clutter – extra functionality may need to be optional, otherwise there is the risk that the database will become over-heavy.

If this two-track approach is realistic then, to a certain extent, IIUG can leave IBM to get on with developing Informix for the embedded market, but it needs to keep a firm eye on what IBM is doing for Informix at the high end: making clear that it is not just extra functionality that is important, but also the way that it is implemented.

Event – Washington Area Informix User Group meeting (Besthesda, MD, USA)

Date: Thursday, January 27, 2005, Time: 9:00-5:00
Location: IBM, Bethesda offices, Building 6710, Wing B Room 21B167
6710 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, MD 20817

Morning 9:00-12:00 – Two Informix Presentations by John Miller III, Senior Technical Staff Member, IBM

* Informix Dynamic Server Backup and Restore * Unlocking the Mysteries Behind Update Statistics

For more information visit /waiug.

Product News – New White Paper: Business Advantage of Upgrading to IDS 9.4

This new whitepaper produced by IBM highlights several organizations that have upgraded to IDS 9.4 and achieved amazing results. By using the new features and functions found in IDS 9.4 these enterprises have done more with fewer DBA resources, entered new markets, gained new customers and partners and improved their bottom line overall. Take a look at this whitepaper to see what IDS 9.4 can do for you and your customers.

For more information, download the white paper from IIUG web site:


or from IBM web site:


Service Offerings – Advanced Informix IDS Performance Tuning and Optimization Course

February 7-10, 2005 in Annandale, VA USA

This course is for experienced Informix database administrators and application developers who will be responsible for managing, optimizing, and tuning IDS database servers. The focus is on practical skills, procedures, and scripts for improving the performance of your database server. In addition to new skills, the course will provide a toolkit of scripts and utilities to start monitoring and optimizing your Informix IDS database server.

The course is taught by Lester Knutsen, Database Consultant and President, Advanced DataTools. Lester has been developing databases with Informix software since 1983. He specializes in data warehouse development, database design, performance tuning, and Informix training and support and is an IBM Gold Consultant.

For more information about this course please visit our web site at:


Service Offerings – ITES

Message from IBM IT Education Services

IBM Technical Conferences – Save the Dates

IBM offers more than 15 technical conferences in the US alone and 30+ world-wide. These industry-recognized events address today’s most relevant IT topics. We bring together leading developers, experts and strategists to provide the most current product and industry information. Learn of new product releases, get tips and techniques and hear the latest trends and product strategies. Enjoy a large selection of tracks/elective sessions, hands-on labs and onsite certification opportunities at many conferences. Look at our 2005 Technical Conference listing and save the dates on your calendar.

More: /news/newsitems/IBM_2005_Tech_Conferences.html

Technology-Enabled Learning

To balance the continually growing demand for effective training with your budget considerations, time constraints and travel restrictions, IBM offers you a variety of technology-enabled learning alternatives. Self-paced virtual classes, recorded classrooms, Web lectures and an extensive selection of online and CD-ROM self-study courses complement traditional classroom education, providing cost-effective and workforce-conscious, e-learning approaches that include many of our most popular topics.

More: /news/newsitems/IBM_e-Learning.html

Save $5,000 on IBM Training with the IBM Education Pack – online account

IBM IT Education Services recently announced its biggest savings offer ever. Each time youe clients purchase an IBM Education Pack – online account for $25,000, IBM will give them a 10% discount plus deposit $2,500 in bonus dollars in your account. That’s a savings of $5,000 – giving your clients $27,500 worth of training for just $22,500, a total savings of 18%. This Discount plus Bonus equals Savings offer is only available from October 5, 2004 through February 15, 2005.

More: /news/newsitems/IBM_Education_Pack.html

Developer Corner – Report from DeveloperWorks

Thanks to Casie Perry-Watts (IBM), here are a few highlights about what developers can find on DeveloperWorks. DeveloperWorks can be reached at http://www.ibm.com/developerworks.

Feature article:

The Cloudscape Detective Game
You’re the detective in an interactive game that introduces database concepts, SQL, and Cloudscape.

Other new content:

Use DB2 Information Integrator to integrate MySQL with other enterprise data sources
Learn how to configure DB2 Information Integrator to read and write to tables and views managed by MySQL, a popular open source DBMS. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to join and union data in your MySQL environment with other corporate data accessible to your DB2 II federated database.
(DB2 Information Integrator)

How to set up and execute a mobile project with DB2 Everyplace V8.2
This series of three articles comprises a detailed introduction to DB2 Everyplace V8.2. The authors begin with an overview of IBM’s mobile solutions, delve into the details of DB2 Everyplace, and then guide you through the necessary steps to actually create and execute a project using DB2 Everyplace.
(DB2 Everyplace)

SQL Procedure Language: Differences across platforms
Compare the differences between implementation of DB2 stored procedures written in SQL Procedural Language on the distributed platforms (Linux, UNIX, Windows) and z/OS.
(DB2 for Linux, Unix and Windows)

Developer Corner – Answers to Technical Questions on EGL

We got answers thanks to Aomar Bariz (IBM in France).

Q: How is it proposed to deploy applications written in EGL once legacy 4gl files and screens have been converted via the migration tool due out in Q4 2004 (i.e windows environment or HP_UX based character screens or both ?)
A: You can deploy EGL TUI apps on both platforms: on Linux/Unix they are running as a real curses based applications, while on Windows they are using a Java window, but is still TUI based… As part of the product, there will be HP-UX, AIX, Linux and Solaris libraries to work with the JNI code to provide the curses support for EGL. It is also possible for the TUI apps to run as Java (Swing) apps on Unix. If the curses library is not found, the app runs as a Swing app.
Q: Also what do 4gl screen files (.per –> .frm) become in EGL land ?
A: Yup, all the files are .egl files. The conversion program does generate an externally identifiable name for the converted .per files, however. For example, “f_logo.per” becomes “f_logoForm.egl”. There will be a WYSIWYG TUI form builder in an upcoming release as well.
Q: Does WSED support EGL generation of Portlets that will directly plug into Websphere Portal 5.x?
A: EGL Portlet support is planned, I believe, for EGL iFix2 ( early next year.
Q: What replaces VisualAge Generator Templates in the WSED EGL environment?
A: EGL has templates as well. I don’t know if they are the same as the ones in VAG though. These are invoked with the combination in the EGL editor. They are configured using Window->Preferences->EGL->Editor->Templates

People – Mehdi Afshar, CEO, Querix

On a regular basis, our reporters go in the field, meet people and ask questions. Here, we have met Mehdi Afshar, the CEO of Querix. You can get more information about Querix at http://www.querix.com.

Insider: Who are you and your company?
Mehdi Afshar: Querix is the leading author of development tools, compatible with Informix4GL, Informix Dynamic 4GL, ESQL/C and NewEra, for the Informix4GL community. Our headquarters is in Southampton, England, where the software development is done. Marketing activities are carried out from the UK & Germany, and technical support is available directly from Querix and from our 100+ partners & resellers worldwide.

I: What is your company/organization doing in the field of 4GL?
MA: It is our mission to enhance 4GL with the latest trends and technologies. Our aim is to get our products to run on any platform, communicate with any database, and open up 4GL to interact with other development languages such as Java. We are doing this so that developers can concentrate on their core business, developing robust business n-tier applications effectively, without having to retrain or rewrite their applications.

To this end, Querix has created a completely new generation of 4GL tools. Easily configurable, infinitely customizable, and unmatched in their power to produce robust, open, efficient, modern business applications.

Querix makes it possible to harness the power of technologies such as ActiveX(tm), OLE/COM, Java, JavaBeans(tm), Java 2, HTML and XML. It does this without having to make any radical changes to your core 4GL sources. Querix tools can build portable, standardized applications that will always be backwards compatible. No need to reinvent the wheel, just concentrate on application development.

I: What is your offering? What is going to be your next offering?
MA: Our current offering is the Hydra 4.1 Suite of development applications, which is compatible with Informix 4GL. This consists of: a 4gl core compiler, compatible with Informix 4GL, and 4Js Dynamic 4GL., a GUI IDE system, which runs on all major operating systems, a set of GUI based thin-clients. These support both Microsoft Windows (natively) and most other platforms (through a Java client). These allow the existing 4GL interfaces to be improved without source code modification, allowing for seamless deployment in both new and legacy settings, an HTML-based thin-client to allow 4GL deployment without a client-side download, an application server, to allow remote launching of 4GL GUI applications.

Our next development release is a P-code based 4GL platform which will be available for beta testing in Q4 2004. This will provide a large number of developments to the 4GL language including: Language improvements (The ability to pass almost anything to a function such as Cursors and Windows, Scope for 4GL windows, cursors, etc., Capability of declaring a cursor to be local to a function, Simplified File Handling, Object-like calling interface, to access the properties of cursors, windows, arrays, etc., Capability of writing 4GL in an object-oriented fashion), new data-types (Variants, Strings (variable-length character variables), Dynamically-sized arrays), XML support (Capability of simply serializing any 4GL expression into XML).

Finally, we will offer a 4GL-Java Gateway, Implementing an open exchange format, based on XML, called “DR2XF”, for “Data Record to XML Xchange Format” with a partner company. This format will allow interoperability with other environments and languages, which opens up a wide range of solutions to users.

We will also offer Multiple-Concurrent Database Access, The Application can access data from different databases (for example Informix & DB2) within the same application and platform independent P-Code generation with runner support for 18 server platforms (Windows & Unix/Linux).

I: What do you expect the market and your answer to its needs to be by the end of 2005?
MA: We see the market demanding increasingly more sophisticated integrated development toolsets. We envisage having a completely integrated development environment, based on industry standard components using Eclipse. This will integrate well with other third-party products.

4GL also needs to open up; to interact with other industry standard development languages and tools such as Java and .NET. With our current Hydra suite of tools, we are already addressing that partially.

Finally, though by no means is this down the priority list, the entire 4GL input/event model architecture will be modernized (while still retaining its compatibility with the older input system) and forms will be designed in XML format for the highest flexibility and compatibility. It will need to make itself accessible from the increasingly wide range of front-end formats that now also include a mobile communications capability, such as WAP mobile phones and PDAs. That will mean introducing significant flexibility into the compiler’s capabilities, to allow it to provide output that is suitable for each of these front-ends. Our current ‘Black Box’ text mode & graphical clients (MS-Windows, Java, and for XML/HTML-Web) will be extended by further thin-client front-ends.

Useful Links

In response to your input, we have created a new page on the IIUG web site containing all the links we used to include. Please find it at: /quicklinks.html

Closing and Credits

The International Informix Users Group (IIUG) is an organization designed to enhance communications between its worldwide user community and IBM. IIUG’s membership database now exceeds 25,000 entries and enjoys the support and commitment of IBM’s Data Management division. Key programs include local user groups and special interest groups, which we promote and assist from launch through growth.

Sources: IIUG Board of Directors
IBM Corp.
Editors: Jean Georges Perrin
Stuart Litel
Sam Gentsch
Neil Truby
For comments, please send an email to enews@iiug.org.
Categorized as Insider

By Vicente Salvador

Board member since 2014, a user since 1989 and Informix fan. I'am software architect which allow me to combine technical and business skills.