IIUG Insider (Issue #63) September 2005

Highlights: IIUG Survey, Conference corner, Chat wit the lab, LUGs

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. The IIUG Survey
  3. Mark Scranton’s world tour
  4. Chat with the Lab
  5. Conference Corner
  6. The hidden values of a Tech Conference
  7. Informix User Forum 2005
  8. New Informix User Group in Taiwan
  9. Gillani’s Recent Encounter with the 4GL to EGL Conversion Tool
  10. IBM developerWorks Informix zone
  11. Calendar of events
  12. Useful links
  13. Closing and credits


I am in my new comfortable apartment but editing the IIUG Insider is still a struggle. Getting feedback from readers always makes me feel good. Any feedback is better than not knowing if anyone cares. Of course I prefer positive feedback 🙂

In October the IIUG board of directors will meet to review what has been accomplished this year, revise our priorities and set our future goals. If you have any ideas or concerns you would like me to present to the board please mail them to me before October 6. In the October issue I will report from our meeting.

I will be on a private trip to Brazil with my family during the month of October. I will do my best to stay online but am aware of the fact it will be hard to achieve. So once again I am turning to you for help. Take a minute to think what you would like to read in the Insider and if you think you can contribute please do.

If you go to http://www.webopedia.com and enter “Informix” you will find the following:

Though still much smaller than its chief rival, Oracle, Informix has been able to make large market-share gains recently due to its innovative technology.

Wishful thinking? I hope not.

Enjoy your reading.

My email address is still: gary@iiug.org

Gary Ben-Israel
IIUG Insider Editor
IIUG Board of Directors

The IIUG Survey

The IIUG would like to thank all our members that took the survey. If you have not, please take a moment now to complete the survey; it will only be online for a limited time. It can be found at:


The survey will ask you about your company’s current dealings with IBM, database plans, and your perceptions about the future of Informix. It will be used by IBM to better understand and react to the needs of its dedicated Informix community.

Thank you!

About the survey

This survey is being conducted by the IIUG to provide valuable input to IBM from you, the Informix user community. Please answer the questions based on your currently active Informix environment(s). Most questions allow only one response: please select the response that best applies to your environment. We greatly value your input! The survey should take 8-15 minutes.

Privacy notice – what we do with the results

After the survey is closed, we will collect the results and provide them to IBM on a summarized basis – no individual names will be associated with any response. If you provide additional comments, they will be provided anonymously to IBM together with other user comments.

Mark Scranton’s world tour

Mark Scranton is circling the globe for some time meeting local Informix users and management lecturing, preaching, consulting and talking Informix. For those of you who do not know him (just in case there are any of you out there), Mark works for IBM World Wide Tech Enablement – Informix Products and is a member of the IIUG Board of Directors.

The tour is not only a big success in educating the Informix user community and tightening its relationship with IBM, but also demonstrates IBM’s strong commitment to Informix. If anyone had doubts, Informix is here to stay. In the following issues we promise to bring you more details. In the meantime if you were lucky to be part of this tour please share your experience with us. If not and you need help justifying Informix to your management or would like to educate your local user group you may contact Mark directly at mark.scranton@us.ibm.com.

Chat with the Lab

Informix Chat with the Lab – 5 October 2005

11 a.m. Eastern
10 a.m. Central
9 a.m. Mountain
8 a.m. Pacific

For 90 minutes

“Advances in DBMS Tools for Automating Administration and Performance Management of IDS”

Our next chat will address significant advances in the upcoming release of Server Studio JE with Sentinel – the premier feature-rich, powerful and compact suite of professional database management tools that IBM supplies with IDS. We will discuss new functionality, designed to help develop, deploy, manage and maintain reliable enterprise database infrastructure without expensive downtime or interruption to vital business operations. Special emphasis will be given to the wide-ranging array of sophisticated analytical and automation tools to productively monitor, diagnose and efficiently resolve database performance degradation and availability problems. Our speakers are: Jerry Keesee, Director of the Informix Lab and Anatole Vishon, CEO of AGS Ltd.

Please RSVP to: https://ww4.premconf.com/webrsvp/register?conf_id=3220874

This Chat will be a Web Conference.

How to prepare for the web conference

Customers, business partners and vendors:

  • When joining the web conference, you will be asked for an IBM ID and password.
  • If this is your first IBM Web Conference, attend the special “test” meeting to make sure that you can join easily. Please visit http://www.ibm.com/collaboration/collaboratenowauth/ and click “test meeting”
  • To join the conference, a Windows 2000 or Windows XP computer is required.

IBM employees:

  • Please use your w3.ibm.com intranet ID and password.
  • If this is your first IBM Web Conference, attend the special “test” meeting to make sure that you can join easily. Please visit http://w3.ibm.com/e-meetings/webconferences and click “Connectivity Test”.

The next Chat will be 2 November.

Conference Corner

IDUG 2006 – North America
In conjunction with the International Informix Users Group (IIUG)
7-11 May 2006 – – Tampa Convention Center – – Tampa, Florida

It looks far away but if you are preparing your budget for 2006 make sure it is covered. The 2005 conference in Denver was a great success. We will do our best to make this one even better.

If you are considering presenting at the conference this is a last call.

All Informix content will be under the complete direction of the IIUG Conference Planning Committee.

See the links below for presentation opportunities.

Call for Presentations Submission Guidelines:

Call for Presentations Submission Form:

You will receive one complimentary IDUG 2006 – North America conference registration, if your presentation abstract is selected to be delivered at the conference.

Presentation requirements

IDUG is soliciting presentation abstracts, which delve into the details of implementation, migrating to a new release, or maximizing performance from any member of the Informix product family.* In recognition of the complex requirements of today’s database implementations, IIUG is also soliciting presentation abstracts relating to tools and utilities solutions complementary to the Informix product family.

All presentations must be strongly technical in nature, cannot contain marketing themes, and must compliment the Informix product family:

*The Informix Product Family includes Informix Dynamic Server (IDS), Informix 4GL, Informix SQL, Informix ESQL/C, Standard Engine (SE), Online (5.X), XPS, EGL, RedBrick and other related Informix products.

Presentation topics

IIUG strives to achieve a balanced conference program of business solutions relevant to today’s IT environment and usage of Informix on one or more platforms (e.g., Windows, Linux, UNIX). Past presentation topics have included:

  • Experiences relating to the implementation of, or migration to, new releases of Informix
  • Tips on managing or improving the performance of a Informix environment
  • Tips on managing or improving the availability of a Informix environment
  • New and creative implementation and use of Informix features
  • Clever ways Application Programmers have used Informix features or utilities
  • Experiences using Informix for e-business applications
  • Experiences using Informix for ERP applications
  • Experiences using Informix for data warehousing and business intelligence applications
  • Experiences using IDS’s object-relational functionality
  • Instances where your company has taken Informix to the limit and lived to tell about it
  • Experiences with information integration of Informix applications
  • Informix User Experiences
  • Information Integration
  • Web Services

Free registration, industry recognition, and the chance to travel at IDUG’s expense!

If your presentation is selected to be delivered at IDUG 2006 – North America, you will receive one complimentary conference registration. Dual presenters are eligible for one free conference registration and a second registration a reduced rate. The conference registration fee includes access to all conference activities, scheduled meals and social functions, program materials, conference proceedings, and a one-year IDUG membership.

The hidden values of a Tech Conference

I have been speaking at technical conferences for many years now – always on Informix IDS or XPS. It is one of my favorite activities during the year. Still, my real passion – since 1982 – is teaching in a classroom setting. The “personal touch” and ability to “dive deep” with a whiteboard is unparalleled for technical learning. But when asked, “should I attend the Tech Conference, or take a class?”, believe it or not, that is a tough question to answer! However, it’s easy when you realize that each person has a different need. For someone brand new to a product, I would always recommend the classroom. For someone with experience, strongly consider a Tech Conference.

Many weigh in with concern for the high cost of a conference. “I could take a class for that money!” is a typical phrase I hear. So let me expand on the “hidden values” of a Tech Conference to help you in making your decision. (If I were to expand on the values of a classroom, I’d finish by the time my grandkids are ready for a Tech Conference…and they’re not even born yet!)

A Tech Conference provides many, many benefits:

  • A wide variety of technical topics – Should you choose to “spread yourself thin.” Some attend a conference and focus on one area, but it is not the majority. Now – one must remember when attending almost any presentation that the information typically cannot be as “deep” as a classroom. But many times that is the desire – to expose the mind to new concepts to determine if deeper knowledge is required.
  • Networking – This area is one of the strongest reasons to attend a Tech Conference. The subject matter experts presenting will typically be available to meet afterwards, ask questions, and do follow-up if requested. But many times in my presentations, I will encourage “audience participation” during the presentation – even to the extent of letting them “have the floor” – to tell a real-life story about their usage or “best practice” with the product or topic. Being able to meet other customers with similar experiences can help tremendously. And in this economy, this can also be helpful for those fearful of their current jobs’ longevity. I personally think that it has very strong appeal – I want to keep the technical expertise “in the (Informix) family”, versus losing them to another vendor when they are seeking employment.
  • Feedback to me – One great value to me as a presenter is the feedback during the presentation. I’ve always referred to it as “fishing” for information – whether it is a survey of satisfaction in the product, or to find out where the audience knowledge is with respect to the current topic. Either way, I have used this info in many other presentations or classroom settings. Many times I am able to say “…well this year at conference, when I asked the audience how many use, for example, HPL, it was only 30%…” That audience is now aware of a broader range of customer experience – without having been at the conference themselves.
  • Product futures – Tech conferences are typically much better for sharing the product direction or current development efforts. Many times, that is THE topic of the talk. At least in my classrooms, to take valuable, formal education time from the classroom to talk about product futures is typically not a good use of time.
  • Ask the Experts panels – Almost every tech conference will have one or more of these panels. This is a marvelous way for clients to get almost any question answered. If not, they typically have made contact with one of the panel members, and further follow-up can help resolve any question or issue.

As most clients that have attended my classes or presentations know, I could “go on forever” on most topics – including this one. I encourage all “techies” to consider both conferences and the classroom setting as venues for education. IBM hosts many conferences throughout the year, including the upcoming IDUG/IIUG Technical Conference in Tampa, FL 8-11 May 2006. There are full-day educational sessions on Sunday, 07 May, followed by a full week of shorter track sessions/presentations.

See you in Tampa!!

Mark Scranton
IIUG Board of Directors

About Mark Scranton

Mark Scranton is a worldwide technical specialist responsible for sales enablement of the Informix product portfolio. Mark is a frequent speaker at International Informix Users Groups and IBM technical conference meetings. He has also authored and co-authored computer-based training modules, a professional certification exam, IBM white papers, and an IBM Redbook.

Informix User Forum 2005

Informix User Forum 2005 – Moving Forward With Informix Solutions for IBM Informix Users A Two-Day User Group Technical Conference 8-9 December in Atlanta, GA

Preparations are continuing for Informix User Forum 2005 that will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, 8-9 December.

This year’s Forum will feature two full days of technical sessions, plus vendor exhibits and presentations. We will have not only well known Informix experts presenting, but also a number of speakers who may be not so widely known but are nonetheless qualified. Two of our presenters, Lester Knutsen and Darryl Priest, took top honors for their sessions at the IDUG/IIUG conference earlier this year in Denver.

As someone close to the planning process, I can report that interest in this conference is high, with it garnering even international attention. For the latest details on the sessions, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, visit the Forum website using the links listed below.

Informix User Forum 2005 promises to provide great technical content, plus opportunities to network with fellow users and gain access to information on the latest vendor offerings. This, combined with an early registration fee of US$50.00 for the entire conference, makes the value of this event hard to beat.

For more information on Informix User Forum 2005:


For more information on Registration:


For more information on Sessions:


For more information on our Sponsors:


Registration is open. Please register now to take advantage of our early bird discount. If you have questions not answered on our website, contact forum2005@iiug.org

New Informix User Group in Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan – 22 September 2005

The Taiwan Informix User Group (TWIUG) was officially launched at the preliminary steering committee meeting held on 21 September at the Landis Hotel, Yang Ming Shan. Representatives of Asus Tek, Chi Mei Hospital, Chunghwa Telecom, First Bank, MassMutual Mercuries Life, IBM, and CobraSonic Software agreed to launch the new user group in order to foster exchange of experiences and knowledge with other people who share an interest in using Informix technology.

The objectives of the group include gaining access to information about Informix software products, networking with other Informix users, and giving a strong voice to Informix users from Taiwan in the International Informix User Group (IIUG) to influence Informix product enhancements and product strategy.

The first meeting of the user group is planned for later this year. The user group is open to everyone. To join, send an email to twiug@iiug.org.

The TWIUG website is /twiug.

For more information, please contact Burghardt Groeber at bgroeber@cobrasonic.com
Tel. +886 9 1200 0839

Gillani’s Recent Encounter with the 4GL to EGL Conversion Tool

EGL (Enterprise Generation Language) is a simplified high level programming language that lets users write full-function applications quickly, so they can focus on the business logic rather than on complex software technologies. One of the components of this tool is the 4GL to EGL conversion tool. This component will let you convert IBM Informix 4GL code to EGL code.

Gillani R&D team recently participated in evaluation (Beta Testing) of the 4GL to EGL Conversion Tool with IBM. As part of the project, Gillani utilized one of its program modules from iDistribute V8.1 (read more about this application at http://www.gillani.com/IDistrbuteproducts.htm). We successfully converted these 4GL programs generated with FourGen CASE Tools to EGL. The team discovered that EGL does not support GOTO statements, which allow control of a program to be moved to any location in a .4gl program module. Essentially, a workaround was discovered for this issue.

Another challenge one would face today with EGL, is that it doesn’t support converting 4GL forms to GUI forms. The conversion is done to TUI (text based interface). Although users of EGL can benefit greatly by browser-enabling their 4GL programs, the lack of GUI facility is a challenge for now. Most 4GL developers would have to wait till IBM comes back with a release that supports 4GL forms to GUI forms conversion as well.

Syed Kamal
CEO Gillani

About Syed Kamal

Syed Kamal is a regular contributor to IIUG Insider, and currently serves as the NTIUG president in Dallas, Texas. He is the CEO of Gillani, Inc., an ISV and IBM Partner with Informix-4GL based code generation tools, ERP/Accounting and supply chain management solutions and can be contacted at kamal@gillani.com.

IBM developerWorks Informix zone

The Infoxmix zone in IBM developerWorks is a valuable source of technical information. It can be reached at the following URL:


If you are interested in the following article, you can go to it directly at: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/db2/library/techarticle/dm-0508houston

Perform cross-database operations on opaque data types with Informix Dynamic Server 10.00

Joaquim Zuzarte
Software Engineer, Informix/DB2 Products, IBM

Tom Houston
Advisory Software Engineer, IBM

This article describes a new feature of IBM Informix ® Dynamic Server 10.00 that extends support for opaque data types to distributed operations on multiple databases of the same server instance. Cross-database operations such as SELECT queries, CREATE VIEW statements, and calls to UDRs can reference and manipulate values of built-in opaque data types and of opaque or distinct UDTs that can be explicitly cast to built-in data types.

Calendar of events

October – 2005
Date Event Location
5 Washington (DC) Area Informix User Group Meeting IBM Facility, Bethesda, Maryland
19 New England Informix User Group Meeting IBM Facilities, Lexington, Mass
26 Ontario Informix User Group Meeting Toronto, Canada
November – 2005
Date Event Location
9 UK Informix User Group Meeting IBM, Warwick
December – 2005
Date Event Location
8 Informix Forum Atlanta, Georgia

Useful links

In response to your input, we have created a 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: Gary Ben-Israel
Stuart Litel
Jean Georges Perrin

For comments, please send an email to gary@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.