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July 1998 Newsletter

Volume 8, No. 3

Highlights of This Issue

  Next Meeting Agenda - September 16, 1998

This meeting will feature two presentations that members of our user group are giving at the Informix Worldwide conference plus news from the conference.

Transitioning to Informix Dynamic Server on NT from UNIX

By Mike Tinius, Principal Systems Engineer, Informix Software, Inc.

This session focuses on Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) on NT. This session compares IDS on NT with IDS on UNIX in three major areas: Architecture, Product Installation, Monitoring and Tuning. Attendees familiar with IDS on UNIX will walk away with valuable and insightful knowledge on how to transition to Informix Dynamic Server on NT. See IDS installed on NT. Explore performance monitoring and tuning strategies.

Using CLI to Connect to Informix Databases through ODBC

By James Edmiston, Senior Software Engineer, Science Applications International Corporation

In this presentation we will discuss how to enable third-party tools to access Informix databases through ODBC by installing and configuring Informix CLI for Microsoft Windows environments. This is important because there are many products on the market for developing client applications that utilize the ODBC standard. We will also explore the additional Informix connectivity products and components packaged in the Informix Client Software Developers Kit (SDK).

Date and Time: September 16, 1998,  9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon
Location:  Informix Software Corporation
8065 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Vienna, VA 22182
The meeting is open to everyone. Please RSVP to 703-256-0267, ext. 4, so we can keep an attendance count.

Newsletter Sponsorship

The user group has been supported by many companies over the years. We would like to thank the following companies for sponsoring this issue:

  • Advanced DataTools Corporation
  • Sallie Mae
  • Summit Data Group
  • UCI Consulting, Inc.
Last Meeting - Data Warehouse on the Web

This meeting hosted a presentation of a case study on the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) implementation of a Web-enabled Data Warehouse project. The BLM Financial Management Information System is designed to provide users in 350 field offices and headquarters easy access to accurate financial information in a single unified system. The warehouse uses Informix Dynamic Server as the database and Brio Technology's Web enabled query tools. The system was up and running March 31, 1998, on schedule and under budget. It has been nominated for the "Data Warehousing Institute Best Practices Awards," and was featured as a lab at the Reinvention Revolution Conference for Government Agencies. The speakers and presentations included:
 

  • Peter Ertman, Project Manager, BLM The Project Overview, Goals, Results and Project Demo.
  • Lester Knutsen, Database Consultant, ADTC How BLM developed and implemented a web-enabled data warehouse.
  • Marty O'Keefe, Informix Consulting How BLM used the Informix Superstore to plan the project.
  • Risa Freedman, Brio Technology How to web-enable databases using the Brio Query products.
WAIUG Sponsorship

The user group has been supported by many companies over the past years. Please contact Nick Nobbe, Program/Sponsorship Director, at 202-707-0548, or Lester Knutsen, President, 703-256-0267, for more information about sponsorship opportunities.

Presentation at Meetings - We invited selected vendors for presentations at our meetings.

Newsletter Sponsorship - The newsletter is produced quarterly. Each mailing goes to over 900 users in the Washington area. Companies sponsoring the newsletter may place a one page ad. This is a great way to announce a new product or job opening to 900 Informix users.

Local Forums - We have held four one-day Forums for our members, offering numerous seminar sessions and an exhibit hall with 10-18 vendors demonstrating products which work with Informix. These events have been attended by over 200 people.


Links to external articles in this newsletter
(Editor's note: Due to the file size these articles are separate web pages)
New Features of Informix Dynamic Server 7.3
by Kevin Fennimore
Using CLI to Connect to Informix Databases through ODBC
by James Edmiston
Application Development Strategies
by Ron Flannery
Web/CGI Scripts to Monitor your Informix Server
by Lester Knutsen

Informix-Related Internet Resources
By Walt Hultgren

This is a listing of some of the more popular Informix-related sites and resources on the Internet. Many of these are maintained by the International Informix Users Group (IIUG).

The listing portion of this document is available as a Web page and may be found at "http://www.iiug.org/popular.html".

Sites and Resources:  



  www.iiug.org                  IIUG Web site
    /iiug/membership_app.html   On-Line IIUG membership application
    /iiug/confirm_member.html   IIUG membership confirmation requests
    /local/grps_world.html      Worldwide listing of Informix user groups
    /other_sites.html           List of other Informix-related sites
    /rumors/                    Informix Rumors page
    /software/                  IIUG software repository
    /techinfo/faq/              The Informix FAQ Listing
    /usenet/cdi_archive.html    comp.databases.informix/informix-list archive
  ftp.iiug.org                  IIUG FTP Archive site
  ftp.mathcs.emory.edu          Mirror site
    /pub/informix/              Top directory for IIUG anonymous FTP archive
    /pub/informix/README        File explaining archive organization
    /pub/informix/ls-lR         Modified "ls -lR" output for entire archive
    /pub/informix/faq/          The Informix FAQ Listing
  www.informix.com              Informix corporate Web site
    /answers/                   Answers OnLine - on-line product documentation
                                  in PDF, HTML or both
    /catalog/                   Informix Solutions Guide
    /informix/corpinfo/         Worldwide listing of Informix user groups
     usrgrups/usrgrups.htm
    /informix/products/dlprod/  Web/database information and free software
     webkits/docentry.htm
    /informix/services/         InformixLink Techinfo Center (login with
     introti.htm                  password required)  

The above listings are but a brief summary of what is available.  To learn more, visit each of the sites mentioned and do a
little investigating. The remainder of this message contains information primarily for people just learning about IIUG or
the Internet.

INTERNATIONAL INFORMIX USERS GROUP - IIUG

The International Informix Users Group (IIUG) maintains publicly available archives of user-contributed documentation, shareware files, and articles from the Usenet newsgroup comp.databases.informix and its companion e-mail mailing list, Informix-List. You can access the archives either via a Web browser or anonymous FTP.

The Web archives are maintained at the IIUG Web site, which may be reached by linking to the URL "http://www.iiug.org". All archive files and c.d.i articles are kept there in plain text, so you can search, view or download any of them. If you have problems reaching the IIUG Web site, contact "webmaster@www.iiug.org" via e-mail.

There are two systems that maintain versions of the archives that are accessible via Anonymous FTP. "FTP" stands for File Transfer Protocol, and is designed primarily for moving files between systems. The "Anonymous" part refers to a convention that allows anyone to log into a special area of a system that the administrator has made publicly available. When you ftp to a system, it will ask you for your login-ID. To access the public area, enter an ID of "anonymous". When asked for a password, enter your full e-mail address. This is also convention, though some sites now force the entry of a string that looks like an e-mail address.

The primary IIUG ftp site is ftp.iiug.org (IP 206.175.175.254). It is mirrored at ftp.mathcs.emory.edu (IP 170.140.150.1). The Informix archives on these two system are synchronized each night. All archive files on the IIUG Web site are also in the FTP archives, though many of the FTP files are compressed.

There are a number of other Informix-related archive sites around the Net that are dedicated to specific software, local user group archives, or other special purposes. You may obtain a listing of these by linking to the URL "http://www.iiug.org/other_sites.html" on the Web or downloading the file "ftp://ftp.iiug.org/pub/informix/doc/archive_sites" via FTP.

If you only have e-mail access to the Net, you can still retrieve FTP files via e-mail using a service called "ftpmail".

Listed below are both an example of an interactive anonymous ftp session, and a sample message that would be sent to an ftpmail server site. If you have problems accessing either of the sites mentioned here, please send e-mail to "ftp@ftp.iiug.org".

USING ANONYMOUS FTP

If you've never used anonymous FTP, here is a quick primer, in the form of a sample session on ftp.iiug.org with comments in {}. Lines where you type something are marked with "<<<":  


  $ ftp ftp.iiug.org                          {or: ftp 206.175.175.254} <<<
  Connected to ftp.iiug.org
  220 iiug FTP server ((UNIX(r) System V Release 4.0) ready.
  Name (ftp.iiug.org:walt): anonymous                                   <<<
  331 Guest login ok, send ident as password.
  Password: walt@rmy.emory.edu           {use your e-mail address here} <<<
  230 Guest login ok, access restrictions apply.
  ftp> cd pub/informix                                                  <<<
  250 CWD command successful.
  ftp> get README                                                       <<<
  200 PORT command successful.
  226 ASCII Transfer complete.
  ftp> get ls-lR                                                        <<<
  200 PORT command successful.
  226 ASCII Transfer complete.
          .
          .       {repeat this step for each file you want}
          .
  ftp> quit                                                             <<<
  221 Goodbye.
  %


USING AN FTP MAIL SERVER TO DO ANONYMOUS FTP VIA E-MAIL

There are sites connected to the Internet that provide mail servers for use by anyone who doesn't have access to FTP. Such a server acts as an intermediary that takes your request by e-mail, gets the files you want from the FTP site you specify, then e-mails those files back to you.

One of the best known sites is located at the DEC Western Research Lab in Palo Alto, CA, USA. You communicate with the retrieval utility by sending e-mail to the address "ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com". To obtain a help message, send an e-mail message to that address consisting of the word "help". The instructions for that server will be returned to you in an e-mail message.

As an example, to get the files "README" and "ls-lR" from /pub/informix on ftp.iiug.org, send a message to ftpmail@decwrl.dec.com like the following:   



 reply <your domain-style e-mail address or bang-path from decwrl goes here>
  connect ftp.iiug.org
  chdir /pub/informix
  get README
  get ls-lR
  quit


Walt Hultgren                      Internet: walt@rmy.emory.edu
Emory University                UUCP: {...,gatech,rutgers,uunet}!emory!rmy!walt
954 Gatewood Road, NE        BITNET: walt@EMORY
Atlanta, GA  30329  USA       Voice: +1 404 727 0648


INFORMIX EXPANDS APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT TOOLS SUITE WITH INFORMIX DYNAMIC 4GL
Press Releases

Informix Dynamic 4GL Delivers True Graphical User Interfaces To 4GL Applications

BURLINGAME, Calif. Informix Partner Forum (June 4, 1998) -- Informix Corporation (NASDAQ:IFMX), the leading provider of innovative database technology, announced expansion of its application development tools suite, with the introduction of an exciting new product, Informix(R) Dynamic 4GL.

Informix Dynamic 4GL enables transformation of character based 4GL programs into Windows and Motif Graphical User Interface (GUI) database applications, with a simple recompile. Informix Dynamic 4GL enables VARs and database developers to respond to key market and business pressure, by providing high performance, robust, visual applications, at low cost and in short time frames, without sacrificing their existing investment in applications, infrastructure and staff.

"Informix believes in an open systems approach to application development," said Steve Hill, vice president and general manager, Tools Business Unit, Informix. "We are committed to ensuring that our partners and corporate developers are able to use their preferred, mainstream development environments to develop and deploy database-aware applications. Delivering Informix Dynamic 4GL is part of our commitment to help our customers and partners deliver competitive solutions."

Informix Dynamic-4GL Takes Partner Applications To A New Level Informix VARs and end users depend on INFORMIX-4GL for their core business applications. New business requirements demand a solution that allows them to easily migrate users to newer, easy to use, visually appealing GUI environments, without losing existing investments in hardware, software, and human resources. Informix Dynamic 4GL leverages existing code and infrastructure, so that complex character based 4GL applications, with thousands of screens and millions of lines of code, can be deployed with enhanced, visual interfaces in months, not years. Businesses benefit by delivering visually appealing and competitive front-end applications, while maintaining their mature code and reliable feature set.

Informix Dynamic 4GL offers customers a choice of deployment options from character, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows NT and X11 Window System (UNIX and Macintosh) clients, to NT and UNIX servers. Informix Dynamic 4GLÆs "thin client" three tier architecture, combined with these flexible deployment options allows customers to deploy new, state of the art GUI applications within existing desktop and network infrastructures. Businesses are able to upgrade to higher end desktops and networks according to their business needs, not according to the demands of a new application.

Kent McNall, president of Apropos Retail Management Systems, an Informix partner and provider of retail chain solutions said, "Informix Dynamic 4GL allowed us to rapidly develop a competitive new user interface for our application suites, while retaining our mature, stable code base.

One of the major benefits of our thin-client solution is the ability for our customers to retain their investment in legacy hardware as they migrate naturally to newer systems," McNall continued. "Many retailers have large investments in 386 and 486 PCÆs as well as ASCII terminals which might not have the capability of running a 'fat client' application under Windows 95. Those systems will run our applications with excellent performance. The fact that Informix Dynamic 4GL enables us to run the same code and GUI interface on everything from Windows 95/386-based PCÆs to the latest UNIX or Windows NT systems is a real bonus. We don't know of a more flexible approach on the market."

Informix Dynamic 4GL is an entirely new product, re-architected from the core, with significant performance advances and feature set expansions, as compared to INFORMIX-4GL. Powered by technology licensed from Four J' Development Tools, Informix Dynamic 4GL incorporates sophisticated advances in compiler, development tools, runtime environments, and virtual machine technology. "We are extremely pleased to be working closely with Informix on this exciting new product," commented Jean-Georges Schwartz, managing director, Four J's Development Tools. "Informix Dynamic 4GL represents a real future for 4GL, and for businesses who demand state of the art interfaces with no sacrifices in performance or manageability."

Informix Dynamic 4GL Saves Development Costs - Leverages Existing Investments

Because Informix Dynamic 4GL leverages existing applications and infrastructure, customers benefit from substantial savings over alternative re-engineering efforts. The costs of re-engineering with a new development tool are significant, and the resulting, "Version 1" application may lack the robust characteristics and rich features of the original product. Since Informix Dynamic 4GL is based on 100% INFORMIX-4GL, partners and customers get the best of both worlds - state of the art interfaces, and a mature, reliable application. Informix Dynamic 4GL allows customers to leverage their familiarity with 4GL application development along with the high performance capabilities of the companyÆs line of Informix Dynamic Server(TM) databases. The implementation of new interfaces happens in months, not in years as re-engineering efforts take place, and the transition is smooth and predictable. For many customers, this low risk, fast time to market approach can be critical to their business success.

"Using Informix Dynamic 4GL enabled us to quickly achieve a high return on our investment by providing for a rapid time-to-market solution that preserves past investments made by us and our customers and prospects ù especially when compared to the time and expense that is involved in re-engineering efforts," said Jack Stork, vice president of Customer Services for Pentamation."

Another important cost savings is the inclusion of the Informix Dynamic Virtual Machine (DVM) in Informix Dynamic 4GL. DVM allows developers to write 4GL applications once, and run them anywhere where the DVM has been ported. In addition to reduced porting demands, applications which run on the DVM consume less disk space and memory, significantly reducing hardware and memory costs. New development is also simplified because only one set of source code is developed, maintained and deployed across multiple client and server platforms.

Informix Provides Choice Of Tools For Application Development InformixÆs application development tools suite provides partners and customers with a choice of development options so they can build solutions based on their particular needs and skills base. For partners and developers who select a visual, client side IDE for programming languages such Basic, Java and C++, Informix provides open APIs that give fast, industry standard access to their high performance databases. The Informix Data Director(TM) product family builds on these APIs to provide even more developer productivity, and tighter integration with Informix database products. And for those who need a visual environment and the power of 4GL, Informix provides Informix Dynamic 4GL.

"Informix Dynamic 4GL is targeted at expanding our partnersÆ existing and new business, by giving their customers higher end user satisfaction, while retaining their investment in Informix applications and their current competitive presence in the marketplace," said Stephen Sykes, general manager of Informix 4GL Tools. "This exciting release demonstrates our continued commitment to give our partners and customers a choice of tools, so they can build robust solutions that leverage all the capabilities of our server."

Availability

Informix Dynamic 4GL is scheduled for availability in the third quarter of 1998. Pricing will be available at time of shipment.

About Informix

Informix Corporation, the world's database technology leader, based in Menlo Park, California, provides innovative database products that assist the world's major corporations to attain competitive advantage. Informix is widely recognized as the technology leader for corporate computing environments ranging from small workgroups to very large parallel processing applications. Informix's database servers, application development tools, superior customer service, and strong partnerships enable the company to be at the forefront of major information technology solution areas including data warehousing, OLTP, and Web/content management. For more information, visit our Web site at

http://www.informix.com.  


Washington Area Informix User Group Email List

The waiug-members mailing list is for announcements and discussions by members of the Washington (DC, USA) Area Informix User Group. The main goal of this email list is to share information among Informix users in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC areas. This is a discussion place for user group members. However, you don't have to be a member of the user group to subscribe to this mailing list. The email list is sponsered by the International Informix User Group using the Majordemo mailing list software on the IIUG computer system. Seth Grimes has volunteered to manage the list.

Listed below are some key facts about the list. When the instructions say to use a particular Majordomo command, this means you should send the specified text in the body of an e-mail message to "majordomo@iiug.org". Do not put commands in the Subject: header line, as it is ignored.

SUBSCRIBING -- The list is open to anyone who wishes to subscribe. To subscribe, use the Majordomo command "subscribe waiug-members".

If your address on the list needs to be something other than the one that appears on the "From:" line of your outgoing e-mail, use the Majordomo command "subscribe waiug-members your_address" where "your_address" is replaced by the address to which your list messages should be sent. Note that this request will be routed to the list manager for approval, so a subscription of this type may not take effect immediately.

POSTING MESSAGES -- You must be a subscriber to post to this list. Majordomo enforces this restriction by checking to see that the From: address of the posted message matches one of the subscriber addresses. This restriction may cause problems at a site that subscribes an e-mail alias that explodes list messages to several local users. Individual users at such a site will not be able to post to the list unless they can make their messages appear to come from the local alias.

MESSAGE ARCHIVE -- All messages posted to the waiug-members list are saved in monthly archive files. You must be a subscriber to this list to access the archive.

MORE INFORMATION -- For more information about these and other Majordomo features, use the Majordomo command "help". To contact the list's manager, send e-mail to "owner-waiug-members@iiug.org".


This newsletter is published by the Washington Area Informix User Group
Lester Knutsen, President/Editor
Washington Area Informix User Group
4216 Evergreen Lane, Suite 136, Annandale, VA 22003
Phone: 703-256-0267
lester@advancedatatools.com