At the end of May, I flew to Germany to both attend and present at the first NoSQL Matters conference.
It was an excellent event, with a turn out of roughly 250 people and 30 presentations. Google presented, 10Gen presented and even Salvatore Sanfilippo of Redis fame presented.
My slide deck (introducing Rocket U2 databases and some of the basics of the MultiValue model) is freely available on the conferences website, so be sure to check it out: Rocket U2 Databases & The MultiValue Model.
Prior to this conference, I presented a range of topics at U2 University in Denver. If you are in Europe or Australia, I highly encourage you to come along to U2U UK Cheshire or U2U Australia in Sydney. I’ll be presenting on HTML5, Security, U2 Dynamic Objects as well as running a lab on the U2 Basic Code Coverage Project. Be sure to attend the U2 Leadership panel where you can ask us questions as well as provide you feedback.
To the nominees in the U2UG Election, as well as the incoming President,
Let me first state that I’m extremely appreciative of the time and effort that the members of the U2UG Board have and are putting in for the benefit of the community. For a community to be sustained and grow, the community needs leaders to give it direction, to foster innovation and to support facilities that enable the community to learn, share and interact.
Without a community of active developers and product champions, a development stack will stagnate, no new solutions will emerge and hence employment opportunities for those skilled in the stack will eventually diminish.
So it makes sense that when we have the privilege of voting for community leaders, an educated decision based not only upon their credentials, but the direction they aspire to lead the community in, that we should make the most of out.
For these reasons I have a few questions for the two gentleman who have nominated for Vice President (Charles Barouch & David Jordan). Understanding the incoming President’s (Laura Hirsh) thoughts on these questions would be also be beneficial.
- What do you see as the most important role of the U2UG?
- How do you see the “International User Group” supporting existing local user groups and helping establish new local user groups?
- What specifically do you think will increase the active member-base of the U2UG and how do you intend to monitor this?
- What do you think can be done to attract new developers & ISVs to U2 and where do you see the role of the U2UG in this?
- What do you hope to achieve by the end of this term if you are elected and how do you see it benefiting the community? How will you measure your success in this?
I understand this is a lot of questions to answer in the short time before the voting closes, but your answers will us understand vote exactly we are voting for.
PS: Should the two nominating for ‘Member at Large’ wish to answer, their thoughts would be greatly appreciated as well.
Rocket U2 Developer Zone
I spent last week at the U2 University in Sydney and had a great time. During the opening keynote speech, Rocket announced the new U2 Developer Zone.
Great news! Finally a public site for developers that links all the resources you would expect. White papers, podcasts, demos, links to manuals, personal editions of the database servers. Not just a public site, but a public site for developers from Rocket itself. That’s what we needed, strong, visible vendor support of the development community.
It is still a bit rough with a fair amount of content missing, but it has enough in there to make it worth signing up (free) to check it out.
It breaks the site down into 4 key areas.
Ignite is aimed at new players and features explanations of what Multi-Value Databases are, some information about U2 as well as summaries of the Developer & Admin tools available for download.
Launch works on getting a developer up and running as quickly as possible with instructions and links for downloading and installing both the UniVerse/UniData servers, as well as their 4GL tool – SB/XA. A bonus is some professional looking video tutorials for getting them up and running.
Accelerate is focused more on in-depth content of the system with various articles and tutorials that have been produced by Rocket as well as some community figures as well.
Dock appears to be aimed at the forming a community/developer collaboration. It has links to U2UG as well as Rocket U2 on Facebook and Twitter (even though the twitter link is missing on the site at the moment). It also has a message board, but this appears to be one of those unfinished features for the time being.
One point of disappointment at the moment is ‘The Wall’ it throws up to get any content. It requires you to sign-up and log in before you can actually access the content. While I can appreciate their probable reasonings for this and appreciate it is still free, I believe this is one of those things that will prevent those who stop by from search results/ideal curiosity from actually getting involved.
By throwing up a wall, instead of openly allowing read-only access, it has a 2 fold effect. First, google (and other search engines) will not be able to correctly index the content. In an age where > 90% of website traffic generally comes from search engines, this is definitely not ideal. The other negative effect is that the bounce rate of people not currently involved will surely be higher.
Hopefully they will review this decision and decided upon a more open and effective path.
U2 PHP PDO Driver
So, my title indicated something about a U2 PHP PDO Driver and you were not mislead. While at the U2U Conference I had the pleasure of, among others, speaking with Jackie from Rocket Software. At one point the conversation turned towards dynamic languages and in particular, PHP. I was told that some tutorials had actually been written on getting PHP to natively connect to U2 and should be able to be found on the new developer site. Bingo!
After some quick searching on the site, I present you 2 links so you can build your own native connector between PHP and U2:
- Building the PDO Driver – Tutorial + Source code
- Using your new U2 PHP PDO Driver – Tutorial + downloadable example
Hopefully you find this useful!
Have you ever heard of The Joel Test? If not, go read it now.
Have you read it yet? No? Go on, read it!
Okay, welcome back!
What I’m curious about here is how well the U2 (even the wider MV) community fairs along these lines. Support for source control is a bit behind and from talking with people in some other U2 shops, the pervasion of real modern tools isn’t too crash hot. I’d be really surprised if any of us get greater than 9 but equally surprised if we were below 4 for anyone with more than 4 developers.
So let’s hear it. Give your honest answer (don’t sugar coat it!).
Although your answer will be anonymous (feel free to elaborate your scores in a comment however!), I’ll kick it off by giving the results as I see it for where I am now.
We scored 5 out of 12. Not completely horrible, but not ideal either. I’ll post the blow-by-blow break down in the comment section for those that are interested.
I’ll admit it. I was quite sceptical when I was first introduced to UniData. It was different from other systems I was familiar with. It also seemed quite antiquated. It didn’t help that I was introduced to it via a green screen and single line editor that was preached as “very powerful” because it could do the equivalent of ‘Find & Replace’
It does have its charm, however. It also exceeds in areas where other solutions don’t.
The biggest problem I still have with U2 over other stacks out there, is the community. Now, the problem isn’t the people in the community. The problem is size and accessibility of the community compared to the mainstream stacks. This is especially true for newer users/developers as their normal sources of information generally pull up empty regarding U2.
StackOverflow (programming), ServerFault (Server admin) and SuperUser (End-User) have quickly become one of those “One-Stop-Shops” for Q&A’s for large number of admins, developers and users. I am one of those developers. I even link to it on the right-side here. I have not gone there for U2 answers though, since I know there is only a small handful who know about UniData or UniVerse that frequent it.
Evan Carrol recently posted about StackOverflow/ServerFault as an alternative medium. I completely agree and find that while the mail-list serves it’s purpose, I found the above trilogy of sites to have a far more useful system in place. I also believe that more activity at these sites will be far more useful and easy to find for new players.
From now one, if I post a question on the mailing list, I will also post on the appropriate above site. I also encourage any others in the U2 world to do the same.
That isn’t the only problem facing the community when competing with the mainstream stacks. U2 has a unique business model which causes users to not only be isolated from the actual U2 team by “middlemen” (resellers, etc) who act as first line support, but also isolating the users from each other. The U2 User Group helps, but I feel still doesn’t negate this initial segregation.
Comprehensive introduction tutorials (not just for the core product, but also the additional bolt-on products), a more direct route for reporting bugs to Rocket and an easier to use community site would go along way to closing the gap.
That’s my opinion anyway.
U2Tech is the place where you can see my thoughts on Development in the U2 world. From what I love about it to what really irks me. Although I only professional work with UniData, the sister system UniVerse won’t be left in the cold.
Not only will there be my potentially inane ramblings, but also posts on development progress of Open Source Tools for U2 and some fun coding challenges. I’ll be talking about secure development for U2 and will touch on performance considerations for those time/space critical sections of your system.
It is good to see the U2 team furthering the tools available to developers, but U2 still has a long way to go in catching up to other modern languages.
Hopefully we can help.