This SYS-CON.TV webinar explores how Eclipse developers can use the Eclipse Data Tools Platform as a platform for rapid innovation, and combine their existing Eclipse skills with the Eclipse DTP and the Ingres DBMS to produce rich data based applications that seamlessly scale from the desktop to the data center. This webinar is ideal for Java developers who want to immediately become productive writing applications that slot right into an SOA architecture.
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Emma McGrattan joined Ingres as senior vice president of Engineering from CA where she held a similar position responsible for the Ingres family of relational database management products. Miss McGrattan started her career with Ingres in 1992, and has held a variety of senior development and management positions. Born in Ireland, Miss McGrattan earned a bachelor's degree in electronic engineering from Dublin City University.
TRANSCRIPT of Ingres SYS-CON.TV Webinar - "Eclipse DTP as a Platform for Rapid Innovation"
DENISE: Good morning, welcome to today’s Webcast entitled Eclipse DTP as a Platform for rapid innovation with MRK new products. Following the talk we’ll have a short question and answer session. You can ask questions at any time during the presentation via the Web using your ask-a-question box. Simply click in the open area of the ask-a-question box, type your question, and click the ask-a-question button to submit. If you should need technology assistance, type your entry into the tech support box on the left side of your screen and click the send button. It is now my pleasure to turn the Webcast over to Jeremy Geelan.
GEELAN: Thank you, Denise, and thank you for joining us out there on the World Wide Web. Jeremy Geelan with SYS-CON.TV, very pleased to introduce from Ingres Corporation, Emma K. McGrattan. Emma is responsible for the development and integration of the Ingres database and associated products and technologies; a leading authority in DBMS and open source technologies, Emma’s been instrumental in the ongoing success of the Ingres product line. Born in Ireland, she earned a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering from Dublin City University. Is that enough of a buildup, Emma? The world has come to you.
McGRATTAN: Thank you.
GEELAN: Eclipse DTP as a platform for rapid innovation. Over to you…
McGRATTAN: Wonderful. Thanks so much. So I’d like to add to Jeremy’s thanks for joining us today. My name is Emma McGrattan and I will be your host for the technology part of this presentation today. So let me start off by asking a couple of questions just to gauge the audience’s familiarity with the technologies that we’re going to discuss today. I’ve pushed a poll asking which database you use, and I have listed only the open source databases but I assume if you’re using something that’s closed source it will probably show up here under other. So it looks like we have a good mix here, a lot of Ingres users, people from ISQL and Postgress, and about a third of the audience is using something else. So that’s good, that helps me to gauge how much detail to go into here.
So the second thing that I’d like to ask about is whether or not you’re using Eclipse, so again it’s just to gauge the level of detail that we need to delve into when discussing Eclipse. So, wow, this is fantastic, okay, a lot of Eclipse users out there. Okay, so we’ve got about 60 percent using Eclipse and about 40 percent that aren’t. Okay, wonderful.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ingres, let me just take a minute out to outline where Ingres came from and what the technology is all about. I won’t spend too much detail on this but I would invite you to visit Ingres.com, which is our corporate Web site to learn more about the Ingres product line, and also to our community Web site, community.ingres.com, to become part of that, what is a very fast-growing community with new users showing up pretty much every minute.
The Ingres technology has been around for quite some time. It dates back to the early ’70s at UC Berkeley, and it was a project that was started by Michael Stonebraker, Eugene Wong, and a number of other very talented folks at Cal Berkeley. These guys are essentially perceived as the fathers of relational database technology. In the ’80s, Ingres was taken from being an open source project that was available under the Berkeley license to anybody who had the money for a source code tape, and it became a commercial entity in the early ’80s, a company called Relational Technology, Inc. It later changed its name to Ingres Corporation. I think it was thought it was easier to market the product and the company under a single brand. In 1990 it was acquired by a company called ASK Group and in ’94 by CA, so we’ve had a number of owners over the years, but in 2005, we actually took Ingres out of CA and set up a company that we also called Ingres Corporation and we’re focused on providing support and services around the technology. It’s an open source technology, which means there’s no upfront licensing fees, and it’s been very well proven in the field. It’s got over 10,000 customers in 58 countries who, on a daily basis, put the product through its paces in mission-critical and business-critical deployments.
What I have on the screen right now is a summary of the results from the Forrester Open Source Database wave last year. They measured databases in 20 to 30 different aspects of the technology, and we came out of it peer leader here. If you take a look at the screen here, in the top left-hand corner you will see the Ingres positioning on this graph. Unfortunately for us, the graphic artists seem to favor postscripts here and put their name up above us, but certainly in terms of the spread of the technology offering we’re perceived as being a leader head and shoulders above the competition.
As I said, the technology has been around for over three decades, so we don’t tend to have to talk about things like whether or not we support database procedures and views. These were all kind of taken as read when it comes it relational database technology. As I said, visit Ingres.com to learn more about the technology. I’m not going to spend too much time on that right now.
Moving along, we mentioned earlier, we spun Ingres out of CA in 2005, and what we’ve been doing since then is to try to grow a development community around Ingres. We’re very focused on the application development community because that’s where Ingres has traditionally had a very strong presence. People have for decades been building applications to deploy against Ingres and the enterprise, and what they tend to find is that the same Ingres that you put on your desktop to build an application will scale all the way up to powering up the data servers in the data center.
What we have done up until now is to support a wide variety of different application development environments, and what we’re trying to do is to really focus on the ones that we view as very important, and that provide a lot of productivity that preferably are open source solutions that can be developed by the community, because what we have found is there’s a lot of passion built up in development communities, and certainly a development community that’s targeted at building development tools is going to be ideal. What we found with Eclipse is there’s a huge community out there that’s looking to build an application development environment that allows you to be very productive and to innovate and to kind of forget about what’s happening behind the scenes and really focus on what’s important which is developing the business logic code.
We’ve become part of the Eclipse community. We were very recently at the Eclipse conference out in Santa Clara and right now we’re looking to join the Eclipse Foundation and to become committers on various Eclipse projects related to database platforms, to modeling, and things of that ilk. I feel that Eclipse is a perfect match for Ingres Icebreaker, and I will talk in detail about Icebreaker in a couple of slides. Essentially Ingres Icebreaker is our latest innovation in terms of delivering a database appliance that is a combination of the Ingres database and the R Patch Linux operating system. What you get is a single unit that contains both the operating system components required to support the database and the database itself, and the beauty of this is that we provide an integrated maintenance stream, so you don’t need to think about what operating system patches are a prerequisite for installing databases patches, and so on. The entire maintenance stream is integrated and can be automated to a level that you’re comfortable with. I’ll talk about that in a couple of slides.
I thought I’d talk a little bit about the fact that there’s new capabilities that are afforded to Ingres through the Eclipse project, the Eclipse DTP, and I’ll have a couple of screen shots later where we’ll show off these new capabilities.
If you’ll bear with me for a couple of minutes here I’d like to just kind of give you some background as to what we at Ingres Corporation view as what is driving the software market dynamics today. The way we view things is back in the ’70s and the early ’80s, there were a lot of companies that were building their own data platforms, a lot of companies built their own databases or built data integration technologies that allowed them to serve up the data that they needed in the enterprise.
It became very expensive to do this and there were a lot of companies that felt that they were undergoing projects that were identical to projects underway and they were competitors to other companies in their market, and what we found is that a number of database companies sprung up in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, Relational Technology, Oracle, Sybase and so on, a bunch of companies that focused on delivering relational database solutions. And the customers essentially felt that because they could free up their resources that had previously been focused on the serving of data challenge, if they could free up those resources to focus on the business, then they were quite willing to pay large sums of money for the technology that they were getting back because they felt there was a lot of value in it.
What happened in the mid-’80s and then through to fairly recent times is that what people have felt is that they are paying ever-increasing prices for database technologies and they really don’t feel like they’re getting the value for that that they perhaps got in the earlier days. They’re getting new features that are somewhat niche and perhaps not necessarily needed in their business. They’re being asked to fund these new developments and perhaps aren’t making use of them and certainly don’t perceive it as being a good value for money. We believe this is what’s driving the open source movement; the fact that people feel like they’re not getting value for the money they’re spending today has led them, we believe, to look at open source solutions where there is this perception that what you pay for is what you’re using.
In the case of Ingres we have no upfront licensing fee for the product, what you pay for is the knowledge or the insurance policy essentially that is a support subscription. If you encounter any problems with your Ingres deployment, you can rest assured that our 24/7 Enterprise support staff are available to help, to get you through those problems, to address any challenges that you may face, or to answer any questions that you may have. We really think that the market is going to be driven to equilibrium again and that open source is going to drive that.
Now, moving on, on this slide you can see that the breakdown of the annual IT budget spend essentially at the beginning of the fiscal year here when you take a glance at your budget, 75 to 80 percent of it is already spoken for. This is typically continuing to pay license fees for your co-source solutions, continuing to pay for support subscriptions, maintenance agreements, and just keeping the currently deployed technology in place. So what it means is that there’s very little money that’s left around at the beginning of the year to invest in new projects. And this is where we believe we play an important part. Because what we see in Ingres is that what we want to do is to allow you to derive maximum value from the money that you have to spend here on innovation. So we think it’s a low cost, high value platform, and we really want to support innovation, and you’ll see on the coming slides some of the things that we have done that will allow you to focus on innovation and delivering value to your business and not on just keeping the lights on technology.
This is looking at the money that you’re spending today for database. I think you could probably divide the database world into two halves. The first is what we would term the database-centric environment. Essentially here the database is the center of the universe but your applications are designed around the capabilities that the database affords. So the database really drives the business logic that you can deliver to the business and oftentimes you’re paying very high premiums for databases in this type of environment now.
But there seems to be a little bit of resentment about that because the databases are perceived as delivering a lot of value. On the right hand side of the screen is kind of this second camp here where we’re talking about an application-centric world. And in this type of database deployment, it really is the application that is delivering the value to the business. And the database is kind of there to support the application, but certainly it’s the application functionality and the business logic that it delivers that’s important and that is at the center of the operations here. So what we would challenge you to do is to look at your environment and see whether or not you fall into a database-centric camp or an application-centric camp, and once you do that to say, if I’m really all about the application why am I paying such high premiums for the databases that support those applications.
Now Ingres is suitable for deployment in both a database-centric or an application-centric environment. We certainly have proven that, and again, if you visit ingress.com you’ll see who’s using Ingres and how they’re using it for mission critical deployments. But really what we’re looking at here is how much value are you getting from this, and how much innovation is afforded to you in your environment through the use of your database technology.
Ingres Icebreaker is something I mentioned a few minutes ago, and essentially what we’ve done is we’ve taking a Linux distribution that’s provided by a company call R Patch, and R Patch Linux is a component-ized version of Linux in which they essentially break out the operating system into as many components as they can afford, and what we as a software company provider then have been able to do is to look through those sets of components and identify the ones that are required to support the database. So what you’ll find today is a lot of your deployments you’ll have kind of general purpose operating systems. If you look at something like Windows you’ll find that even in your desktop environment there are a host of services and user accounts and technologies that are part of the Windows operating system that you probably don’t know what they’re for, you probably know how to secure them, and you may have the inconvenience of having to patch them without actually ever using them.
What the Ingres appliance solution, the Ingres Icebreaker solution does, is by combining only the operating system components that are required to support Ingres it greatly simplifies the deployment. We only have the pieces required by Ingres. We provide a single installed image so what you get is the database and the operating system. We’ve got none of these extraneous user accounts that often compromise security of the system. We don’t have extraneous [demons] and services running in the background. And we really are all about just supporting that. We provide an integrated maintenance stream, so as you get patches for the environment the patch will address issues with both the operating system and the database. There aren’t separate patch lines for this, it’s a single integrated environment, and it’s provided for by Ingres Corporation. I’d encourage you again to visit ingres.com to learn more about Icebreaker.
So why do I mention Icebreaker? Well, really I see Icebreaker as a fantastic tool for Eclipse users to use as the database platform for the Eclipse IDE so as they develop applications they can focus on what they do best which is application development, and not have to worry about the installation configuration and maintenance of the databases that might support those applications.
So we think Icebreaker is definitely to allow you greater freedom to innovate. It’s an open-source solution that’s delivered under the GPL, and if you want to enable a maintenance stream for it we have a subscription support service that we offer around Icebreaker.
Icebreaker is perfect for virtualized development environments and we encourage you to use virtualization. So in Ingres we license by the CPU and a CPU is essentially a socket so if you’ve got a fuel core or a quad core CPU, we charge only for one CPU, and if you have a virtualized development environment where you’ve got perhaps 10, 15, 20 developers working on a two or four-core server, that is something that is supported by Icebreaker, and as I said it’s a really low cost, high value solution. We really want to free up your time from installing, configuring and maintaining databases, and really allow you to focus on application development and innovation.
Now, for those of you who are new to Eclipse, let me talk in very broad terms now about the Eclipse platform. Eclipse is an open-source project and if you want to learn more about it I’ve encouraged you to visit eclipse.org to learn more about what I see as a very passionate development community that we’re having a lot of fun with and we’ve very anxious to become more engaged with. Now, Eclipse is a framework that is extensible, and once you visit eclipse.org you can download the framework and there’s two approaches to it you can take. The first is we at Ingres have built out a bundle that will give you everything you need to get started with Eclipse and Ingres. The second is that you can identify the various Eclipse plug-in components that you want to use in your environment and kind of build your own homegrown Eclipse environment for application development.
But my recommendation is if you’re new to Eclipse, taking something like the Ingres bundle for Eclipse is the way to go so that you’ve got an environment that you know works, has been tested and certified, documented, there’s example programs that you can use to check that things work okay and a demonstration program that you can use to really determine how we’ve achieved what we’ve achieved and then perhaps grow it or modify it for [your] environment. And so if you’re new to Eclipse I suggest that approach. Once you become comfortable with Eclipse and you visit the other various plug-ins that are available, I think you’ll see that what you can achieve is limited only by your imagination when it comes to the Eclipse environment, quite an astonishing project and something that we’re very happy to be part of.
So focusing on the Eclipse plug-in that we at Ingres have provided, it’s called the Eclipse Data Tools Platform, and we use the abbreviation DTP, so very high level. Let me now explain to you the capabilities provided by the DTP. The DTP gives us access to SQL data sources and also actually supports non-SQL data sources in a consistent way. So you, as an application developer, have this layer of abstraction from the database technology that once you become proficient in the Eclipse platform it doesn’t matter what database you’re running under it, there’s a consistent interface to that database and it gives you that native Eclipse look and feel. If you’ve been using Eclipse, I think you’ll find that you can pick up this tool and it feels very natural, very intuitive and very simple to use.
The DTP has an internal SQL model and that essentially abstracts the details of the underlying data source, and the idea here is that you learn the tool that’s independent of the operating system platform you’re deploying on it, it’s independent of the database platform that you’re deploying, and you focus on what you do best which is an application development and innovation.
The DTP offers some more capabilities to Ingres than just the ability to access the data sources. It also gives us a tree metaphor through which we can browse database objects so we can go in and take a look at database tables; we can expand tables out and look at their columns; we can look in the columns, we can look at the data within them. It’s quite an interesting and very simple to use environment.
The Eclipse DTP is aware of the Ingres SQL syntax so when you go into the SQL editor, if you’ve created something like a database procedure or some ad hoc SQL statements whether they’re DML or DDL statements, you’ll actually see that Ingres keywords are highlighted in a color that – I guess the user can choose – in my environment it’s purple – but it allows you to very quickly identify what is just kind of noise in the environment and focus in on problems, and, as I said earlier, the business logic, which is really what you want to focus on in delivering an application that provides you with the ability to show off your skills rather than having to focus on things that support the application, the plumbing behind it, the database, the operating system, and so on.
As with the rest of the Eclipse environment, the DTP is provided in a multi-document interface so you’ve got a number of different portals, as it were, where you can show information, like you can have your SQL statements in one window, you could have your database objects that you’re browsing in another, you can have the results of a SQL statement in a third, and so on. So a screen shot, I think on the next slide, will help you understand it a little better, so let me move on.
This screen shot, I guess, could also double as an eye chart. It looks a little out of focus here but hopefully you can see it okay in your environment. If you look on your screen, this is the Eclipse IDE, this is how it looks and it’s kind of a default configuration. In this case I’ve got it open on the data for Explorer and I apologize if you can’t see that but hopefully if I highlight it here – I’m just choosing the laser pointer, hopefully you’ll see here. So this is the data source Explorer tab and we also have a Navigator tab for purposes of the screen shot. Now, I’m using the data source Explorer and we expand out the list of databases. I’ve got an Ingres database here called “Demo BB.” Within that I’ve got a series of different schema, and within the schema I’ve got objects like synonyms, sequences, historic procedures, tables, I’ve actually expanded out the list of tables down to this – [user] profile table, I’ve got columns. And over to the right hand side here, what you can see is I’ve created a very simple select statement here. I’ve run this select statement so I see down here I’ve got the status of that so it was a successful select statement, and on the right hand side here I can see the results. Now you probably can’t see it because they all look like they’re written Chinese characters, which is highlighting the fact here that we have support for unicode so within Ingres you can manipulate unicode or non-unicode data and the two are – you can use them interchangeably with Ingres.
So that’s what the DTP plug-in looks like, and I guess it’s unfortunate that the technology that we’re using today to deliver the Webcast doesn’t provide us with the capability to do a live demonstration. But I would encourage you to visit our community download site, that’s community.ingress.com, and download a copy of the DTP bundle. It’s got everything you need to get started with Ingres and Eclipse.
So, some of the other capabilities that the DTP provides for, I’ve just shown you a screen shot of our database object browsing; I’ve shown you the fact that you can write ad-hoc SQL statements, you can browse tables. Some of the really nice things that you can do here, you can import data from other data sources. If you’re writing a test program you can actually sample data from existing tables, so if you wanted to run your test against just ten percent of the data that you used in the production environment, the tools have provided as part of the DTP a way to do that.
It provides for the ability to edit stored procedures, to write to that, to test, and debug stored database procedures, so again it provides that syntax highlighting, and really, I think, while some of you have screen shots of this, the best thing for you do to would be to visit our Web site, download the DPT bundle and start playing with it. Now, there is a sample application I’ve provided as part of it that uses database procedures, that uses – we highlight some of the different capabilities that Ingres provides like database procedures that return scanner values or that return sets of rows that take parameters or that are parameter [-less/lists?], so lots of interesting things for you to look at there and to learn more about Ingres and the capability it provides. Or if you’re already familiar with Ingres perhaps, you’ve learned a lot about Eclipse, and I really would, say if you’re using another IDE for development today and you’re writing Java applications or C applications, C++, Pearl, Python, all of the various languages included by Eclipse, I really would encourage you to take a look at this and perhaps to reconsider your platform choice.
Stored procedures I mentioned and then triggers. Triggers in Ingres are rules and we afford you the capability to have before or after triggers. You can have a trigger happen before data access or afterwards, depending on how you construct your application. Again, moving on to another screen shot here, may illustrate things, perhaps not, again here, in this case I have a table on browsing about the contents of the table, and not very clear so I’ll move on here. Stored procedures, so this is an example of a stored procedure. We can see here in the pane that I’m highlighting right now is the fact that I’ve got keyword highlighting for any of the Ingres keywords. Eclipse has DTPs for other database platforms, so not just Ingres, so if you are using it with another database that’s supported by the DTP what you’ll see is that the syntax elements that my be unique to that platform are catered for and part of it, so you will the syntax highlighting for those other databases as well. Again, the idea is that the interface is portable and standard across all of the databases, supported, and that it’s providing that level of abstraction.
In this case, as I type out my database procedure, I may have some coding standards that I use in terms of how I structure the database procedure code. That is something that the Eclipse environment will actually store. So if you have a specific [pretty] typing that you use that makes life easier for you in reading database procedures, that’s something that’s provided for in the Eclipse IDE. So quite a fantastic environment if you think about the fact that it’s available for free.
So, rather than driving you through a whole series of screen shots, I really would encourage you, please visit the Ingres community Web site, community.ingress.com, and you’ll see that Ingres as a database technology is supported across a host of operating system environments. We support everything from Windows and Linux through all the various Unixes that are popular today and all the way through to platforms like DMS, and right now we’re playing with Sony Playstation III. I can’t imagine that there’s a real business demand for it but just the opportunity that open source affords you to take your source code and take other solutions and build them on the platform is something that the developers quite enjoy.
GEELAN: Don’t rule anything out, Emma.
McGRATTAN: [Laugh] Yeah, I had to vacation from buying some PS3s, but again it’s all about innovation, it’s the fact that perhaps if you build it they will come, right? So we’ll give them the platform and it may be that somebody finds a really good reason why they need a database running on a PS3, so we’ll see.
GEELAN: Well, as you might expect we’ve all been following the presentation and thinking what it perhaps didn’t cover or they came in too late or something. A question already from a viewer, if you’re ready to take questions – is your brain still there?
McGRATTAN: Well, hopefully it’s obvious that my brain is still there.
GEELAN: Somebody called Lucky [Levil] – I’ll say where people are if they tell me but otherwise no destination is where they are, and they say can legacy Ingres ABS for GLS run with Icebreaker? So ABS, better unpack that.
McGRATTAN: Okay, so ABS is an Ingres technology that’s application-by- forms and for those of you who are familiar with the old green screen form technology that was popular, I guess, in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and early ‘90s, this is the Ingres implementation of forms and before GL being our database procedure language or a language that fused within the ABS applications. So the question is, is this supported in the Icebreaker environment, and the answer is that anything that’s supported in the standard Ingres environment is supported by Icebreaker, so yes. ABS applications can be deployed against Icebreaker environment.
GEELAN: Okay, so [Lucky Levil] was lucky. How does Icebreaker differ to Oracle’s Raw Iron project? Oh, there’s one for you.
McGRATTAN: That’s a great question, Jeremy. It comes up quite a lot. People try to understand how we differ to Raw Iron or to LAMP stack, Microsoft stack, and so on. So the primary difference between Ingres and Raw Iron is that Raw Iron included a server hardware. So this was an appliance delivered on a hardware platform and as we view it the biggest drawback of that approach was that customers couldn’t benefit from the continual advances in the hardware market. So as faster and cheaper hardware became available you couldn’t take [advantage of] just those advances with Raw Iron. You were kind of stuck with what Oracle had chosen as a hardware platform. With Icebreaker we support any hardware platform that’s supported by the generic Linux kernel, so there’s absolutely no restrictions on where you deploy Icebreaker. So that I think is the primary difference there. Also the fact that it’s an integrated solution. The maintenance stream is integrated. With Raw Iron you had componentization but we don’t have with this. So while you were getting with Raw Iron your maintenance from a single source it wasn’t integrated. With Icebreaker you actually get patches that will include fixes for the operating system as well as the database.
GEELAN: Okay, good answer, so that sorted out the Oracle angle. Here’s another one from [Kay]. With Dell, what new capabilities does Eclipse DTB give Ingres users that they didn’t have previously? You already covered that but have a go with that again. I think that gentleman came late to the Webcast.
McGRATTAN: Yes, in fact we might be able to revisit an earlier slide here, although I’m looking at them in miniature. So what Eclipse gives us is a platform with a gooey interface, the IDE that you see on the screen shots here, which is the same uniform interface across all of the platforms that support Java and that support Eclipse. And what it gives Ingres users that Ingres users haven’t had previously is a gooey interface through which they can browse database objects, where they can construct with the aid of the tool DDL and DML statements – they can write [to] test these in the environment. They can create and browse tables, they can create and debug stored procedures, and triggers. All of the various capabilities that are provided by Ingres are supported from within the Eclipse environment. So a really great environment for application developers who want to live in an IDE and never have any reason to get out of that to do something like create a database or back it up or import some data or generate some test data. Everything can be done from within this environment, and once you learn Eclipse, I really believe that the boundaries of what you can achieve is limited only by your imagination. It’s a fantastic environment with a very passionate community that we at Ingres are very happy to be part of, and we’re looking to expand our contribution areas in the Eclipse projects.
GEELAN: All right. We hear a passionate you, I think. Denis [Rosely] is passionate. He asks how does Ingres differentiate between Eclipse development platform and the Open Road development platform.
McGRATTAN: Okay, so Open Road is an Ingres environment. Open Road is an open, rapid, object-oriented application development environment. That’s essentially what Open Road stands for. Open Road is, while it’s proprietary to Ingres, we’re working right now to contribute that to open source later this year. It supports, as a data platform, not just Ingres, but other databases. You can take Open Road applications and deploy them against SQL server or Oracle, if you’ve got money to burn, certainly, provide the capability to do it.
The primary difference I would say between Eclipse and Open Road is that Eclipse has a – it’s an open source project, it’s got a different development paradigm where new capabilities are added through plug-ins. I think as we take Open Road into open source and build up a community around it you’ll see new capabilities appear in Open Road as quickly as they do within the Eclipse environment. But Open Road is a proprietary Ingres Corporation technology whereas Eclipse provides support for all of the standard languages like C, C++, Java, Pearl, Python, PHP, Ruby and so on.
GEELAN: A little bit of housekeeping here, Patricia Lee has written to ask will this [tool be] archived or will you be able to access it a later time? The answer to both of these questions is yes, so Patricia, she’s obviously got to go off to a meeting. It’s 2:39; she needs to be somewhere. But back to questions, what support does Ingres provide for contributors, is being asked.
McGRATTAN: Okay, so, I guess we’ve got contributors and citizen [UNCLEAR], right?
GEELAN: Yes, I was wondering what is meant by that.
McGRATTAN: Yes, so is it saying contributor to the Ingres project?
GEELAN: [Yes, that is] what is meant.
McGRATTAN: Okay. So, as with most other open source projects, Ingres is a meritocracy. You kind of earn your stripes. So if you want to contribute a change and see that appear within the Ingres product, the first thing I would suggest you do is to engage with us on our community Web site. Then I would say let’s agree that what you’re going to contribute is something that is worthwhile not just to you but to the community at large. We’ll assist you with understanding the Ingres source code and the architecture and the coding standards so that as you write code it will kind of feel like it belongs within Ingres. And we’ll work with you to develop and test the code. Then we will accept that code into the Ingres product. To begin with, the Ingres engineering team would actually submit the changes into our source code control system, but as we build up this trust relationship with you we would provide you with what we term commiter rights, and essentially you would then have read and write access to the source code repository. In terms of providing – once you contribute the change to us, we do require that you grant us a license on the IP so that we can provide indemnification to our customers that use it, and we will provide you with a guarantee that we’ll take your technology forward into future releases of Ingres, and that should there be bugs in the contribution that you’ve made that we would support that for our customers that choose to run it.
GEELAN: Okay, here’s an intriguing one and it’s from Trevor Rash. He says how many participants are there actively developing on this project. I actually have no clue to that. In fact, we hear what the order of magnitude is here.
McGRATTAN: On the Eclipse DTP project it’s surprisingly small. I’m not sure of the exact number but they can certainly all sit in the same bar. Very dedicated and very passionate, and it’s amazing how much they can achieve by just collaborating and this community development where you’ve got people from different backgrounds providing the skills that they have to the project. So, for instance, the leaders in the Eclipse DTP project are actually from Sybase, and those guys have an amazing background in database technologies, and we’re anxious to become a more active part of it. Up until this point, we’ve kind of been using the technology and integrating it with Ingres. What we want to do going forward is to identify the Eclipse projects where Ingres can give back. So we’ve been talking to the Eclipse DTP team about getting Ingres involved in a gooey tool for generating SQL statements. We also have an interest in modeling tools. There’s an SOA project in Eclipse that we’d like to become more involved in and have some sort of data tools that are provided today. So there’s an opportunity for us to get involved and certainly if anybody on the call would like to become part of this I’d love to hear from you. On the screen here it says to e-mail us at email@example.com
. If you want to contact me directly, firstname.lastname@example.org
will get to me, and we’d love to hook you up with the Eclipse community and to bring you in as part of that.
GEELAN: This question here is from somebody who would like to be hooked up. It says here but it says what other projects, as if you’ve got plans, so you’re winning friends out here. Can you speak to that? Do you have other things up your sleeve?
McGRATTAN: So Eclipse is a very vibrant community. The number of projects go into the hundreds that are part of Eclipse. And what we need to look at here is what are the things that are going to provide you with the opportunity to innovate. So with Ingres today we don’t have a modeling tool that’s supplied with the product, so what we’d like to do is next look at modeling and say if you want to make that process as easy and as productive as possible what is the best tool for it.
We’ve no doubt that the Eclipse tools are going to be in and we’ll be participating in that project. And we also, as I said, want to look at software services, so we conceived Icebreaker as being the database services platform for SOA environments, sort of get involved in the SOA projects there, and then definitely become more involved in the Eclipse DTP project to see what we can do to help out there. And then maybe you’ll see some of the Open Road code that we mentioned earlier become part of this.
We at Ingres have a lot of technologies that could perhaps be dusted off and become useful as part of this platform. So we mentioned earlier the ABF capabilities that Ingres has, that old green screen character-based stuff, but there’s a lot of business logic that’s been written in that, there’s a lot of logic that could be harvested, and maybe we’ll look to develop tools that will allow you to build ABF applications from within Eclipse. That’s probably not something that’s cutting edge and of huge interest to a large community, but we do know that there’s still quite a significant number of our customers that continue to develop an ABF, and maybe this is a way to allow them to move forward. Maybe we can find a way of taking those ABF applications and Web deploying them. But really, as I said earlier, it’s mind boggling just how much can be achieved in this platform.
GEELAN: Well, it would seem that you’ve convinced Simon. You just mentioned customers; can you tell us some of the customers using this? That’s quite a straightforward question.
McGRATTAN: Are you saying the Eclipse PCP in Ingres? Okay, so the project – or the bundle, I should say, was released in February. We have a partner in the UK called Luminary Solutions that we’ve worked with for many years, and Luminary were asked to be an early adopter for the technology, to kind of just like prove it out. They have a stable of really talented application developers. And what we wanted them to do was to kick the tires and the response that we got back from them was that, okay, we’re ready to start writing production applications for some of our local government sites, and we love the capabilities that this provides. I should say I haven’t been tracking who’s downloading it and what they’re doing with it, but I can tell you that we’re seeing thousands of downloads and I’ve got the feeling that anybody who is downloading the solution and starts using it is becoming very productive very quickly, and hopefully writing applications that they’re going to deploy in the enterprise.
GEELAN: We’re running a little short of time; this question suggests again that we can’t repeat this often enough – where can we go to get the Eclipse DTP bundle. Let’s go all over it again – they’re looking at it I think to – a problem of asynchronicity but perhaps they said that while you were still on the slide to just go over it again.
McGRATTAN: It’s here on the Ingres site. If you actually visit our community Web site you’ll see that at the top of the screen we’ve got a download link, and if you visit the download link – I should probably do that while I’m speaking so I don’t misspeak. But if you visit the download page, go to community.ingress.com. From there, on the top of the screen in the center, downloads, and to the right hand side of the screen you will see that we have community developer tools listed as the middle download in the bunch there, and you can download the products from there. And we require a one-time registration so that we can communicate any advances that we’ve made through releases, new opportunities to learn about what we’re doing or new opportunities to engage with other community members. But once you register with the site once you can visit as many times as you want to download our various solutions. Icebreaker, which I mentioned earlier, is available for download from that same place as well and it’s listed under Project Icebreaker.
GEELAN: I think you’ve broken whole new records of hand-holding there held by SYS-CON.TV Web casts to the actual position of the link on the page. The things we have. I think that we’ve reached the end of this, Emma. I do think it’s quite clear why you’re responsible for the development of the integration of the Ingres database and associated products; you love this, don’t you?
McGRATTAN: I do, yes, I do.
GEELAN: How did you get into DBNS and all of that in the first place?
McGRATTAN: So, I grew up in Dublin and back in the ‘80s Ireland was pretty much what India is today. It was seen by the rest of the world as a source of very talented but inexpensive labor. So I started working for an American company that was building out a network management system, and as part of that we needed a database, and Ingres, at the time, was free as part of Unix distribution, and I started using that. And a couple of years later Ingres actually set up an office in Dublin to do desktop platforms. So my love at the time was OS2 and database. They kind of married the two. I joined Ingres and was responsible for [porting] Ingres to OS2 which I thought was a fantastic technology. We had in Ingres back then operating system threads before they were really considered for other platforms. So I’ve been working as part of the Ingres engineering team since 1992, so I’m showing my age now, but I’m very passionate and I do love it.
GEELAN: We call that a seasoned professional.
McGRATTAN: Very much.
GEELAN: Well we thank you, as one seasoned professional to another, and we thank all the seasoned professionals who are clearly following along. There we are, Eclipse DTP as a platform for rapid innovation, unpacked by the – I was going to say the main man – I can’t say that, can I – the head honcho, the head honcho of all of this, Emma McGrattan. Thank you so much, Emma, for joining us on SYS-CON.TV’s Webcast, and thanks to everyone out there for following along and shooting in those questions. We will catch you on the next Web cast.
McGRATTAN: Thanks so much, Jeremy. Much appreciated.