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Icon Casual Friday for Week Ending November 12th

Posted by Tim Young on Fri, Nov 12 2010
Well, with the best of intentions....

As is the case with many endeavors, I intended to do a post like this every Friday, and as is also the case with many endeavors, I didn't exactly follow through. It seems like some weeks I simply don't feel like I have anything new to add to the conversation. But, it's been a long time since I've done a Casual Friday post here, so I have built up a reserve stock of items to discuss, and can now unleash them upon the world. Smile

First, Some Business
A new ElevateDB 2.05 minor release will be coming out early next week with a few bug fixes for 2.04 B4 and earlier. The reason for the minor release increment is due to a bug fix in the call-level interface to the ElevateDB Server where modified flags for defaulted columns are not being streamed properly from the ElevateDB Server to the client, and this is causing issues with both replication and indexing. The ElevateDB Server requires a new minor release number for any changes to the call-level interface, so the release number increment is a necessity due to this design feature and will not contain any new features. More details will be available with the 2.05 release.

After ElevateDB 2.05 is released, some newer features will be slipped in to subsequent builds as part of 2.05, and these include:
  • Proper reverse-engineering script generation that respects object dependencies

  • Configuration database reverse-engineering functionality

  • Nested transaction support (first step to finally implementing cascading updates/deletes)

  • Special LOAD error triggers that are fired when an error occurs during the loading of an update during replication, complete with retry capabilities

  • New options to exclude published updates and the published status of tables from backups, making backups faster/smaller, as well as easier to use for establishing databases for the first time in a replication setup
What's Going on at Elevate Software
I've been taking it a bit easy through October and not doing a whole lot of development, which is what usually passes for a vacation for me. But, it's enough to recharge the batteries and get things back in order for the next round of development. September was a little dicey this year due to the month starting off with a server hard drive failure that kind of threw everything into disarray for a few weeks. Important lessons were learned about how comprehensive our disaster recovery was vs. how comprehensive it should have been, and overall I would give our disaster recovery (then) a solid B. In the end, a couple hundred regression tests needed to be recreated, along with some of the web site/manual graphics, but all of the our internal software and data (minus some forum posts) were back on-line within a couple of hours. It was probably best that some of the web site/manual graphics were lost because it forced me to update them to reflect the newer Windows 7 OS in the screen shots, as opposed to the older Windows XP screen shots, which was something that I had been dreading doing for some time. Smile Of course, these holes are now all plugged and our disaster recovery is much more solid. One thing that could have helped (but isn't available yet for our internal systems because they are still using DBISAM) is using ElevateDB's replication for hot backup of the databases to a completely different backup server, which makes recovery from these types of issues much, much easier and doesn't have the issues that we experienced where certain large tables like the forums message base are only backed up once a week due to their size. There was a recent outage at GitHub that, while different from our situation, still triggers the anxiety one feels once they have also gone through a situation where there's a need for recovery and one isn't 100% sure that the recovery will go smoothly.

Sam (sales) just finished up a fall DBISAM to ElevateDB migration offer, and I think she even extended it for a few weeks since the response was very good (again). The PHP extension offer is also getting a good response, although we're going to have to end it soon, so be sure and take advantage of it while you can (and tell your friends).

Around the Industry
Some interesting developments (no pun intended) have taken place lately in the software development world, specifically with respect to Java and MySQL. Oracle has begun to stake out its territory with respect to these recent acquisitions (Java was part of the Sun acquisition), and seem to be causing a bit of unease among developers, leading them to investigate possible alternatives.


This could be very good news for Embarcadero Technologies if they can finally bring to market a Delphi cross-compiler for Mac/Linux as well as the Windows 64-bit compiler. Having spent a good bit of time surveying the current language landscape, there really aren't a whole lot of choices if you want to develop for multiple platforms, and those choices are whittled down every further if you want to develop natively-compiled applications. It will be interesting to see if Embarcadero can take advantage of this opportunity, and even extend their market share by targeting very popular back-ends like iOS and Windows Mobile that run on the ARM processor family. Just for the record, even though we are language-agnostic as far as what languages we support for our database engine products, we write all of our products in Delphi, so we have a vested interest in seeing Embarcadero succeed. Although we could theoretically port the source code to C/C++, the string handling, object model, cleaner syntax, and compilation speed are all significant market advantages given to us by using Delphi as our compiler.


Oracle recently announced some pricing changes (The Register article/commentary before the fact) to MySQL that may start driving existing MySQL users to consider alternatives. This may end up being a very good thing for Elevate Software and other smaller database engine companies that cater to ISVs that target medium-to-small business applications that place a premium on very good quality with affordable first-tier support options. Hopefully we can start to make further inroads into medium-to-small web site implementations with our native PHP extension extension (see free offer link above).

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