I just returned from two weeks in Bengaluru (Bangalore). The trip was quite productive, as I was able to work with my team on a complex Eclipse RCP/Apache Derby application in person, and solidify the two most important pillars of an extended team development effort; communication and collaboration.
Since I worked US Eastern time while in India – late afternoon to late evening weekdays – I also had a chance to attend the IDUG 2008 India Forum in the early part of the day Friday and all day Saturday.
Much like the on site face time with my development team, this conference provided an excellent opportunity to interact with DB2 experts and to put all the new Information Management technologies and products into a meaningful context.
Of particular relevance to my day job, the forum clarified where DB2 fits into the larger WebSphere, Web 2.0, and SOA picture. I was able to pick up some clever ideas for the IBM Press Room migration to DB2 9.5 next spring.
A few highlights and lessons learned from the conference:
- Attending Curt Cotner’s keynote on the new IBM Data Studio tool and pureQuery technology. This Eclipse-based tool has a lot of potential as a standalone application development platform, or plug-in to my existing Rational Software Architect setup. Using pureQuery to improve performance and ease root cause analysis for WebSphere and DB2 apps was impressive. I also had a chance to meet Curt and chat with him briefly about PHP Web application frameworks and drivers.
- Hearing from Leon Katsnelson about how DB2 fits into the larger SOA picture, with two very innovative case studies. One example in particular about managing volatile data in DB2 – such as currency rates and weather conditions – using a Java stored procedure to make a Web services call was very enlightening.
- Finally getting my head around REST. The past weeks have featured a storm of misunderstanding about SOAP and RESTful Web services, sparked by a comment made by Damien Katz. Following the conversations there helped me understand the pros and cons of each philosophy, and attending a few sessions at the conference helped solidify the fundamental differences in approach to SOA.
- Reminding myself to look into the Web 2.0 Starter Toolkit for IBM DB2. There seems to be some really cool sample applications and monitoring tools in there.
- Getting a primer on Ruby as a language and seeing a live demo of Ruby on Rails as a framework. I’m not planning to jump ship anytime soon, but there are tons of ideas in there that can be fed back into the architectures I develop in my day job.
- Thanks to Matthias Nicola, who was kind enough to copy his XQuery & SQL/XML cheatsheet onto a pen drive for me, I was able to play around with pureXML on my local copy of DB2.
- Finally figuring out the difference between Data Studio and Data Studio Developer. The former is the free tool, the latter is the kit that can be licensed from IBM for a fee and includes all the cool pureQuery stuff.
- Taking advantage of the opportunity for a free shot at the DB2 9 Application Developer exam (I passed!) and shoring up my cursor usage and trace analysis skills through some pre-test cramming.