IT managers who use IBMs DB2 Everyplace database management system for mobile applications are pleased with the enhancements introduced in Version 8 of the product, which was released this week.
The upgrade, which is heavy on features designed to be attractive to developers, will improve the productivity of mobile workers by giving them access to the most current data in back-office data stores, said IBM officials, in Armonk, N.Y.
"The one thing [in DB2 Everyplace 8] that I really liked has to do with the extra databases," said Barb Walker, who has used the IBM software since last March. "The earlier version you had a cap on the number of databases you could have open at a time."
This cap limited the scope of data being sent to the mobile applications that she developed for, said Walker, information systems application developer at Fisher Homes, a construction company in Crestview Hills, Ky.
"I had [a lot of different applications] I wanted to go into; I wanted to put holds on each of them…[but] I had to halt production because I could only have one database," said Walker. The DB2 Everyplace upgrade "helps a lot because I can do block scheduling on handhelds for every activity."
DB2 Everyplace 8 includes a raft of other features designed to make it easier for developers to connect applications on mobile devices with data sources back in the home office. For instance, a new feature called WebSphere Everyplace Access offers enhanced data synchronization. Support for the companys DB2 Information Integrator makes linking to enterprise applications or business intelligence software easier, officials said.
Other developer enhancements include IBMs J9 Java virtual machine, a WebSphere Studio plug-in to aid development for PalmOS and Pocket PC, and interfaces to Microsoft Corp.s .Net Framework and .Net Compact Framework to simplify development in Windows environments.
DB2 Everyplace includes a Mobile Application Builder, which provides a drag-and-drop environment for creating applications for handheld devices, IBM officials said.
Fischer Homes has around 35 supervisors in the field accessing data in DB2 Everyplace on Hewlett-Packard Co. iPaq and Dell Inc. PockerPC devices. The DB2 Everyplace 8 enhancements for Web-based application development wont be immediately useful for Walker.
"We spent a lot of time developing in C++ … to put that on the Web we would have to port everything to C#," she said. "Down the road that would help, but right now we dont want to stop going forward on [current] development projects."
In future upgrades of the product Walker said she would like to see an editor that would allow her to view all the data and manage it in DB2 Everyplace, one similar to the editor in the PervasiveSQL database used as her companys corporate database.
The release of DB2 Everyplace 8 followed by less than two weeks IBMs release of its DB2 Everyplace Express database management system for small and mid-sized businesses. The Express Edition is cheaper than the standard Enterprise Edition—it carries a list price of $79 per user and $379 per server, with a maximum of two processors. DB2 Everyplace 8 Enterprise Edition is priced at $15,000 per processor with unlimited users.