Bob Balaban October 21 2007 05:30:00 AMGreetings, Geeks!
I'm curious about this. I think Db2 (ok, officially it's "DB2", but I prefer to type it my way) is cool. Actually, I have thought that relational databases in general are cool ever since I learned about them and started using them in the late 70s.
When I first heard about NSFDB2 I was President (and Janitor) of my own company, and to be honest, I had mixed feelings about the wisdom of the project. My greatest reservation was a technical one: how the heck could they ever stuff the round-peg, loosey-goosey, "semi-structured" data model of Notes NSF into the square-hole, highly-structured, not exactly rigid, but, well, semi-rigid data model of an RDBMS?
Well, they figured it out. It works. Doesn't have the greatest performance (yet) perhaps, but the power is there: SQL queries on Notes data; @function accerss to relational data; joins across Notes databases! Very cool.
So, this should satisfy all those developers who for years have been asking for relational capabilities in NSF. For years our answer always was: "Notes is not a relational database, and was never meant to be. If you need a relational database, go get a relational database. We give you lots of tools for moving Notes data into and out of RDBMS..." All true, but tiresome.
So, now we've got it, and I'm wondering if anybody is actually using it. And if so, for what?
Personally, I think the "killer app" for NSFDB2 is reporting. Why? Reporting has always been an area where Notes has been relatively weak. Lotus/IBM just never invested much in it, and really, reporting was just never considered a high priority for a collaborative application platform. Crystal Reports and other companies provided some add-on tools, but people always complained that Notes didn't have a real native reporting capability.
Compare with the widespread availability of SQL-based reporting tools for relational database systems. Lots and lots of choices, from the simple to the very sophisticated. Now that your NSF data can be exposed via NSFDB2 and SQL, why aren't people jumping all over this to do reporting? Or, maybe they are and I just haven't been hearing about it?
My friend and former colleague, Peter O'Kelly, once told me: "If you want to know something, ask! People know." So, I'm asking!
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