Open Source Community Wins At Ingres Code Sprint

At the Ingres Code Sprint, the finish line is just the beginning in the race to create new product features. Ingres, a provider of open source database management software and support services, hosted the Ingres Code Sprint, a three-day event held in advance of the UK Ingres Users Association Annual Conference in London. Ingres Code Sprint brought together customers, partners, and Ingres engineers to design, code and create new features. As a result of the three-day marathon session, significant new features will be added to the Ingres product line.

The development work was carried out by two teams, one working on the Ingres database, and the other on Ingres OpenROAD, the company's platform for rapid application development. Ingres provided each group with a Linux based virtual machine that included everything needed to build and debug the community versions of the products. Experienced Ingres engineers were on hand to provide mentoring and assistance.

"We had an even mix of application developers and database administrators who traveled from all parts of the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Denmark, the United States and Canada, " said Emma McGrattan, senior vice president of engineering at Ingres and organiser of the Ingres Code Sprint. "Some of the DBAs had never worked on product development before, so we provided a quick, crash course and, with some assistance from Ingres Engineering, we were truly amazed at how quickly they learned and were able to achieve spectacular results."

"Ingres Code Sprint is a wonderful way to bring the open source community together to enhance and extend the Ingres products that so many organisations rely on for mission critical applications, " said Roy Hann, technical director, Rational Commerce, and chairperson for the UK Ingres Users Association. "Ingres is committed to the open source community and Ingres Code Sprint is another example of the company's dedication to encouraging participation in the world of open source and driving innovation. As a partner to Ingres, Rational Commerce was pleased to be one of the many who participated and contributed during Code Sprint."

"I have been working with the Ingres source code for some time now, but found the face-to-face time with the Ingres engineering team helped solidify my knowledge, " said Martin Bowes, database administrator, Oxford University, and open source coordinator for the UK Ingres Users Association. "The Ingres Code Sprint allowed us to workshop some ideas on incremental backups which will be of considerable help to me in my real-world job as a DBA at Oxford University. Since then, the group has continued to thrash out implementation plans – so watch this space!"

Some of the larger scale features that were implemented during Ingres Code Sprint include Incremental Backup - in large scale environments, the window required to take a complete database backup can be significant. Now Ingres has added the ability to do a full backup on regular intervals with incremental backups in the interim.

Row Level Security Auditing – Ingres already provides a way for security administrators to do table-level monitoring to account for all queries by authorised users for compliance purposes, as well as raising alarms on certain events. Row-level scrutiny of updates and deletes has also been possible. During Ingres Code Sprint, participants extended row-level security auditing to account for all queries down to the row level, including selects and inserts.

Pseudo Random Order Sequences – Ingres now provides the ability to serve up values from a sequence in random order, and guarantees that no sequence values will be repeated. In the past, using a sequence value for a key would oftentimes result with contention on a database page at insert time. By providing unique values in random order, the possibility of contention is avoided.

Terminal Monitor Usability – New users had reported difficulty in understanding how to use this tool, through which SQL statements can be executed either interactively or in batch model. Ingres has now addressed the usability issues that had been reported.

Rename Columns – It is common practice in upgrading MySQL databases and applications to rename database columns during the upgrade process. As more applications are migrated from MySQL to Ingres, the need to support the ability to rename Ingres columns natively has become a necessity.

Unload Utilities – Ingres has a number of utilities for unloading a database, or parts of a database, and reloading it to another location. One problem that global organisations identified was the need to be able to specify locale specific information when the data was being unloaded or reloaded. Locale specific information includes date formatting, currency symbols and formatting, and the character used for decimal separation. While updating the unload utilities, the Ingres Code Sprint team also added the ability to exclude items from the list of items being unloaded.

Updated Version of Ingres CAFÉ - Ingres CAFÉ is a bundle to enable Eclipse developers to get started with Ingres in a couple of clicks, and includes a pre-integrated runtime environment for Eclipse applications. During Ingres Code Sprint, participants optimised the performance of the database under Ingres CAFÉ specifically for web based applications. In addition, the group updated the latest community version and the latest Eclipse build of Ingres CAFÉ.

Workbench and Portlet Resizing in Ingres OpenROAD - Previously Ingres OpenROAD did not allow for the OpenROAD Workbench or the portlets within the development environment to be resized. This has now been addressed by the Ingres Code Sprint Team.

Date Manipulation Functions – Nearly a dozen new functions were added to Ingres OpenROAD to enable application developers to manipulate dates. The next Ingres Code Sprint is scheduled for the Ingres Community in the Australia/New Zealand region later this year.

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