News & Resources2022-06-28T14:31:24+01:00

News & Resources

Recording Informix schema changes2024-02-19T16:24:00+00:00

Abstract

Have you ever been asked to refresh a test database instance from production, then been told afterwards that the definitions of some new objects under development have been lost? It’s obviously better to use a tool such as AGS Server Studio Schema Diff beforehand to save SQL to be reapplied. If that hasn’t happened, you need to have a record of the database schema before it was overwritten so you can list differences. You could purchase the AGS Sentinel Change Management Option to record version snapshots at regular intervals, but this article provides a shell script to achieve that, though without any GUI.

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Informix SPL exception logging2024-02-20T18:10:12+00:00

Abstract

Informix Stored Procedure Language (SPL) has a smaller command set than other database products, but is more than adequate when making full use of built-in SQL functions. An SPL routine is called a PROCEDURE if no data is returned, or FUNCTION otherwise, as explained here. User Defined Routines (UDRs) can also be written in C or Java, whereas this article is only concerned with SPL UDRs. There may be multiple levels of SPL routines called by another, and it can be difficult to know which has failed if an error results. This article provides a method of recording and retrieving the details of any failure, with only a tiny code addition at the top of each routine.

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Migrating to Genero v42024-02-19T15:49:42+00:00

Abstract

Genero version 4 brings in lots of new features that make it well worth upgrading to.  The new version introduces several changes that you’ll need to be aware of if upgrading from an earlier version though.  This article covers some of the challenges we faced, and the solutions found to resolve them.

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A Number of Reasons to Upgrade to the Latest Genero Release2024-02-19T15:24:50+00:00

Abstract

Originally developed as a GUI replacement to “green-screen” Informix-4GL, Genero has become a powerful and advanced development suite, with a long list of supported platforms, database engines and deployment options.  A host of new features are added at every release; Whether you’re running an early version, still on 4gl, or looking for a platform for a new development project, there are some very compelling reasons to start using, the very latest version of Genero.

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Archives on RSS2023-07-24T11:18:16+01:00

Abstract

Informix dbspace backups are known as “archives”. From version 14.10, these can be made on a Remote Standalone Secondary (RSS) replica system. This article describes the necessary configuration changes which are not well documented. The process is easy, but does require a restart of the RSS instance.

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LOAD and UNLOAD functions2024-02-19T15:47:07+00:00

Updated September 2023

September 2023 change log:

  • Work-around for tables containing hidden specialized columns such as VERCOLS
  • DBDATE external table option removed for better flexibility via environment
  • CONSTRAINTS also disabled as necessary for EXPRESS with hidden indexes.

We have raised relevant APARs to be fixed in 14.10.xC11. They are:

IT44526 SQL error: -26190 and -236 on inserting external table from a ‘table having VERCOLS’
Worked around in “sp_load” by excluding all type of hidden specialized columns.

IT44527 Inaccurate documentation on conditions forcing DELUXE load from external table
DELUXE is in fact forced if the table contains BYTE/TEXT columns or the row size exceeds page size minus 32.

Abstract

The Informix statements LOAD and UNLOAD allow data to be transferred between a flat file and a database, but are in fact only implemented in certain clients such as DB-Access, 4GL variants, and AGS Server Studio. You may therefore need functions in Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) that do this, such as when coding in Java with JDBC. Furthermore, external tables are much lighter and quicker for this purpose, so you might in any case prefer the functions described in this article, which use them in Informix Stored Procedure Language (SPL).

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View dependencies2023-01-25T09:52:30+00:00

Abstract

Informix supports views like other database products, which behave much like tables but are in fact SELECT statements stored for convenience and reuse. If a table or view is dropped and recreated during a schema change, any views in the same database that depended on it will have been lost. This article covers this problem, and includes SQL to list dependencies and definitions of views.

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Enhancing DB-Access2022-11-23T09:11:53+00:00

Abstract

Informix database server products, including both Standard Engine and Dynamic Server, have for decades been delivered with a character interface tool for database exploration and SQL execution. This is referred to as “DB-Access” in the documentation, and is invoked with “dbaccess” from the operating system command line or within scripts, as described in the latest DB-Access User’s Guide. This article covers some lesser known and very useful environment variables that improve its usability, and a way to enable command history and editing when used directly as an SQL CLI.

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Listing and limiting idle time of Informix sessions2022-06-28T14:29:02+01:00

Abstract

Some systems need user sessions terminated regularly – whether human or automated – to prevent eventual excessive memory consumption. This article provides an Informix Dynamic Server “sysmaster” query and script to identify those that are idle, and which therefore are most likely no longer needed and can be terminated.

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Dropping an Informix database in use2021-12-21T12:22:25+00:00

Abstract

Scripts are often created to refresh test databases – either scheduled overnight or on demand – so that QA or development teams can validate or debug schema and application changes against the latest realistic data. An easy solution is to run a full instance restore using ontape or onbar from the last production archive, but sometimes many copies of the database are required for different projects or testing stages running in parallel, and avoiding the overhead of a separate instance each can be desirable. This means that, before any database can be restored using dbimport or similar, it first needs to be dropped, which is impossible when in use, as an exclusive database lock must be applied. This article provides a script to achieve that, even if there are continual concurrent connection attempts by applications.

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How to list temp dbspace contents2021-11-26T14:22:48+00:00

Updated November 2021

Abstract

If an Informix instance warns that one of your temp dbspaces is full, it is useful to have SQL quickly to list what it contains, or to be run automatically if dbspace usage goes over a maximum acceptable percentage. Such a “sysmaster” query is provided in this article.

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Informix Table Restore2021-11-19T15:09:26+00:00

Abstract

However you back up your Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) instance, a long-standing method exists to restore a single table as at a given point in time. This is described elsewhere, but some awkward coding is required. If someone has accidentally emptied a production table, you would want a very fast way to reinstate it with minimal manual steps. This article provides a script to help achieve that, together with setup and example usage.

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Informix assert file lock analysis2021-11-23T14:02:16+00:00

Abstract

This article provides a script to analyse what database objects were locked when IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) “asserts” (saves an evidence file) including what sessions were waiting on another, which is particularly useful to diagnose deadlocks.

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InformixHQ Startup Sensor2021-11-23T14:01:42+00:00

Abstract

This article provides a stored procedure to run InformixHQ (HQ) Java processes automatically whenever IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) has been restarted, as originally posted on the community forum here. It follows on from the previous article InformixHQ Setup and uses the shell script “informix-control.sh” it contains which starts or stops HQ.

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Revalidating Informix foreign key data2021-11-23T14:01:23+00:00

Abstract

When testing a database migration to a new platform that is not compatible, for example with a different OS or locale, you cannot restore from a level 0 archive on the new server. Data must be copied either via flat files or directly using SQL tools. If this is from a live database that is being updated and cannot be exclusively locked (which rules out dbexport), you cannot guarantee consistency of the data being reloaded, so NOVALIDATE must be set to ensure foreign keys can be reapplied. This article provides stored procedure language (SPL) code to identify and delete any resulting invalid data.

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Informix replication to SPL routine2021-12-16T13:14:33+00:00

Updated December 2021

Abstract

This new feature, documented here, was introduced with IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) version 14.10. It is an enhancement to Enterprise Replication (ER) allowing for data changes to be handled by a stored procedure rather than being applied directly to a replica table. It is very likely to be used in a Loopback Replication arrangement, so that the stored procedure fired is contained in the same database as the source table. Such a replicate is also known as an “asynchronous post-commit trigger”. This is because, unlike a conventional trigger, it runs in background with respect to the calling application and occurs after the transaction has been committed. ER infrastructure should ensure reliable buffering and delivery should a backlog build up or if the server is restarted. This article gives an example of how this might be useful to perform whatever type of action you wish when data changes have been committed.

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Informix loopback replication2021-06-18T15:50:44+01:00

Abstract

This relatively new feature, documented here, was introduced with IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) version 12.10.xC11 in March 2018, enabling replication of tables within the same database or instance. It is an enhancement to Enterprise Replication (ER) which was previously only supported between different instances. This article gives an example of how it can reduce downtime when slow schema changes are required on large tables in continuous use.

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Informix “cdr migrate server”2021-06-08T09:37:18+01:00

Abstract

This new command, documented here, was introduced with IBM Informix Dynamic Server (IDS) version 14.10.xC2 in September 2019. In theory, it reduces the effort involved in creating a new active-active replica instance to a single command. It uses Enterprise Replication (ER) which supports participating servers being on different Informix versions or operating systems, providing a unique route for platform migration with almost zero downtime. The complex work to achieve this with ER was previously a major disincentive. This article looks at the current reality of “cdr migrate server” (CMS), showing that it can achieve its goal if some pitfalls are avoided. CMS should not be confused with the earlier ifxclone command to automate the creation of another node in a high-availability cluster, which must be on the same platform and version as the source server.

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