Subject Re: Re: [firebird-support] Down time
First let me say I am love Firebird and think it is great. But I am not a fan (fan being short form for fanatic which means will not accept any criticism <g>).

We have two products shipping one using Delphi and Firebird and another using VB and MSDE so I have some good actual numbers from the field . In both cases the skill level of programmers was average. Most had 1 to 3 year experience, with one or two of them having around 5 year experience.

From the developers perspective - in Firebird there is a long learning curve before you can get your app to run smoothly without causing severe problems. Mistakes by application programmers can cause all kinds of problems- OAT can cause server to become unacceptably slow. Accessing the database with multiple client libraries can cause Firebird server to crash. Multithreaded access to the database is very tricky. BLOB updates have to be done right.

In the typical situation a beginner to Firebird, has written an application where the OAT is running at around 10000 behind next transaction and there is some blob updation happenning, databases do get irrecoverably corrupted.

Wheras with MSDE - (maybe because ADO is also released by Microsoft), the server has never crashed. The database had never never corrupted. It is more robust in the sense that is more forgiving of mediocre programming.

There are the areas where databases are used. I will just put down what I think most people would use.

1. The single users application or utility being written by a raw programmer which stores small amounts of data. - Probably Access. Comes with very nice utility for creating and managing the database.

2. The basic down to earth small business app with programmers with one to 3 year expereience deploying in a department or small organisation. - Here definetely MSDE or SQL server is going to be used because it is robust (as defined above). If looking for open source options then it would come down to between Firebird and PostGRE and it is really speaking a toss up here.

3. The browser based application. - Probably MySQL or SQL servers because almost all hosting providers will have that installed.

4. Heavy duty enterprise level applications with millions of records and synchronisation etc. Large team of experienced programmers - First choice would be Oracle. Management wouldnt even blink at that choice. If Firebird has to be chosen lot of justification etc. has to be done. And a very experienced Firebird programmer would be required. Not very clear about how robust Firebird is on SMP machines.(Obviously after Vulcan things will be much better). Replicator is seperate product etc.

So what are Firebirds strengths.
1. Firebird can be used in all these cases. So the scalability is simply fantastic. None of the competition can scale like this.
(But then how many application do you know which need to run as a single user app as well and enterprise level application.
For a programming shop standardising on Firebird because of the scalability, the problem is programmer turnover and level of expertise needed to write apps. So small owner programmer shops which take on all type of projects are probably a niche where Firebird is definetely the best fit - Wonder how many of the people on the list are like this.)
2. Very Very lean install for server.
3. Client access library is simple dll so absolutely simple deployment on clients.
4. Fantastic helpful community.

I want Firebird to become the most popular database engine of all. So what do I think will make the difference.

1. Firebird should become more robust. (Even fresh/ beginner programmers should be able to use it easily)
2. Security model should improve. (I made a long post some time back about the access security model, which nobody picked up so I dropped it)

I would love to contribute to the development. But I better at architecture and design of business apps and hopeless on the system level programming front. I read some of the postings regarding Vulcan on the website and my eyes started watering trying to get the basic concepts into my head


------------------Original Message-----------

From : Lester Caine <lester@...>
To :
Date : 31/07/2004 2:33:30 AM
Subject : Re: [firebird-support] Down time

Ann W. Harrison wrote:

> Just out of curiosity, how many of you experience more than
> 10 minutes a week of non-scheduled down time in your Firebird
> applications?

Whats down time :)

I've systems that have not been off in months ;)

Only problem in the last year has been the blank database one, and I'm
not ruling out external activity creating that.

Lester Caine
L.S.Caine Electronic Services

>>> This mail is created in Hamsa ( <<<