Monday, August 1, 2005

A first look at DB2 integration with Domino Designer 7


By David Gewirtz

One of the most intriguing features of the upcoming Notes/Domino 7 release is support of IBM's DB2 database as a data store. We find this very exciting because this allows developers to natively support both the traditional Notes NSF files as well as directly access DB2 databases.

As you might imagine, this announcement triggered the usual Notes/Domino/IBM conspiracy theories, so let's put them to rest first. No, IBM is not eliminating the NSF format in favor of DB2 databases. No, IBM is not forcing all Domino developers to move to DB2. And no, support of Domino in DB2 is not a harbinger that Notes is dead.

Yes, we've been hearing these sorts of things every year at Lotusphere since the mid-1990s. No, it's not true. Instead, support of DB2 is really quite slick and something we'd recommend you explore.

Different data storage structures do different things well. The Notes NSF format is ideal for storing large numbers of individual documents, especially those containing large full-text fields. DB2 is exceptional at supporting a lot of structured, almost tabular data. While you can build full applications based on either storage mechanism, you can really do better when you integrate the two.

Integrating the two also provides you the benefit of legacy integration. If your company has some DB2 databases and some Notes databases, you can now integrate them more easily. For example, let's say you've got your master customer database in DB2, but your log of technical support trouble reports resides in Notes; now you can easily update both, together.

This integration provides some valuable benefits to both environments. DB2 developers gain the following features from Domino:

  • You can replicate a DB2 database just as you would a Notes database.
  • XML/collaboration support
  • Domino services
  • Notes application development support
  • Integration of Domino data into DB2 applications
  • The full benefits of Domino security

As you might imagine, the secure replication of DB2 databases has incredible possibilities. You Domino developers also gain some benefits from DB2, in particular relational constructs and SQL-based views.

The key new feature I want to showcase in this article are the DB2 views. Domino Designer 7 has gotten two new view types that will allow you to access and query DB2.

The first of these, the DB2 Access view, allows you to link your NSF file data to your DB2 data through SQL queries. Using Domino Designer 7, you can choose the DB2 fields you wish to include in your view, as shown in Figure A.