This is my Weblog (Diary) about the 2005 Firebird Conference in the Hotel Olsanka in Prague, Czech Republic, 13 to 15 November 2005.
New articles have been inserted at the top, so you should read it from bottom to top.
I had a good flight and no delays. I am looking forward to the next Firebird Conference, especially to meet all those great developers and my new friends :-)
Together with Dmitrijs I went to the old city of Prague. We had a nice walk, taking pictures with our digital cameras all the way.
I attended an interesting session by Fikret Hasovic about Lazarus, the FreePascal based IDE. It seems interesting that there is a way to compile one project for several platforms, however, the prerelease version that Fikret showed us seemed to have a few problems.
I also attended a session by Ann Harrison about Performance Tuning. And I attended Paul Ruizendaal's session on Fyracle, the "Oracle mode" Firebird. After that I had to give my own talk about our Firebird based Quality Management software. Only 4 people were there, but they seemed to be quite interested in the topic.
Lucas Franzen's session about Embedded Firebird showed a lot of familiar things (we already use Embedded for our projects), but there were quite some pearls to be discovered in this session.
After that I went to the old city to take a few pictures with my ancient camera (see below). I went to Carlovy bridge and expected it to be packed with people, but it was not as bad as I had expected.
Lucas Franzen "mad auction"ed a few things (a crappy cuckoo clock being amongst them) and collected nearly 3000 EUR for the Firebird Foundation.
The next conference will probably again be in Prague because it's a good place for people from western and eastern Europe to come (I heard there had been visa issues for some of the Russian speakers last year when the conference has been in Fulda, Germany). However, the Hotel didn't turn out to be optimal, the food was mediocre and the management was said to be quite unflexible (I can't complain about my room, it was newly built and clean).
After the closing session, the WLAN internet access was taken away, so I was offline. Time to go out with my new friends :-)
Firebird 2.0 Beta-1 was released last friday. The team hopes to have the final version ready at the end of the year, or at least the first Release Canidate out.
Paul Beach talkes about the upcoming versions. Firebird 3.0 will integrate the Firebird and Vulcan codebases into one product. A few of the featues will be: External Procedures and Functions (so you can write Stored Procedures with Java or even Delphi), Embedded Users, SQL users management, Full SMP support, etc. The release of Firebird 3.0 is planned for the end of 2006.
There are a lot of ideas what can be done for the next versions, it's all a matter of people participating and money.
This is a link to Martijn Tonies's Blog, which goes much deeper than mine:
This is a small photo album of the Firebird celebs that are here at the conference.
Jim Starkey, inventor and creator of the Groton database, which became InterBase, which was the foundation for Firebird.
Ann Harrison, giving a talk about physical and logical database corruption and how to identify, correct and prevent it. *)
Paul Beach, responsible for all things Firebird
Thomas Steinmaurer, Replication Expert
Lucas Franzen, Mad Auctioneer, giving a talk about Embedded Firebird
Jason Wharton, Developer of the IB Objects component suite for Borland Delphi
(The people who are not in this table are not missing because I don't consider them Firebird celebs, but just because I didn't have a good photo of them ...)
*) On Windows systems, use Forced Writes or a UPS.
I went to the old city by metro. A got out at Mustek station and found myself on a completely crowded shopping street which later on turned out to be the famous Venceslaw Square. After I went up to Muzeum and back, my feet hurt too much so I got back to the hotel, somewhat disappointed. Next time I will have to go the other way. Am I expecting too much?
You can now download the slides from my talk "What Developers Should Know about Character Sets, Unicode etc.". There will be a voice recording on the Post Conference CD (did they really have to record my English? Unbelievable ...).
These are a few pictures to give you an impression of the hotel (Hotel Olsanka) where the conference takes places. This hotel is still breathing the charme of socialism: a lot of concrete and I was told that the hotel management refused to tell the conference organisation what the lunch will be today (reminds me of software: "we will ship when it's ready" :-)
This is the view from my hotel room.
We have been to a lovely music pub this evening and on the way there we came across this lit church.
I arrived in Prague on time. Together with Roman Rokytskyy (maintainer of the Jaybird project) who arrived at the airport at about the same time as me we managed to find the hotel. We had some pizza (a bit too dry, but otherwise not bad) and then I finally met Dmitry Zacharov, a happy user of my XML parser.
In the opening keynote, Holger Klemt and Paul Beach gave an overview what we can expect for the next 2 days. Firebird 2.0 Beta-1 shipped on last friday and we will get this on the conference CD.
At lot of the people who make Firebird happen are unable to attend the conference. But not all of them. The most of important of them, Jim Starkey (inventor of InterBase) is here.
The Firebird Foundation celebrated its third birthday with a large cake after the keynote.
After that, I went out, together with Dmitry and a few other people to search for a nice pub. We ended as a group of 7 people coming from the Czech Republic, Norway, Latvia and Germany.
We had a lot of fun and for me it was the first time to experience the eastern part of the EU and its people. And it was a good experience. It was not only the beer that made friends of us.
The issues programmers talk about seem to be the same everywhere. It's all about dumb users, stupid bosses, incompatible data formats and how we all get around this, using Delphi, Firebird and - sometimes - even a piano :-)
I don't know if it's OK to go to a Greek restaurant the first evening you're in Prague. But we certainly had a lot of fun. So this picture is named "Geeks at the Greek" by me :-)
I now also finished the preparation for the second session. In large parts it is the English translation of a talk I have done on the EKON last year. A lot of people came to me my after that and told me how little they really knew about the topic before.
There is a special Firebird section of course and I hope that someone from the Firebird team in Prague can help me to check a few issues (especially about Firebird 2) before I give this talk.
Next thing is packing my suitcase. I am really excited. I would have loved to have my wife with me, but someone must be there for the kids ...
I finished the preparation for the first session. My goal is to enter the airplane to Prague with finished presentations on my notebook so I can fully enjoy the conference and the city. I have also purchased a street map and a traveller's guide for Prague.
I got a mail from a user of my XML parser. He will also come to the conference (he's one of those on the XML Parser testimonial list :-)
This will be my Weblog Diary for the Firebird Conference 2005. I'm definitely looking forward to this conference, to meeting all the people that make Firebird. And I am looking forward to going to Prague and see this town that everybody likes so much.
Maybe you already know that I am a keen amateur photographer and as I also do photography as a contrast to my day-to-day work before a computer, I like to make classical black and white analog photos, which I develop and print myself.
So I have purchased a Rolleicord camera, a medium format Twin-Lens-Reflex (TLR) camera, which "eats" type 120 roll film and makes negatives that are 6x6 cm (2,25x2,25 inches) in size -- somewhat larger than the well-known 24x36 mm format ;-)
Of course I also will have my small digital camera with me so I can immediately include photos from the conference to this Blog.