Preview of the Firebird Conference 2005

In about six weeks time developers from all over the world will convene
in Prague for the 2005 edition of the
Firebird Conference
. This year’s conference has an even greater
abundance of speakers and topics than the previous editions of the event.
The various
on the conference will cover Firebird itself, development
languages and solution stacks, development tools and issues and
applications. And, of course, it is a great opportunity to meet the

Despite being one of the most popular open source databases, Firebird may
be somewhat unfamiliar to the regular OSNews readership. Just in case you
did not know already, let me introduce Firebird to you: Firebird is an open source database
with roots in Borland’s Interbase, which itself has roots going back 20

Because of the bundling with Delphi and
Kylix, Firebird is very popular with the approximately 1 million Delphi
developers around the world. In the last decade tens of thousands C/S
applications have been created and the Firebird installed base is estimated
at just under 2 million deployments (and about 3 million if you include
legacy Interbase installations). Although the bulk of the deployments is for
mid-market use, a significant share is for “enterprise level” usage.
Firebird is at the core of about one-third of financial applications in the
former Soviet Union and SAS, the world’s
largest privately held software firm, has chosen Firebird to drive its
high-end business analytics systems.

The Firebird core track of the conference will focus on new developments,
development process and roadmap, and give a view of the database internals.
, the release manager for Firebird 1.5 and Firebird 2.0, will
talk about the current and future releases, and give an overview of how
Firebird works “under the hood”. Jim
, the original author of Firebird, will talk about the Vulcan
project, a wholesale rewrite and clean-up of the code base, optimised for
modern SMP hardware. Paul Ruizendaal, main driver of the Fyracle project,
will talk about Firebird’s oracle compatibility mode and Arno Brinkman will
explain how the optimiser works, a topic that always draws large crowds at
Firebird conferences. Others will speak about the Firebird Q&A process,
about performance testing and new security features.

The languages track covers the various solution stacks that are commonly
used with Firebird: Delphi, Java, .Net and PHP. Many sessions cover
developing with Delphi, or more correctly with Object Pascal: the original
Delphi tool has been joined with a Linux version by Borland, Kylix, and by a
cross-platform open source edition, FreePascal/Lazarus.
Delphi based talks include Jason Warton on his famous IBObjects class library, Fikret
Hasovic, editor of the Firebird News,
on n-tier programming and Kim Madsen on the kbmMW application server. Java
is also well covered with Roman Rokyttskyy, project lead for the Firebird JCA/JDBC
, talking about the new 2.0 release and Eugeny Putilin talking
about stored procedures and trigger bodies written in Java. Programming in
PHP will be covered from various angles, including Lester Caine’s ever
popular how-to talks.

General development issues are covered in the tools, tips and tricks
track. Milan Babushkov will speak about FlameRobin, the emerging project admin
tool (Firebird has always been surrounded by a rich cottage industry of tool
vendors, so for along time there was not a tool by the Firebird project
itself). There are talks about development libraries, such as
InstantObjects, FireQ and FIBPlus, and about application optimization.
Carlos Cantu, author of the leading Firebird
book in Brazil
, will talk about advanced Firebird programming with PSQL,
stored procedures and events. Other topics that are covered in this track
are migration, conversion, internationalization, audit trails and, last but
not least, replication.

This year’s applications track will prove to be very interesting. Bill
Oliver and Tom Cole will speak about SAS and their choice for Firebird
inside of their enterprise level business analytics software. Jeanot
Bijpost, winner of the 2004
RAD Race
, will speak about model driven development and the innovative
Cathedron application builder. ERP applications will be covered from several
angles: the Cathedron system has been used to build a large, distributed ERP
system, the oracle-mode talk will cover running Compiere on top of Firebird, and Claus
Heeg will speak about building web ERP systems using Firebird and
ColdFusion. An entirely different application class is covered in Vince
Duggan’s talk about using Firebird to implement a fingerprint recognition

The best of any conference is always the people. This edition of the
Firebird conference will have participants from all five continents, both
speakers and visitors. Many of the project’s core developers and
personalities will attend, so the conference will be a hub for exchanging
views and experiences. For every Firebird user, it is an ideal opportunity
to give feedback to the developers and to potentially influence the Firebird

Looking forward to meeting you in Prague this November!

Paul Richter

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