Velocis Beta-3.0 Database Server
As was stated earlier, we desired a database engine that had a C API interface (for precise, record-level access to the database) and supported the SQL and ODBC industry standards. The Itres database is running under Linux, which is the intranet database server. The server listens to ODBC communication requests from Windows 95/98 and NT and lets certain individuals run admin.exe under Windows. Yes, I'm guilty of doing that, but the Windows administration API is much nicer than the command-line-driven Linux version. The ODBC interface is provided primarily to enable Microsoft Access users to access the database, without yielding to Linux.
In order to interface with the Velocis SQL engine, we developed a Microsoft Access database conversion application based on VBA (Visual Basic for Application). This tool can read the table structures and data contents of any Microsoft Access 97 database and generate an ANSI SQL text file for the transfer purpose.
Any SQL-compatible database engine, such as Velocis, can read the SQL text files and import their contents from the Microsoft Access database. The Itres Microsoft-Access-based inventory database was successfully transferred to the Velocis.
It was also considered desirable for intranet users to have access (or views) into databases. The obvious viewing tool of choice is a web browser. To that end, we wrote CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripts using Tcl (Tool Command Language from Scriptics Corporation). Tcl was extended as a dynamically loadable library, using Velocis' extensive native C API, to provide access to the database using SQL. These functions essentially utilized the sample source code for rsql found in Velocis' examples directory. From this point on, the effort shifted away from API integration with Velocis to a database-design project using SQL, which was our original goal.
In a nutshell, Velocis delivers all we expect of it: reliable operation, interoperability among computing platforms, a strong C API that supports complex operations and multithreading, standards-based ANSI SQL interpreter and reliable archive and recovery tools. Most importantly, Centura Software provides customer support (for a fee) necessary for operating in commercial settings.
We could use (and actually are using) PostgreSQL for prototyping SQL code on many computers, but when it comes to critical code, we prefer to use a supported tool. This preference also drove our selection of Red Hat Linux as a server platform.
Velocis is not perfect, and it does seem to have some potential rough spots (in the installation area and startup), but once configured and running, it works smoothly without complaints.
[Editor's Note: The company has changed name to Birdstep Technology, and Velocsis has become Birdstep RDM server 3.5.]
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