VISIT REPORT L.Burnard

West Midlands Gas (Solihull)

ICL.DMUG.2900 IDMS User Group Meeting 10Ipril81

British Telecom gave an account of the query processing system they have set up to interrogate IDMS databases. It is an interpretive processor using nonstandard terminology and obtaining its data through the back door (i.e. a copy of the schema source) rather than from the IDMS directory; functionally it has little if anything superior to Data Display 250 and in some respects (output formatting etc) is markedly inferior. On the other hand it cost BT 1 man/year as opposed to whatever outlandish sum DD costs.

Tom Wansborough (iCL) gave a good straightforward account of the IDMS patch-up utilities Restructure and Reorganise, both of which we have used here, the former as less successfully than the latter. He also gave some useful tips on how to simplify restructure when it was needed and explained patiently several times why PRIOR pointers should always be used in volatile sets. Some figures on the performance of Restructure were given - for "small" databases (a mere 200 Meg or so), a restructure time of 20-30 hours seemed to be acceptable. I was too dumbĀ­founded to hear of installations where an uninterrupted run of 20-30 hours was feasible, let alone acceptable, to comment.

After lunch, Richard Barker (iCL) gave a presentation on the facilities which might be expected in IDMS 300. Consdierable improvements in performance had been implemented for the commonest of DML verbs and also great improvements in security. It would be possible to run IDMS and its associated components at ACR 10 and access to a database except via IDMS would be impossible. Various minor user-requested enhancements (one of them mine!) would be included. The most significant change however is the introduction of separate storage schemas; the ability to default everything but the logical description of data items in the schema in particular will reduce the design-to-use time by an order of magnitude in our environment.

I raised 3 major problems we are currently having or anticipate: one proves insoluble, one unpopular and one will go in as an enhancement request.