Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The DB2 Information Center has: Information!

I am always surprised how often I use the DB2 Information Center. I still remember my days as research assistant when I was the Informix DBA in our research group. We only had few printed manuals for each of the database products (Informix, DB2, ObjectStore, Illustra, Ingres, ...) and hence the electronic version of the manuals was the standard way of accessing or trying to access information. I was happy because the Informix manuals were pretty good. On the other hand I always found it hard to find the needed information quickly in the electronic DB2 manuals (version 5 I believe). When I remember correctly, then at that time it mainly consisted of some larger HTML documents, search was provided by a dedicated search server (explain that to the sysadmin).

Times have changed and as DB2 developer and DB2 user I found it interesting how - what is called today - the DB2 Information Center has evolved. Take a look at what I could find online:
  • Version 7: Not that much content yet, but the first version of how the Information Center looks today. Under "What's New" you can find the following section:

    The Information Center, accessible by selecting Help --> Information Center from the Control Center, is now easier to use. In the Information Center you can now view information by subject or by category. The Information Center now contains a link to search the entire DB2 library.

    You can also access help with the db2ic command on UNIX, or from the Start menu on Windows operating systems.

  • Version 8 added lots of content and it is organized by activities.
  • Version 9 is the first version with pureXML, the navigation bar on the left got extended and of course the documentation significantly expanded.
  • Version 9.5 changes the navigation bar and information is organized differently.
The above is from a quick glimpse on the front page, there are far more changes when you dig deeper.

One of the most frequently used features (at least for me) is the search box, but browsing can lead you to the needed information quickly as well. In the DB2 Version 9.5 Information Center click on the "Database fundamentals" topic. The last subsection should now be labelled "pureXML". Expand that section by clicking on the + sign and you should see something like shown here.

It provides hours of interesting reading material and can even, at least sometimes, beat a good novel. Follow the links to related topics and you are up to expanding knowledge and skills. Related material is not limited to the Information Center alone, our ID people include other articles, such those on developerWorks, as well. Thank you!

After all the words from my side, try it out yourself. I am back to reading, in the DB2 Information Center of course...