Monday, December 29, 2008

DB2 Express-C on Mac OS X

I cannot remember how many times I've been asked the question "Does DB2 Express-C run on the Mac?". I recall in my trip to Portugal a few months ago, many students and teachers using the Mac. I'm happy I can now answer "Yes" to that question. As of December 23rd, 2008 IBM has released a beta version of DB2 Express-C 9.5.2 for the Mac OS X Leopard 64-bit (Intel)!!! You can download it here. This beta release will no doubt be of interest to developers, particularly those who use scripting languages like Ruby, Python and PHP. These communities are in fact, increasingly embracing Mac OS X as their operating system of choice. For more information, check out this blog from my colleague Antonio Cangiano.

Happy holidays!


Friday, December 19, 2008

DB2 9 Certification Session at Georgian College

On Dec 18th, Pat Moffatt and I, Agatha Colangelo, proctored the DB2 9 Fundamentals Exam (730 exam) at Georgian College. There was a good turnout of students; unfortunately some students were working on co-op programs and weren't able to get the time off work. It was an intense session, including some disappointments, especially for those who almost made it had they correctly answered just one or two more questions. When the exam was over, all agreed that this is an exam that you can't take without studying or proper preparation. Prof. Rodrigo dared to take the exam himself, on the fly, without having studied at all, and afterwards told us it was even useful for him to know the type of questions and content that was covered so that he can plan to cover this content in future computer science courses at the college, for example, concurrency and locking content.

Congratulations to those who passed or almost made it (you will certainly pass the next time)!! For those that didn't make/take the exam, there will be another certification event again at Georgian College next spring or summer; you will be notified of the exact date. In the meantime, here are some useful links where you can get great study material:

  • DB2 9 Fundamentals certification 730 prep series
  • DB2 9 certification: Everything you need to know
  • The free Getting Started with DB2 Express-C book
  • The free Getting Started with DB2 Express-C e-videos

    This material is really all you need to know to pass the 730 exam.

    After the exam, over lunch at a Japanese restaurant, Pat presented the IBM Academic Initiative program to Prof. Rodrigo. He was quite interested in the program and plans to implement it at Georgian College in the near future.

    Best of luck to the students studying for the next session and I look forward to seeing you next spring or summer!

    Agatha Colangelo

  • Wednesday, November 26, 2008

    DB2 on Campus at Georgian College

    On Tuesday, Nov. 25th, I presented the DB2 on Campus for the first time in Canada to ~25 2nd year programming students at Georgian College, who have all taken a fundamentals SQL course, and are in the midst of a PL/SQL course. In addition, they are preparing to write the DB2 Fundamentals Certification exam mid December. They are currently using some of the Control Center features, command line, and Workbench/IBM Data Studio (Workbench is currently in their lab, but they are using IBM Data Studio at home). Although their current course outlines do not cover XML, they have been exposed to XML in another programming course in preparation for the upcoming certification exam. Some of the students knew PHP and Ruby on Rails. Next summer these same students will be taking a DB2 Administration course, therefore, they are already on the right path to becoming DB2 experts!

    Their professor, Prof. Kirsty Fowler, used to be an Oracle guru before teaching computer science, so maybe now that the students are using DB2 in their labs, she can encourage some of them to do some research and write articles comparing the different data servers from a student's point of view. Prof. Fowler and students also asked some questions I couldn't answer, so I encourage them to join channelDB2 to get answers from knowledgeable DB2 users/developers at the Lab. I've also asked them to create a DB2 at Georgian College group for themselves on channelDB2 so that they can grow their DB2 community and communicate easily on DB2 topics, similar to DB2 in Naples, which has skyrocketed in a matter of months!

    However, the most interesting and unusual thing about this presentation was that it needed to be accessible; Alissa Price, the ASL-English interpreter, who seems to be having fun, did an amazing job in replicating the hour-long technical presentation, including three demos, in sign language! This brought to light the fact that our DB2 on Campus presentations and demos need to be accessible as well from now on (and we have already started looking into this). Maybe we can get Alissa and her student to test/approve the presentations and demos for us, when they're accessible! ;-)

    I introduced the students to the XML Superstar contest and encouraged them not only to participate, but to judge some of the entries as well. Unfortunately their free t-shirts did not arrive on time, but the students did receive free DB2 gaming and discovery DVDs, as well as a DB2 Certification Roadmap to help them decide which career path to take with DB2.

    Before the presentation, I chatted a bit with Prof. Greg Rodrigo, whom I had met at CASCON 2008. He is the Co-ordinating and Professor of Computer Studies at this college, and he was quite interested in presenting the DB2 on Campus program to 1st year and 3rd year students as well. Both Prof. Fowler and Prof. Rodrigo were interested in the IBM Academic Initiative program, and Pat Moffatt, the WW Data Servers Education Offering Manager at the Toronto Lab, and I will present this program to faculty when we go back to proctor the certification exam mid December. Prof. Fowler was interested in more collaboration on projects with the IBM Toronto Lab (a common thread with all other universities I've visited), possibly having IBMers supervise some of the projects. Overall, another exceptional experience for me, and a success! The students were happy to learn more about DB2; and the demos were a huge hit! I hope this first visit to a Canadian college will be the beginning of many more visits not only to Georgian College again, but to many other Canadian universities and colleges, who will follow suit and use, or continue to use/promote, DB2 Express-C and other IBM products in their labs.

    One last point, 1 other country and 1 college need to be added to DB2 on Campus 2008 Tour results. ;-)
    Cheers, Agatha Colangelo

    DB2 on Campus 2008 Tour results

    With more than 100 universities in 13 countries visited, the DB2 on Campus tour ended successfully this November 8th. Close to 7,000 student and teachers were reached, and since July 2006, that makes it close to 27,000 attendees!. This year we focused on faculty meetings and faculty training in addition to student presentations. More than 1500 DVDs (DB2 on Campus DVD, Discovery Kit/Gaming DVDs) were distributed during the visits.

    Volunteers (students, teachers and IBMers) across the world helped with the translation of the "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C" book. The following translations were finished and published (Thank you volunteers from the community!!!):
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    Simplified Chinese

    The following translations are still on the works:
    Bahasa Indonesia
    Portuguese (Portugal)

    Bringing a translated version of the book during the DB2 on Campus visits makes a lot of difference!

    For 2009 the plan is to develop more books, videos and presentations that can be translated by the community. The books will include non-IBMers as co-authors in some cases. Other projects are also on the works with professors/students/IBM ambassadors from different universities.

    Agatha Colangelo from the IBM Toronto Lab (Information Development Team) is providing incredible support to the program. She is arranging visits to universities in Canada, as well as helping with translations, and administration of DB2 Student Ambassadors/User groups. Juan Pablo Napoli from IBM Bulgaria is helping develop systems for better administration of DB2 on Campus program efforts.

    If you would like to help with book/video translations, developing new books (For example RoR and DB2, .Net and DB2, DB2 with WAS-CE and Eclipse), please contact us at

    For more information about the DB2 on Campus program, check out these other resources:
    IBM DB2 on Campus Web site
    DB2 on Campus Facebook group
    Free videos and book to learn DB2
    DB2 on Campus community site
    DB2 on Campus Blog
    Download DB2 Express-C!
    DB2 Express-C Forum (Technical assistance)

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    "The Search for the XML superstar" contest status

    As of this week, "The Search for the XML superstar" contest has almost 60,000 participants (45,000 in India, 10,000 in China, 300 in US and Canada, 100 in Poland, and so on!). More than 500 universities are being represented worldwide, with over $50,000 in prizes to be won in the US and Canada.

    The "Ported Application" and "XML Programming" contest categories will go live this December 1st. Entries can be sent in until January 31st with teams of up to 5 members allowed. Read more about this at

    By the way, if any student would like to be a contest ambassador on campus (or professionals in their company) please send a note to


    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    DB2 on Campus - Turkey

    The DB2 on Campus tour in Turkey started on November 3rd. Nine universities were visited in 4 days!. Though the schedule was grueling (almost 18 presentations!) it was good to meet with faculty and students from the universities in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. During the presentations, we also talked about the "Search for the XML superstar" contest (which in Turkey is part of their TGMC - The Great Mind Challenge). More than 400 students and teachers attended the presentations. The picture below is from Istanbul Technical University.

    In the DB2 on Campus presentations, we spend the last 20 minutes giving tips to students about improving their career prospectives. One of the tips is to "network, network, network". Interestingly, a real-life example of the importance of networking was from my colleague Engin from IBM Turkey. Engin is a recent graduate and new employee of IBM. He accompanied me to the different university visits, and also told the students his story about how he joined IBM:

    "In 2006, I was in the Student Committee for Industrial Engineering Student Society . I went to Ankara to attend a presentation from Mr. Eray Yuksek (IBM Turk, Country Manager). After the presentation, I approached Mr. Yuksek and asked him to visit my university to deliver the same presentation. I also emailed Mr. Yuksek and Mrs. Akyel (IBM Turk University Relations Leader) a few times so they would not forget about coming to my university. In 2007 Mrs. Akyel and in 2008 Mr. Yuksek indeed visited us!. What is more interesting is that Mr. Yuksek told me after the presentation to send my resume (a.k.a CV) to IBM. After a few months, I got a mail from Mrs. Akyel, then I was hired!"

    So for Engin, networking paid off!. Becoming a DB2 Student Ambassador is another way of networking, and it has also paid off to other students, as I described in this previous post.

    In the picture below at Ege university in Izmir, Engin is the 3rd one counting from the left.

    Cheers, Raul.

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    SONDAGGIO/SURVEY: Sì/No? Do you like the parallel text of the Italian translation of "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C"?

    The Italian translation of the Getting Started with DB2 Express-C book (Iniziare a Usare DB2 Express-C) can now be downloaded from this site:

    This translation is different from the other translations of the Getting Started with DB2 Express-C books in that it is a parallel text book that contains both the English and Italian text. This is a pilot for Italy only, to allow students to easily refer to the English text for clarification. If we find that students like the parallel text format, we will recommend that future translations/revisions of this and other Getting Started with DB2 Express-C books follow this format. Therefore, let us know if you like this format, and if you find it useful, by adding a comment to this post or sending us an email at:

    We, the translators listed below and I, are continuing to improve the translation. Feel free to also send us your comments, questions or suggestions about the translation or about the contents of the book, in either English or Italian, again by adding a comment to this post or by sending us an e-mail at:

    Italian translators from the Polytechnic of Turin:
  • Sergio Matone, DB2 Student Ambassador
  • Andrea Pignatiello
  • Edoardo Radica
  • Paolo Doz
  • Fabrizio Garetto
  • Antonio Vetrò
  • Rocco Ruberti

    Sergio Matone, his university friends listed above, and I worked many hours on the translation of this book. I hope it will help Italian students more easily learn DB2 and encourage some of them to become DB2 Student Ambassadors themselves, or even to get certified on DB2.

    Looking forward to hearing from you. Your response is much appreciated!

    Ciao! Agatha Colangelo
  • Saturday, November 8, 2008

    DB2 on Campus at CASCON

    Barely settled from my DB2 on Campus tour in Italy, I was able to get in through the cracks at the last minute, sharing the IBM Academic Initiative booth with Pat Moffatt at this year's CASCON 2008, Oct. 27-30, at the Sheraton Parkway Convention Center.

    We had interested profs and students from the following universities and colleges:
  • Athabasca University
  • Georgian College (I will be presenting the DB2 on Campus program to this college at the end of Nov., 2008, and Pat and I will be going to this college again in Dec., 2008, to conduct a DB2 Certification event. Pat has been working closely with this college for a number of years and now that they have integrated appropriate DB2 content into their curriculum, we are able to provide this value-added service: a testing event at the college.)
  • Queen's University
  • Ryerson University
  • Seneca College
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Toronto

    We even had some interested high school teachers (from Richmond Hill and Toronto School Board) asking whether they could introduce DB2 in their computer science courses.

    A fair number of profs and students were also interested in the same programs for Eclipse, Rational, and WebSphere products. Almost everyone was interested in the Search for the XML Superstar contest that's starting on Dec. 1st in Canada.

    Everyone who stopped at our booth was asked to complete a short survey, ranking the following words based on how they would describe the relative knowledge of a job role working with IBM software:
    --"Professional Certification"
    --"Academic Readiness"
    --"Academic Qualification"
    --"Academic Recognition"

    Thanks again to everyone who visited our booth and participated in the survey! If you are interested in the Academic Initiative program or the DB2 on Campus program and would like a DB2 Certification event or a DB2 on Campus presentation at your university, college, or even high-school, contact us at or visit our web site at You can also visit the student community Web site at

    If you are interested in more information about the IBM Academic Initiative, visit

    Learn more about certification at

    Cheers, Agatha Colangelo
  • Friday, November 7, 2008

    DB2 on Campus tour in Italy

    This year's DB2 on Campus tour in Italy was a huge success! From Oct. 2-17, Raul and I, Agatha Colangelo, presented the DB2 on Campus program (Raul in English and I in broken Italian) to more than 500 Italian university students and faculty members from universities across the country. This was Raul's fourth tour in Italy, and my first.

    In the north, among the professors and IBMers present were Prof. Stefano Ceri, from the Polytechnic of Milan, Prof. Elena Baralis and Prof. Silvia Chiusano from the Polytechnic of Turin, as well as Carla Milani, University Relations Manager, IBM Italy.

    After the presentation in Milan, Sergio Matone, the DB2 Student Ambassador from the Polytechnic of Turin, also spoke to the students about the exciting work he's doing as ambassador, and its benefits. Sergio and his university friends who helped with the Italian translation of the book: Getting Started with DB2 Express-C, received free t-shirts from Raul. After each presentation in Milan and in Turin, Carla, Sergio, Raul and I socialized over a delicious lunch at a nearby Osteria. Also, while in Milan, at the IBM Segrate office, we had the privilege of a meeting with Carla Milani, Francesco Airoldi, Senior IT Architect, Carlo Patrini, IT Architect, Giancarlo Scotti, IBM Sales & Distribution, and Felix Mahimai John, the DB2 Student Ambassador from the Polytechnic of Milan. Among other things, we discussed the need to have more DB2 retail books, both in English and Italian. Therefore, for those of you want to write books on DB2, do not hesitate. The public is waiting for them!

    Heading south very early the morning of Oct. 9th, I captured this beautiful sunrise from the plane, before arriving at the beautiful gulf of Naples, from where I had left Italy as a child and not returned there since. (The 2nd picture was the view from my B&B, not easy to find but worth every penny, or rather, every euro.)

    Giacomo Franco, Process, Methods & Tools Leader, Italy, and DB2 Ambassador was waiting for us at the airport. At the Electronic Engineering Dept. at University of Naples Federico II, we met Prof. Paolo Maresca, who showed us the amazing work his students are doing on the DB2 on Campus login/ registration system.

    After the presentation, while we were chatting in his office, Prof. Maresca created the DB2 in Naples group on channelDB2. (Since then, more than 70 students from Federico II have joined channelDB2 and the number keeps growing daily!) Prof. Maresca expressed interest in collaborating on projects with the IBM Toronto Lab and also with other universities, not only in Italy, but from other countries as well. Here are a few of the students from Naples who have since joined channelDB2. Francesco Buono, 2nd from the left, is leading the login/ registration project. I wish these and all other Italian students who attended the presentations much success with their studies and careers (at IBM or elsewhere). Prof. Maresca, Giacomo, Raul and I also enjoyed delicious pizzas at a nearby restaurant (I finally tasted "Toto's pizza"; for those who don't know, Toto is the most famous Italian comedian from Naples, that they named a pizza after him.)

    The following day, at the University of Salerno, with IBMers Giacomo Franco and Ornella Serio, a senior IT Specialist from GBS, we met Prof. Paolo Napoletano and Prof. Francesco Colace, who later presented his design/prototype of a brainstorming system called "CoffeeShop" that used XML in files. Hopefully our presentation convinced Prof. Colace to use DB2 V9.5 with pureXML instead!

    The presentation was followed by an incredible catered lunch at the university's cafeteria with Prof. Giancarlo Nota. Not only was the food exquisite, but the view from the cafeteria, of the surrounding mountainside, was breathtaking (I was sorry I didn't have my camera with me). Ornella and I spent the last evening together having fun, sight- seeing Naples.

    The 2nd week, Raul headed north to present the DB2 on Campus program to universities in Poland, while I headed east to present the program to universities in Puglia, my native province. I first presented the program to IBMers and IBM contractors (PhD.s) at the IBM Innovation Lab, Bari, who are working on the MBLab (Bioinformatic Laboratory for Molecular Biodiversity) and LIBi (International Laboratory of Bioinformatics) projects with Pietro Leo, Executive IT Architect, IBM GBS, and DB2 Ambassador. Below Pietro (Piero) is introducing the presentation to profs and PhD. students at the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Bari.

    Present were Prof. Gianni Semeraro and Prof. Donato Malerba. This presentation was followed by another delicious lunch at the local Osteria in Bari.

    At the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Salento, just outside the baroque city of Lecce, among the PhD. students present were Prof. Giovanni Aloisio and Dott. Maria Mirto. This group is also working on the LIBi project.
    One of the PhD. students presented a system that they're developing that uses DB2 among other databases at the backend. With this and other projects, Prof. Aloisio also expressed an interest in collaborating with the IBM Toronto Lab and with other universities both in Italy and around the world.

    Since I wasn't able to present the IBM Data Studio demo at some universities (due to harware problems), here's a link to it: IBM Data Web Services.

    Overall, this tour was not only "un successione", with good food, great weather, and beautiful places to visit, but it was also an opportunity of a lifetime for me, allowing me to meet many wonderful people in Italy while promoting DB2.

    For more pictures, visit my page on channelDB2.

    Ciao! Agatha

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    DB2 on Campus - Bulgaria

    From Oct 27 to Oct 31 I visited universities in Bulgaria in three cities: Sofia, Ruse and Varna taking me across Bulgaria by car (700+ Km). Close to 165 students and teachers attended the presentations. In Pyce (written in cyrillic) or Ruse/Rousse (written in our regular alphabet) the local media took some pictures of the event, and I was later told we appeared also on the local news on TV! In addition to raising awareness for DB2 Express-C, IBM Data Studio, and Rational Data Architect, I was able to meet with Juan Pablo Napoli (IBM Bulgaria) to discuss several projects we had in mind for a while. Juan Pablo will be teaching in the Master's program at the University of Sophia (SSME Master's program sponsored by IBM), and is also leading a student group to develop some systems for the DB2 on Campus Portal. In addition, during the visits we found 5 volunteer students who will help translate the "Getting started with DB2 Express-C" book from English to Bulgarian. My visits were also used as an opportunity to talk about the "Search for the XML superstar" contest to be organized in Bulgaria in the next few months. The picture below shows the moment I was talking about the contest at the presentation in Pyce.

    Sunday, November 2, 2008

    DB2 Express-C 9.5.2 beta available now!


    We've just released the DB2 Express-C 9.5.2 beta for Windows (32-bit). It includes the new Text Search feature "WHERE CONTAINS(column, 'monkey')=1", great for web development.

    Enjoy! Raul.

    Monday, October 27, 2008

    The IBM Data Champion program

    In my DB2 on Campus tours, I've met amazing people doing incredible work for the DB2 community. Sometimes I felt they were not being recognized for their volunteer work (even though they were not asking for this, but were doing things out of their own passion for the product). I'm happy to let you know that this week, IBM is announcing a new program called "IBM Data Champion". This program has been designed to recognize and reward members of the worldwide data management community who contribute in forums, run Web sites promoting or using data management products, write articles and technical guides, produce videos and podcasts, speak at technical conferences, and teach technical skills. Anyone who is not a current IBM employee is eligible.

    For more information about the program, please visit

    Cheers, Raul.

    Sunday, October 26, 2008

    DB2 on Campus in Romania

    Romania is one of the newest members of the European Union, and it's growing fast. The DB2 on Campus tour started on October 20th in Bucharest ("The little Paris" of the 30's) and ended on October 24th in Iasi. We visited the University Politechnica of Bucharest, Stefan cel Mare University of Suceava, and Gh. Agachi University of Iasi. Close to 270 students and 20 teachers attended the presentations. I was glad to recruit four volunteers students to translate the "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C" book from English to Romanian. I was also pleasantly surprised to find a DB2 book already written in Romanian (see picture at the top). The book was written for DB2 UDB V8.2, and it was an effort led by Theodor Borangiu (IBM Romania) and a group of teachers from different universities. In Suceava, I met one of the teachers who was part of this book team, and have encouraged her to upgrade the book to DB2 9.5. We are also planning some collaboration work to develop other materials. The picture at the end of this blog is from University Politechnica of Bucharest.


    Eye on Poland

    Whenever I arrive to a hotel, I normally watch the news on CNN. A few weeks back they were running a special on Poland called "Eye on Poland". I happened to be running the DB2 on Campus tour in this country from Oct 11 - 17, almost at the same time the special was showing. The CNN special was right, Poland is growing very fast. Many changes are happening for the good, and other than traffic, I see a lot of optimism from the people I talked to. On the academic side as well, I see a lot of activity. The IBM Academic Initiative (AI) team in Poland is very active and energetic. The team is supported by the IBM Krakow Lab, as well as the offices in IBM Warsaw, and they are doing a lot of good things. My schedule in Poland was hectic visiting 7 universities in 5 days for a total of 14 presentations. The DB2 on Campus tour started in Krakow, then Gliwice, Wroklaw, Poznan, and Lodz. I was accompanied by nice IBM Poland colleagues like Marcin, Kasha, Jarek, and Mariusz to the student presentations as well as faculty meetings. Overall, we reached about 350 students and 30 faculty members!. Moreover, the International DB2 User Group (IDUG) was running its European conference that week. Though I couldn't attend, a colleague of mine from IBM USA (Paawan) did present on Academic Initiative topics. She also accompanied me on some university visits. Overall, it was a successful tour with a lot of presentations, lots of driving, lots of hotels and very tiring!. Warning: In Poland people drive FAST. The "minimum" speed is 120km =). I also had the chance to pre-announce the "Search for the XML Superstar" contest in the universities I visited in Poland. The official announcement for the contest in Poland was on October 19th.

    Cheers, Raul.

    P.S: The picture is from the Politechnika Poznanska in Poznan, Poland

    Thursday, October 9, 2008

    Meeting DB2 Student Ambassadors in Portugal

    The DB2 on Campus European tour started late in September in Portugal. IST university (Lisbon) and Univeristy of Minho (Braga), two of the best universities in Portugal, were visited. In both universities there were faculty meetings, 2-hour DB2 on Campus presentations, and a 1-day DB2 workshop. More than 200 students and teachers attended the events (see picture to the right). I also had the chance to meet DB2 Student Ambassadors at U. Minho. These ambassadors were "recruited" by Vitor Rodrigues (IBM USA) on his visit to U. Minho last year. Nuno Job, was one of the DB2 Student Ambassadors who is now hired on a 1-year intership at IBM in New York (See earlier blog about this). Unfortunately, Nuno left for New York a few days prior to my visit, so I could not meet him. I did meet the other ambassadors. See the picture to the right. The order from top left to bottom right: Nuno Lebreiro, me (Raul Chong), Marcelo, Vitor Rodrigues (IBM USA), Joao, Ulisses, Sergio, Ivo. Visit their DB2 User Group web site here! Currently, the group is running a "mini-challenge" to see who in their university downloads the most DB2 Express-C in one month!. Let me know if you'd like to do something like that.


    DB2 on Campus in Vietnam keeps going and going!

    Late in September and early October, Khiem Nguyen (IBM Vietnam) continued his work to deliver DB2 on Campus presentations at three universities in Vietnam: VNU in HCM city,Can Tho university, and An Giang university. As part of his visits, Academic Initiative scholarships were granted to seven students and "The Search for the XML Superstar" contest was officially announced (See picture). More than 300 students and teachers participated in these events.

    Great work Khiem!


    Polish version of eBook "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C is now available!


    I'm pleased to inform you all that the Polish version of the eBook "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C is now available here! Thanks to all volunteers who helped in the translation!.


    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Online Community Action Day: October 1st

    In the student presentations at different universities I've talked about the importance of "visibility" as a way to improve your career prospective. Thanks to the internet, one way to gain visibility is to blog!. We are running an initiative this October 1st to encourage as many people in the DB2 Community to participate on an "online community activity". This could be blogging about DB2 or pureXML as explained in my presentations, or other information management related topics. You are not limited to blogging. You can also participate in DB2 forums (for example the DB2 Express-C forum), comment on the free DB2 on Campus videos, and so on. Any online activity would be good!. So don't wait, mark October 1st as a day to take action and gain visibility!


    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    “Search for the XML Superstar” contest

    You may have heard about this contest in my DB2 on Campus presentations in China, ASEAN, and India. The “Search for the XML Superstar” contest is now a reality in Turkey, Lithuania, China, India and ASEAN. In India it is used as the theme of this year's TGMC contest ( In ASEAN they have announced the contest recently (, and in China, the contest is now running for a few months ( But rather than checking out each of these web sites individually, you can log on to and choose the country of your choice. The site will be live this October 1st, when the International DB2 User Group (IDUG) officially announces the “Search for the XML Superstar” contest in the United States.

    As I've been saying in my presentations, XML is the foundation for many of the technologies of the present and future. It is shaping the way data is stored, exchanged, analyzed, transferred and processed. Participate in this contest and become the XML superstar!.

    Note that the contest has several categories, so even if you are an XML or DB2 novice, you can participate!. The five categories are: XML application programming, ported applications, database gadgets, videos and query challenge. Contestants will participate in a combination of education, exposure to practical applications and “tests” that will validate understanding and ability to program IBM database technologies. Entries will be judged by an independent panel of DB2 professionals.

    In terms of prizes, you could receive an all-expense paid trip to an IDUG conference, a Segway i2 personal transport system, a new laptop, an iPod, a Sony PlayStation 3 or a Nintendo Wii system!. For students you may also win opportunities for interviews and IBM lab visits.

    Participate and be the XML superstar!


    DB2 User Community & KLNCIT DB2 User Group Inauguration

    In my previous blog entry, I mentioned I had bad luck and could not attend the inaguration of a DB2 User Group ceremony in Madurai, India. The DB2 community and group were successfully inaugurated on a ceremony held on September 24th, 2008 at the Conference Hall of K.L.N. College of Information Technology. The group now boasts 240+ members and their goal is to recruit more DB2 Student Ambassadors and create more university DB2 User groups in the south of India!. Congratulations to Raghuveer Babu and Pradeep Kumar, the two DB2 Student Ambassadors leading this effort. Pictures of the ceremony are at the top and the main members of the group are shown below.


    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    DB2 on Campus in India

    On Saturday September 13th, I arrived in India for the first time to promote the DB2 on Campus program. Unfortunately, I had some bad luck at the beginning of the tour: The same day I arrived there were some terrorist attacks in New Delhi (but I was in the hotel, so I was safe). Then the following day on Sunday, when I was boarding my plane to Chennai, my IBM India colleague calls me and says that the local government in Madurai had declared Monday a public holiday. This meant the three presentations scheduled for me that day had to be cancelled given that there would not be any public transportation for the students. It was really unfortunate as the K.L.N College of Information Technology had also planned the inaguration of the DB2 User Group, and I was going to be the main guest in the ceremony. Nonetheless, I did get in touch by phone with the DB2 Student Ambassadors in Madurai, and couriered them some t-shirts and DVDs so they could continue promoting DB2. The student ambassadors at K.L.N College of IT (Raghuveer Babu and Pradeep Kumar) are very active and motivated. They are helping me interview other DB2 Student Ambassadors in India.

    On Tuesday I visited Anna University in Chennai (picture below) and delivered a 3-hour presentation to almost 150 students. On Thursday I visited Truba university in Bhopal ("The city of lakes"), and there were also more than 150 students and 5 teachers (Picture to the right). I'm receiving several applications from students now who want to become DB2 Student ambassadors. On Friday, I had a very fruitful meeting with IBM India colleagues. IBM India is doing a great job to reach to universities and give them access to IBM software. They started the TGMC (The Great Mind Challenge contest) a few years ago, and now they are running it every year with a huge amount of students participating. This year's main theme for TGMC is to become the "XML superstar" taking advantage of DB2's unique pureXML technology. The DB2 on Campus DVDs containing the free book and videos have been well received in India, and IBM India will reproduce it locally and use it for TGMC.

    Though it was a short visit, I do plan to return to India again. I see a "can do" attitude in almost every student I meet in India. This is also the attitude IBM India has, and they are eager to execute a program I presented to them on the Friday's meeting.


    Monday, September 15, 2008

    German translation of the free DB2 Express-C book is now available!

    Hello all,

    You may already know that we have a free DB2 Express-C book, and that the DB2 Express-C community has been translating it for a few months now. I'm glad to inform you that in addition to the English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Portuguese (Brazil) translations -- which were available for a few months already -- a new translation has been added: the German version. Thanks to Mr. Leo E. for his volunteer work for this latest translation!. Click here to get the free book.

    Other translations coming soon are: Polish, Italian, Spanish, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Russian, and Portuguese (Portugal). All of these translations have been done by the DB2 Community. My sincere thanks to all who have contributed thus far!

    Cheers, Raul.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    DB2 on Campus faculty training successfully ends in ASEAN

    After 3 intense weeks in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, I'm glad to report that 115 teachers and teaching assistants have been trained on DB2 (2-day hands-on workshop). Three sessions were held in Vietnam with teachers from 13 universities. I also had a interesting experience of getting a ride on motorcycle by a teacher to go for lunch!...truly the Vietnamese way of getting around the city! In Indonesia (picture to the right) there was one 2-day session for 2 universities at IBM Indonesia training center. One of the universities participating in the training was Binus university (21 teachers & assistants participated in the class). Binus will be teaching DB2 on a 15-weeks course to 500+ students (8 classes of about 65 people each). The course will include 13 theory sessions and 6 hands-on labs and a final project. The first part of the course will cover DB2 Fundamentals (Based on the Getting Started with DB2 Express-C free book), and those who pass the mid-term with 75% or more will be invited to participate in the DB2 Elite for Academics offering where they can write the IBM DB2 Exam 730 for free. To prepare for the exam, the students are left with homework where they have to complete the DB2 Exam 730 Tutorials available in developerWorks. The second part of the course is on DB2 application development using Java and PHP. The materials for this class will be used to expand the Getting Started with DB2 Express-C book with new chapters covering application development topics. Making slide notes available are also in plan so the material can be used to teach to others. Something I learned while in Indonesia, is that it's the 4th most populated country in the world with 280 million people!. No wonder Binus can teach DB2 to 500+ students in one semester!
    In Thailand (picture on the left) I held two sessions to 31 teachers from 10 universities. Several teachers were very interested in the pureXML unit, and planned to incorporate it in his/her courses. Both in Vietnam and Thailand there were sessions held on Saturday and Sunday to fit professor's schedules.

    Next stop: India!

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    FAQs at some of my presentations

    This year the student's presentation I'm delivering as part of the DB2 on Campus program is titled "Web 2.0 and DB2 demos". I first explain in simple terms the concepts of SOA, Web 2.0, XML, and pureXML technologies. Then I mention two approaches of free application development. One of them uses a J2EE approach with free (and some open source) software like Linux/Eclipse/DB2 Express-C/WAS-CE. These are used to develop Web Services. The other free application development approach is to use open source languages like RoR or PHP with DB2 Express-C.

    For the first approach, I show a live demo to create data web services using IBM Data Studio (an Eclipse-based tool), which connects to a DB2 Express-C database, deploying the Web service on a WAS-CE app server (that comes as separate install image in IBM Data Studio). This demo was created by the team led by Michael Schenker (IBM Data Web Services and SOA Team Lead) and it's recorded on a video in I'm including below answers to some of the typical questions I encounter when showing this demo live. Thanks again to Michael for helping out with this information!:

    The data Web Services created with IBM Data Studio and deployed to WAS-CE were invoked from a browser for the REST version. How about the SOAP version?

    Web Browsers do not support SOAP right away - however - you could (under certain circumstances) use some JavaScript (e.g. the XmlHttpRequest object) to call the Web Service using SOAP. You need to be aware of the browser's cross-host-scripting security issues - the JavaScript which executes the XmlHttpReuqest against the service needs to be hosted at the same Web-/Application server as the Web Service itself - otherwise the browser will block the request.

    How about invoking the Web Service from an application?

    There are several different ways how you can call (consume) a Web Service. You can use simple HTTP calls from different programming languages. For example, a Java program can simply use the plain Java HTTP API to call the service. You could also use some tool you feed the WSDL with and which generates you some Web service client skeleton code (e.g. wsdl2java - Axis 2 or wsdl.exe - MS .NET). You can also use some pre-build tools like curl. Also for this tool you would need to know how the request XML document has to look like.

    There are also Web Service consumer UDFs you can use in DB2 as documented here. You could invoke these UDFs from an application. If you plan to use these UDFs, ensure you work with them starting with DB2 9.5 fixpack 2 (to be available soon). Prior to this fixpack the UDFs were broken in DB2 9.5.

    How do you call the stored procedure operation in the Web service from a browser directly from the URL? I think for the REST version is just like passing parameters in Http-post/get. How is it done in SOAP?

    As soon as you made the SQL statement or stored procedure call a Web service operation there is no distinction between an operation with an SQL statement behind or one which has a stored procedure call. In both cases input values (which are host variables in case for SQL statements and in or in/out parameters in case of stored procedures) you either provide them as key/value pairs (when using HTTP/GET or POST) or inside the SOAP request.

    What about security issues with Data Web Services?

    You can enable security when invoking Data Web Service operations using a J2EE security scheme, which is transport-level security. It requires application server-specific extensions inside the Data Web Services application.You can set up security using WAS (or the app server you use). If using WAS take a look at the following tutorials. Security is covered in part 2 and 3:

    - Data Web Services on WAS - part 1
    - Data Web Services on WAS - part 2
    - Data Web Services on WAS - part 3

    Cheers, Raul.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    DB2 on Campus ASEAN tour results

    In a previous blog entry, I mentioned we reached almost 2000 students and 150 teachers in about 50 different universities in ASEAN. The story does not end there. In Vietnam, the local AI representative (Khiem Nguyen) is replicating the model and reaching more universities. For example, last week, he visited FPT university and delivered the "Web 2.0 and DB2 demos" presentation to 60+ students and 5 teachers. Following the model used to deploy the DB2 on Campus program and the IBM Academic Qualification, he then met with faculty to present the program, which was well received. FPT is now happy to participate in the IBM Academic Qualification program, and will likely send some teachers to the faculty training I will deliver at UNS university this August 18th. Khiem did a great job as well to find many student volunteers to translate the "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C" book to Vietnamese and to coordinate the work. He also found local funding to print hardcopies. We distributed some of these hardcopies during the DB2 on Campus tour, and he is distributing more as he visits more universities. The picture shown is from Duytan university in Danang, Vietnam where 80+ students and 3 teachers attended the presentation.

    In Indonesia, Binus university has a program in Computer Science where almost 700 students choose the Data Management specialization every year. After the DB2 on Campus student's presentation, faculty members agreed that they would be offering DB2 in their curriculum. We are currently working with them to prepare the materials they can use that are suitable to what they want to achieve. They have indicated that starting this September, 600 out of the 700 students will receive training on DB2 per year as part of their curriculum if the material is ready. They plan to use the "Getting Started with DB2 Express-C" book and corresponding DB2 on Campus videos as part of the course, and we are also working on creating the course project. The picture shows some teachers and the dean of the computer science department at Binus university, listening to the faculty presentation about the DB2 on Campus and IBM Academic Qualification programs.

    Similar examples where DB2 is being added to university curriculum is happening in Thailand and Malaysia. I'll report on that on a later blog.

    Cheers, Raul.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008

    More DB2 Student Ambassadors hired by IBM

    One of the benefits of becoming a DB2 Student Ambassador is that you can showcase your skills and network with different IBM employees. This was the case of Nuno Job, a DB2 Student Ambassador from the University of Minho, Portugal. Nuno became a DB2 Student ambassador after attending a DB2 on Campus presentation at his university, and delivered by one of my colleagues (Vitor Rodrigues). After volunteering to work on several tasks (one of them was the development of some Industry bundle demos, and working on the DB2 on Campus community web site), he impressed several IBMers with his skills and hard work. This is how he got his one-year internship at IBM in New York which will start this October. Congratulations Nuno!

    Another example is the one from Caroline Beatriz Perlin, a student from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in Sao Carlos, Brazil. Caroline volunteered in many DB2 on Campus related tasks organizing DB2 certification events and getting certified herself on DB2. She also worked voluntarily at the Center of Training in Databases at her university where she studied DB2 in detail with other classmates; and helped translate the Getting Started with DB2 Express-C book from English to Portuguese. This is how she networked with Hiro, an IBM Brazil employee and UFSCar alumni, and through this relationship, she joined IBM Brazil, first as an intern, and now full-time as a DB2 DBA!

    Then we have the example of Sara Perez, a student at UNITEC in Mexico City. Sara was a DB2 Student Ambassador in 2007 and was the president of the DB2 User Group at her university. Thanks to her initiatives, several of her classmates including herself became certified on DB2 as "Database Associates". After graduating, Sara "passed the torch" to her classmate Lourdes Fragoso, who became the new president of the group, and who continued pushing even further to obtain the DB2 DBA certification. Even though Sara was no longer a student, she kept in touch with the group, and prepared with them for the DB2 DBA exam which she successfully passed with Lourdes. Now Sara is working as a contractor at IBM through an IBM business partner. Congratulations Sara!

    Lastly...before this blog entry gets too long, we have the "case" of Felix Mahimai, a Master's student at Politecnico di Milano, in Milan, Italy. Felix became a DB2 Student Ambassador after one of my visits at his school in 2007. As a DB2 Student Ambassador, Felix has been in constant contact with a manager at IBM Italy (Carla) who organizes the Italian DB2 on Campus visits. He is working now on translating the Getting started with DB2 Express-C book to Italian, and trying to continue the work that Nuno started with the community DB2 on Campus portal at (Ruby on Rails application). Recently Felix was selected to join IBM Italy on a 3-month internship position!.

    Becoming a DB2 Student Ambassador is not a guarantee for a job at IBM or any other company, but if you have the willingness and put the effort, it can allow you to become "visible" to different employers, and open you the doors to the career you want... So don't be shy and participate! You can read more about this program at the community DB2 on Campus portal: including other student testimonials.

    Networking: The key to finding the job you want!

    When I was a student, I attended several seminars to learn how to find a job after graduation. Several of these seminars indicated that "Networking" was the number one method of landing the perfect job at the company you dreamed to work for. Now that I work for IBM, in a job I really enjoy, I can confirm this is very true. When I deliver presentations to students, I also provide them with hints about finding work, and I often say:

    "Don't wait until you graduate to apply for jobs. Don't just send your resume by email or regular mail to the Human Resources department of a company. Instead, take advantage of visits from company employees (like me!) to network and get good contacts."

    On some occasions, many students would approach me after the presentation, and indeed try to network with me. Surprisingly though, in most universities I visited, students are shy, and only one or two approach me after the presentation. But these one or two students, are the ones who eventually become DB2 Student Ambassadors, and in some cases end up being hired by IBM! So... network! network! network!

    Cheers, Raul.

    New DB2 on Campus community Web site

    The growing student and faculty DB2 on Campus community has created a new site: This site is ran by students and currently hosted at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in Sao Carlos, Brazil!. Several parts of the site are still under construction, but what is already available explains the DB2 on Campus program and how it can benefit students, teachers and DB2 professionals. Check it out!

    DB2 on Campus program redesigned in 2008

    Starting in 2008, the DB2 on Campus program has been redesigned as follows:

    1. It promotes the IBM Academic Qualification (AQ) Program. The AQ program has been running successfully in Latin America since 2002, and it's main objective is to include DB2 in the university curriculum, and prepares the students (to a certain extent) to be ready to become DB2 certified.

    2. DB2 Express-C is not the only software that is promoted/demo-ed, but also Rational Data Architect (RDA) (a modelling tool) and IBM Data Studio (a full lifecycle data management solution for database application development and management.)

    3. The introductory DB2 on Campus presentation used this year is about Web 2.0 and DB2 demos. In this presentation, we discuss the importance of XML as the foundation of SOA and Web 2.0, and how DB2 supports XML with pureXML™ technology. A few demos are provided, one of them about an application using Ruby on Rails and DB2 Express-C, and another one showing how to create Data Web Services in IBM Data Studio.

    The redesigned DB2 on Campus program has been successfully deployed in some ASEAN countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam) where we reached almost 2000 students and 150 teachers in about 50 different universities! It will be later deployed in some countries in Europe.


    Learn DB2 Express-C in one day (OK, maybe in two!) from these free resources

    Videos, PDF presentations or a book - choose the format you prefer to learn DB2 Express-C quickly! The content is the same but in multiple formats:

    - Download and watch the DB2 on Campus Videos
    - Review the DB2 on Campus presentations (PDF included when downloading the videos)
    - Review the book “Getting Started with DB2 Express-C

    Hands-on exercises (“Quicklabs”) are included. Moreover, the “Getting Started with DB2 Express-C” book is available in several languages including Vietnamese, Simplified Chinese, and Portuguese (Brazil). The translated versions of the book can be found with the English version here, and were translated by volunteers of the DB2 community!

    This material is also used during the two-day DB2 on Campus instructor workshop. It is also included in the DB2 on Campus DVD that is distributed during DB2 on Campus presentations worldwide.

    On a recent visit to Indonesia, the Indonesian Ministry of Education indicated they would be uploading these videos to their online e-learning system reaching at least 14,000 students!

    Cheers, Raul.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    DB2 on Campus Program - How it started

    DB2 Express-C, the free edition of DB2 was announced on January of 2006. Given that I was traveling to Brazil to deliver training to IBM Business Partners, I took this as an opportunity to promote DB2 Express-C, and pureXML technology at universities in Brazil.

    My visit coincided with riots taking place in Sao Paulo, and I almost had to return to Canada!. Fortunately the situation improved, and I was able to visit 5 universities in the area. Organizing these events required a lot of planning from the local team, so canceling last minute would have been a big problem.

    The presentations were very successful. The IBM Brazil team did an amazing job to get a great audience for the presentations (close to 500), and I was glad I received comments like "This was a very interesting presentation. I normally don't stay for the entire duration of a presentation, but I really enjoyed this one!". From my part, one of the things I like the best about Brazil is the people!. They are very hospitable, happy and kind.

    I started blogging about "DB2 on Campus" in the DB2 Express-C blog but from now on, I will be blogging here since it's more specific to DB2 on Campus activities.

    Send me a note or comment on this post if you'd like to join as a contributor to this blog.

    Cheers, Raul.

    Welcome to the DB2 on Campus blog!

    Hello everyone,

    I'm starting this blog to talk about things mainly related to the DB2 on Campus program. If you'd like to be a regular contributor to this blog, send me a note or comment on this entry to contact you!. The blog is mainly in English, but feel free to write things on your own native language.

    Let's start blogging!

    Cheers, Raul.