It is historically formed that Europe always prefers Borland means of development in contrast to the USA where Microsoft, Visual Basic and Visual C++ reign. Being so popular in Europe and Germany Borland take cake of their old customers and try to do their best in particular in marketing activity. I would like to tell you about it.
Most of you might know that in the beginning of 2000 Borland decided to open sources of InterBase 6.0. After this many employees have left InterBase department and found IBPhoenix. At present they develop an SQL-server called Firebird based on Interbase sources. They also provide paid consulting and technical support of companies, which use InterBase or Firebird. Open sources, help of independent developers and really interesting technical solutions make Firebird very popular in a number of countries (in addition it is absolutely freeware). But some people stopped using InterBase just because they considered such notions as Open Source and Security to be incompatible.
Such situation was very painful for many Borland partners who used to sell Interbase licences. Besides the less number of customers needed less consulting services. And Borland again changed their policy. Now in spite of Interbase Public License, Borland InterBase has again become completely closed. To be more exact now there are as if two InterBase products. The first one is freeware and published in sources and the other one is a commercial series of sertified builds.
It is obvious that simple closing of sources could not return the customers' trust. Since 2000 there was no information on what was happening to InterBase. And in November, 2000 the largest Borland partner and reseller in Germany, Austria and Switzerland - Better Office - has organized InterBase Roashow. The conference aimed at establishing contact between Borland and its old and future customers. There Borland representatives could tell the people about their achievements and plans. As Better Office is our exclusive partner in Germany speaking countries we were also invited to the Roadshow to present Devrace FIBPlus for InterBase. There were four speakers: Jon Arthur (Director of Business Interbase Unit), Charlie Caro (Seniour Staff Engineer), Daniel Magin (Technical Better-Office Director) and me - Serg Vostrikov (Director of Devrace)
From left to right: Jon Arthur, Jopi Janning (Managing Better Office Director),
Daniel Magin, Charlie Caro, Serg Vostrikov.
InterBase Roadshow was held in 5 German cities in November, 5- 9. It was really a great trip, we have visited 5 cities and the sheduler in each of them was very saturated: from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. - presentations, and then a trip to the next city. The first city was Munich (there were 16 people) and the last one - Hannover (more than 70). All the participants were technical specialists of large German companies, which are old Borland customers. Lively contact with Borland representatives positively influenced the company image and helped to reestablish trustful relations. Even during the Roadshow Better Office have concluded a number of treaties. It is also important that there was presented a totally new Interbase version, which was officially not published yet. New InterBase 6.5 contains a number of changes, which at least equal it to the current Firebird version, Of course we do not speak about total similarity, but it seems to us that Borland and Firebird are practically doing the same things but in a different manner - Borland very quetly and Firebird "loudly". That means that Interbase in not only alive, but it is very active and full of energy. According to Jon Arthur, while taking his position he was very upset about the situation with InterBase. He considered its technologies to be very productive and profitable. But up to the recent time InterBase was positioned seemingly as an application to Delphi and C++ Builder. Now InterBase is promoted even more actively than other Borland products. The German listeners liked Jon Arthur and Charlye Caro's presentations. And most of them really like InterBase for its scalability, low system requirements and high productivity. Speaking about producivity it is worth to mention Deutsche Telecom. Now this largest Internet and telephony company actively develops internal software with the help of InterBase (in 2000 they very nearly migrated to Oracle). At present they effectively use a 2Gb database with a concurrent access of about 200-300 people. They have said that the database is being filled now so 2 Gb is just a beginning. It is a pleasure for us to know that Deutsche Telecom use FIBPlus for development of client applications for InterBase.
Demonstration of FIBPlus impressed people and live coding helped it. It is really better to see once that to hear a hundred times and this saying is true in Germany as well as in Russia.
The beginning of presentation in Munich: Serg Vostrikov and
Marina Novikova (a translator and a technical writer)
While presenting FIBPlus we were trying to compare it with IBX (Borland analogue of FIBPlus). Actually the comparison was in favour of FIBPlus. Our examples were easy and understandable, they privided convenient solutions for any developers: handling and restoring connection to a database while working with not stable connection (dial-up), data handling in the context of two transactions for complete avoiding of Deadlock in the Auto-commit mode and master-detail control, which reduces net-traffic and does not require manual coding. Actually, our listeners were very surprised also because as a rule large companies do not search for information in the Internet. So on the roadshow many of the German listeners heard about FIBPlus for the first time. And the effect was so stunning, that Jon Arthur was so kind to include FIBPlus into InterBase Companion CD. Accroding to Jon his main goal is to find as many good tools for Interbase as possible that is why the competition between FIBPlus and IBX is not of so great importance. And thanks to Jon that he was waiting with the Companion CD release for our return from Germany so we could send to him all necessary information.
Speaking about Roadshow results we are glad that Borland policy toward InterBase has changed to the best. And the release of InterBase 6.5. will really help the company to rival IBPhoenix.