September 2001

Technical Support Newsletter #4

Welcome to the forth issue of the FrontBase newsletter. If you have any additional feedback on this newsletter, or wish to contribute then please mail us at


Review of the Month
FrontBase Out and About
Drivers, Plugins and DAMs
Hot Topic
Customer Support
Tell us what you're doing
Technical Tip
Technical Tip #2
Technical Bulletin

Review of the Month

New releases

This month has seen the release of FrontBase 3.2 and the new FrontBaseManager for Mac OS X. FrontBase 3.2 represents a major revamp of FrontBase 2.x, a product renowned by its thousands of users, with many enhancements and improvements. Some of the major areas to benefit from this revamp are:

  1. Performance
  2. Transaction logging
  3. Tuning
  4. Compatibility
  5. Full text searching
  6. Replication
  7. Clustering
  8. Memory durability
  9. Administration tool

For a full description of the above please see the 'Release Notes' in our 'Download' section at

FrontBaseManager represents a significant step up from its predecessor FBManager. Please see the new FrontBaseManager.pdf at Documentation for all of the details.

FrontBase Version 3.2 updates

This month has seen continuing development work on the latest major release of the FrontBase server engine. Please keep an eye on our website for updates of both the server and administration tools. For example, there are UI elements of FrontBaseManager that will be incorporated in future releases very soon.

FrontBase out and about

Apple Expo 2001 - Paris, France.

Unfortunately the Paris Expo scheduled for 26th September was cancelled in light of security precautions arising from the recent terrorist attacks. Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the attacks in America.

Drivers, Plugins and Dams

Development work has continued on most of our drivers and adaptors this month, as usual. Various beta versions with enhanced functionality are in the making with a few new releases this month. If you are interested in testing our beta software then please mail us at and we will gladly sign you up.

Studio DAM

We have become aware of a slight problem with respect to case-sensitivity when executing queries in Omnis Studio. To work around it, convert all the column names in your studio schema to upper case.

*Please note that the current release of our Omnis Studio DAM 1.1 is compatible with FrontBase version 3.2.


This month a fix was applied for a reported memory leak in the ODBC driver.


We have added documentation for some of the new functions in the php driver which can be perused at PHP documentation

WO5 Plugin

A new version of the WO5 plugin (1.4) for Mac OX X was posted this month. This addresses a number of issues reported in the prior weeks.

As always with all the new drivers, be sure to check the readme prior to installation for installation details.

WO5 Tech Tip:

The same keys are not supported in the WO5 connection dictionary as they were in WO4.5.

A WO4.5-era connection dictionary looks like:

connectionDictionary = {
   catalogName = "";
   databaseName = wirehose;
   databasePassword = "";
   debug = 0;
   debugFile = "";
   firstBatchSize = 200;
   hostName = "";
   isolationLevel = 1;
   lockingDiscipline = 2;
   nextBatchSize = 200;
   password = "";
   schemaName = "";
   updateability = 0;
   userName = wirehose;

whereas a WO 5.0 connection dictionary looks like:

connectionDictionary = {
   URL = "jdbc:FrontBase://localhost/wirehose/user=wirehose";
   driver = jdbc.FrontBase.FBJDriver;
   jdbc2Info = {
      DBMS_NAME = FrontBase;
      DRIVER_NAME = FBJDriver;
      DRIVER_VER = 1.18;
      typeInfo = {
         BIT = {
            createParams = 1;
            defaultJDBCType = (BIT);
            isNullable = T;
            isSearchable = T;
            maxScale = 0;
            minScale = 0;
            precision = 2147483646;
         }; // etc...
   password = "";
   plugin = com.wirehose.util.WireHoseJDBCPlugIn;
   username = "";

If you are interested in e.g. setting the isolationLevel and lockingDiscipline values etc this is important. We have heard the question "Should I just add the keys I'm interested in at the URL, driver, jdbc2Info level, or do they belong somewhere else now?" which is relevant to this.

This is not supported at the moment with WO5, but it is an issue we are currently working on. Connections are created quite differently in WO5. However, as an alternative, locking discipline and isolation can be set with SQL as follows:

SET TRANSACTION ISOLATION LEVEL isolation, locking, access


access is: READ WRITE or READ ONLY

JDBC Driver

A new JDBC driver (1.19) which incorporates fixes for recently reported problems has been posted this month.


The development work is ongoing and some very useful new record-locking functionality is being incorporated into the RB plugin. The latest beta version of the latest RB plugin can always be obtained for testing straight from

Hot Topic


LookSee™ introduces a new, unprecedented, full text search feature that allows for blindingly fast searches in ASCII, HTML and XML documents. The query constructs of LookSee are fully integrated with the normal SQL query constructs and allows for an uncomplicated yet optimal result set reduction.

LookSee also offers the RANK and DETAILS function which further aids in determining the quality of a given query while, at the same time, providing an extremely flexible way of tailoring information flowing back to client applications e.g. for highlighting search results in the underlying documents.

For more information pertaining to LookSee please see LookSee.

Customer Support

If you have any suggestions as to how we can improve our customer support to better suit your needs or if you have any ideas for future documentation then please mail us at Similarly, of course, if you ever think you have found a problem with FrontBase or any of our tools then please mail us with details.

All current FAQs and Technical Notes can be found at Support.

Tell us what you're doing

This is a section that we would really appreciate your help with. We would like to know what you are doing with FrontBase, all the gory details. What Front end you are using, what operating system, why you choose FrontBase, how you implemented your development and what you think of the performance? Each month we will feature and reward the best case we get sent. Please mail your contributions to

Technical Tip

MAC address / Ethernet address

It is now possible to apply for and use Ethernet address-based licenses for NT and MacOS X server 2.x distributions of the FrontBase RDBMS in addition to the already support Mac OS X. This has the advantage of avoiding potential network problems associated with host mapping to IP addresses and dynamic IP allocation as experienced by some who chose the IP address license route on MacOS X.

If networking is not set up in a way so that FrontBase can recognize the IP address of the host then licensing problems can potentially become apparent. Mac OS X unfortunately makes it a little more difficult to set up networking than other platforms.

If you do have an IP address based license, you need to:

* set IP address in System Preferences
* bind host name to IP address in NetInfoManager
* modify /etc/hostconfig to set hostname

In NetInfoManager (/Applications/Utilities), you need to:

* enable root user
* authenticate
* in directory browser, select "machines"
* duplicate "localhost"
* set IP address and name in properties below.

In /etc/hostconfig:

* open a terminal
* type "su" (to get super user)
* type "emacs /etc/hostconfig"
* change HOSTNAME=_AUTOMATIC_ to HOSTNAME=<your hostname>
* ctrl-x ctrl-c to quit and save

back in NetInfoManager, "Restart all NetInfo Domains on Local Host.

Technical Tip #2

Databases not on the OS/root volume

If you're using Mac OS X and would like to relocate the databases to a data/document volume and off the root/OS volume there is an ideal route. We normally recommend that you do the following:

You may have to run as root when you execute the above.

In this manner you have moved all the databases to a new location. The procedure can also be used to move a single database if suitably modified.

Technical Bulletin

Although the current release of FrontBaseManager does not yet include built-in support for autostarting databases, this will be introduced in the next release very soon. However, in the meantime it is currently possible to autostart db's and include invocation options such as -port using sql92. You can issue the AUTOSTART command in sql92 as follows:

AUTOSTART [ON | HOST <host-name>];

Entering this command initiates autostart mode at which point the following sub-commands can be issued:

SHOW; shows the autostart info

ADD <database-name> <options>...; add a database to the autostarted databases to be started with options

OPTIONS <number> <options>...; sets the options for the n'th autostart database

DELETE <number>; removes the n'th database

SAVE [PASSWORD <password>]; saves the autostart info, it may need a password.

EXIT; exits autostart mode

QUITS; quits the autostart mode.

Please mail us at if you need any assistance with this or any other issue.