How to attract more developers to use FirebirdSQL , thread continues

Of course, I couldn’t finish this post without guessing (just guesses) the reasons why Firebird SQL is so unpopular if compared to MySQL or PostgreSQL :

1. There’s no big player like Sun/Oracle or IBM supporting it right now.

ED: Not an issue: there is no need for the big Oracle hug,  look what they have done to MySQL, OpenOffice, Hudson , they killed or dumped the projects and only community saved them by forking the source code and continuing under some sort of fundation umbrella: Apache, TDF . Another article that you must read is by Glyn Moody : Has Oracle been a disaster for Sun’s open source?

2. The official website is terrible (http://www.firebirdsql.org). Seems futile, but the first impression of the project is horrible. Makes you think it’s stalled.

ED:This is fixed , site was reworked , check the new design and compare with the old version from archive.org

3. Firebird’s biggest sponsor today is IBPhoenix , which main business IS Firebird. But even it’s website falls in the same problem.

ED This is fixed , site was reworked , check the new design and compare with the old version from archive.org

4. The fact of being Delphi related since it’s beginning.. With Delphi’s decadence, its popularity just floundered with it.

ED : That is solved we do have support for all the other new players : nodejs, rails , django , lua … And Lazarus apps are still the fastest one in benchmarks vs Java, .net …

5.Poor documentation

ED:Soon to be fixed , but more hands are needed , it’s easy to complain , please help to update and fix the bugs in the docs area

Maybe things may change to Firebird SQL after Oracle bought Sun (many MySQL users are getting scared (I see no reason for this by the way)) and may play with Firebird, but it’s something improbable to happen. 🙂

ED:Wind of change : i get more hits on my blog with things like phpbb3 installations , rails installations … and the traffic for FibirebirdSQL.org and FirebirdNews.org is going up, sourceforge download stats are up , also on the linux distro land and bsd side we are going well : packaged and ready to replace LAMP with FLAPS , firebird php driver is included in default php install on Windows

Of course, these are just my opinions about it. I really whould like to know yours. Why do you think so few developers are using Firebird today?

 

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9 comments

  • The test site looks nicer but still something is missing.
    Maybe some pics showing this is about a Database…
    Links to documentation/third party sites on programming with Firebird (with Delphi, Ruby, .Net, etc)
    Who is using? How are they using?

    Overall better than last century previous site.

    Cantu Reply:

    In the top bar there is already “True universal open source database”, so, people should know it is about a Database.

    dimitr Reply:

    > Who is using? How are they using?

    Check out the new “case studies” section, it’s just about that.

  • Firebird must be deployed in Linux distributions and be available in website host servers.
    It’s dificulty to achieve hosts that supports Firebird Servers.

    dimitr Reply:

    Firebird is deployed in nearly all major Linux distros. Web hosting is a real issue, however.

  • you have to think about different worlds, i know hundreds of software companies that distribute millions of firebird servers per year. And thousands of developers (delphi/VS/etc.) get paid from these companies every month, often because the company has success with their a niche market software, which is typically not web enabled, since it is already on the market for 5 to 10 years, when only a few solutions were available as webapps. All these people simply do their work and have not so much time to talk about their experience with Firebird in internet forums etc.

    The other area are millions of website admins or pseudo developer, who need a database for their website. Most of them never earned any money with their work, but they often have a lot of time to talk about their pseudo knowledge in forums.

    When you see Firebird from a business perspective and compare it to mysql and postgresql, firebird is definitly the most often used open source database regarding server installations. There is still a big market for software companies and also for employees in these companies with Firebird knowledge, but there are only a few often very big companies who make money based on Webapps. And they do not need so many employees for their data center, even when they work with hundreds of mysql servers.

    The main problem with Firebird is currently only the missing visibility, but lets see where we are in 5 or 10 years. I think the webapp market will be dominated by postgresql and everything else will be dominated by Firebird, even that most people do not even know, that it is there. What else can you expect from a robust database system?

  • nice new site!

    re Firebird visibility: there are a lot of people using it without even knowing. It comes packaged with a number of business applications. Maybe encourage those VARs to display Firebird logos.

    Presence in web hosting environments is still not good enough. Maybe Firebird is included in any major distro by now. But it certainly is not supported by any major hosting admin panel, like cpanel, plesk etc.

    Also: backend for online shops. Firebird can perform so much better than Mysql in that area, if only it was known and included, as an alternative. Firebird expertise in the online shop field is next to non-existing. Although online shops are often tied to
    ERP systems which require Firebird-grade features and
    couldn’t be based on Mysql.

  • Documentation, documentation, documentation.

  • I think there are a few reasons.
    The old Firebird website looks, really dated. The new one (firebirdtest) looks much better, it’s not something that would deter curious newcomers to Firebird anymore.
    However, the docs are still single PDFs and HTML files. They have improved last year, though. If you look documentation of other RDBMSs out there (PostgreSQL, MySQL, Cubrid, SQL Server…), you can see pretty well in which versions of the server a particular feature can be found and they are mostly presented in a fairly unified manner. Also, the books out there for Firebird in English are rather dated – I just searched Amazon and the only relevant result seems to be Helen Borrie’s book from 2004 and it seems it’s not available as new anymore. I know there is a Firebird 2 supplement, because I found it on IBPhoenix’s website, but to pay for what’s essentially two books seems rather odd when the value from the first one will be lessened because it’s so old.
    There seems to be a lack of arguments and use cases when and why would Firebird be really good. For example, if I were to persuade one of my superiors to use Firebird instead of SQL Server 2005 or PostgreSQL, both of which we currently use, what arguments could I put forth? SQL Server comes with a few very useful tools that take some burden off application developers and presents it in a pretty tight package. Moreover, T-SQL is pretty powerful and is usable in all queries, not just in stored procedures or functions. Is Firebird faster? Easier to develop for/with? Can you perform JOINs on database tables in databases on different physical servers? Can you even query different databases on the same physical server with a single query? How fast are bulk insert? Are the existing PHP drivers of comparable quality to the sqlsrv driver? PostgreSQL has good ANSI SQL support and what’s not from the standard usually makes one’s life easier and its SQL dialect rich. Procedures and functions in various languages can be a very nice bonus. It scales pretty well vertically and while it’s bulk operations might not always be quite as fast as SQL Server’s, they’re still pretty quick.
    Compared to MySQL, what CMSes support Firebird? Are they any good? Does it scale vertically as well as MySQL 5.5? Will porting a web app (blog engine, forum software, e-commerce solution) make it any faster or more robust?
    Is it more suitable for new web apps than Cubrid, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Ingres or Drizzle or Openlink Virtuoso (if I’m to stay in the realm of open source RDBMS)?
    How well does it handle queries with aggregate functions?
    What about replication and full-text search?

    You could tell me to be quiet and lend a hand, but I’m rather busy as it is, so the closest I can come to helping is occasional bug reports, but as I’m more or less only playing with Firebird, there hasn’t been anything to report yet.

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