IBM Corp. last month previewed enhancements planned for the next version of the DB2 database that are intended to help simplify development of applications for the Microsoft Corp. .Net platform.

IBM anticipates its DB2 upgrade, code-named “Stinger,” will offer functionality on Windows ahead of the next major version of Microsoft’s own SQL Server database, code-named “Yukon.” Stinger is planned for shipment some time in 2004 while Yukon is due in the latter half of next year.

The Stinger preview, unveiled at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2003 in Los Angeles, was intended to be the first of a series of previews. Future Stinger previews will focus on areas such as autonomic computing and continuous availability.

Bob Picciano, director of DB2 technology at IBM Corp., told ComputerWorld Canada that although .Net functionality was first introduced in Version 8.1.2, Stinger will contain more new features.

“If you want access to help to DB2 commands as you program, you (now) have context-sensitive help right within the parser,” Picciano said.

And using Rational XDE plug-ins, Stinger will add visual modeling components, he added.

Specifically, the preview enables programmers to:

• Build .Net applications through use of the .Net Data Provider, thus strengthening the .Net connection between databases and applications.

• Leverage Visual Basic .Net and C# skills by building client and DB2 server-side application logic using these programming languages. This is provided through DB2’s ability to host the Microsoft Common Language Runtime (CLR).

• Utilize DB2’s native stored procedure capability by developing on the Windows platform and deploying across supported DB2 platforms.

Picciano said “about half” of the DB2 developer community are leaning toward the .Net environment, with an equally large number looking to Java.

“I do see a lot of people developing in parallel,” he added.

– with files from Michael MacMillan