Firebird is an open-source SQL relational database management system that runs on Linux, Windows, and various Unix platforms, offering excellent concurrency, high performance, and powerful language support for stored procedures and triggers.
Two and a half years after the previous major fourth release, Firebird 5.0 is here, bringing a host of enhancements and new features to this open-source RDBMS, so let’s take a look at them.
Firebird 5.0: Core Changes and Features
Firebird 5.0 comes with several enhancements and new features without significant changes in architecture or operation:
- Parallel Operations: This version introduces multi-threaded operations for tasks like backup/restore, sweep, and index creation, significantly improving performance.
- Partial Indices: Users can now create indices on a subset of table rows defined by specific conditions.
- Enhanced SQL Support: Features such as the
SKIP LOCKEDclause for various SQL statements, inline minor ODS upgrades, and new built-in functions enhance the SQL experience.
- PSQL and SQL Profiler: This tool helps in performance tuning by profiling SQL and PSQL statements.
- Improved Data Compression: Denser record-level compression techniques for more efficient storage.
- Performance Improvements: Network support for scrollable cursors has been added, enhancing overall database performance.
Changes in the Firebird Engine
Firebird 5.0 introduces various engine enhancements, including support for parallel operations, inline ODS upgrades, and improved data compression. These changes aim to boost performance and efficiency.
API and ODS Updates
The Firebird API and On-Disk Structure (ODS) have received significant updates. The new minor ODS version is 13.1, and several new system tables and columns have been introduced. The API extensions facilitate more advanced querying and database management capabilities.
Security and Compatibility
The security framework in Firebird 5.0 has been strengthened by introducing the new system privilege, PROFILE_ANY_ATTACHMENT, which enhances control over who can profile SQL statements, ensuring robust security measures in database operations.
On top of that, compatibility issues have been detailed, ensuring a smoother transition from older versions of Firebird.
Management and Development Tools
The release includes updated management statements, data definitions, and manipulation language enhancements. Tools like ISQL and GBAK have been improved for better database management and operations.
Apart from those mentioned above, a comprehensive list of bugs fixed in Firebird 5.0 is provided, enhancing stability and reliability. For an in-depth view, refer to the release notes, where detailed documentation guides users through all new features and changes.
Migration and Compatibility Considerations
Organizations planning to upgrade to Firebird 5.0 should note the changes in ODS (on-disk structure) and ensure compatibility with their existing database structures. While Firebird 5.0 supports databases created in ODS 13.0 (Firebird 4.0), databases in older ODS versions require specific attention.