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Posted Jun 30, 2004

An Introduction to Control Center Personalities in DB2 Universal Database - Page 2

By DatabaseJournal.com Staff

by Paul C. Zikopoulos and Roman B. Melnyk

Control Center Personalities

In the previous section, we showed you how to start the Control Center with the personality that you want to use. In this section, we will describe each of the personalities in more detail. (We will not discuss the Advanced personality in any great detail, because that personality is the expected behavior of the Control Center before "Stinger".)

The Basic Personality for Basic Users

In the Control Center object tree before "Stinger," all objects are children of the All Systems parent folder. In "Stinger," a new folder named All Databases is displayed (this folder is available for all personalities). The All Databases folder contains all the cataloged databases on your system. Using this folder, you can see all databases at once (even if they reside in different instances), instead of having to drill down through each individual system and its respective instances. This can be very helpful, because DBAs typically only care about the databases that they are working with, and not their respective instances or systems (which are left more to system administrators or more advanced DBAs).

With the Basic personality, the object tree and its respective pop-up action menus are simplified and contain a subset of objects (and associated actions) that would be of interest to most novice DBAs. For example, the Instances and All Systems folders are hidden in this personality, along with many of the objects that would normally appear.

The surfaced objects and actions that are associated with the Basic personality are the result of multiple user-centered design (UCD) test cases, and were validated with DBAs possessing Oracle, DB2, or SQL Server experience.

If you were to select the Basic personality from the Control Center View window, the Control Center would look something like the following figure:

You can see how simple the object tree is in this figure. Not only are the Systems and Instances folders removed, but the structure below each database is drastically simplified as well. The Basic personality will not show any system tables when you select the Tables folder.

In addition to a reduction in the various objects that the DBA is presented with, the actions that can be performed on them is also limited in this personality. For example, in the Basic personality, you do not have the Create From Import option when right-clicking on the Tables folder that you have with the Advanced personality.

The following figure compares the pop-up windows that open as a result of right-clicking on a database when the Control Center is running with the Advanced and Basic personalities:

The Customized Personality for Tailored Users

In "Stinger," the Control Center's Basic personality is a static (predefined) view that is delivered as part of the Control Center. Even though this personality suits the needs of many users, there will always be environments in which a user's particular needs cannot be fulfilled by this personality. In fact, even experienced DBAs might want a way to remove objects that are not used (for example, the Nicknames folder is only needed if you are leveraging the DB2 federated capabilities). In such cases, you need to be able to modify either the Basic or the Advanced pre-defined views and create your own customized views. The Custom option contains a checklist of the objects and pop-up actions that you can select from the Advanced personality. You can prune objects or actions that you do not need and, of course, you can always add them back in later.

To customize which objects will appear, and the actions that you can perform on them, select the Custom radio button, and click Modify. In the future, if you want to start the Control Center with your customized personality, you simply select the Custom radio button and click OK, or simply deselect the Show this window at startup time check box.

Using a Custom personality, you can configure two levels of personalization. You can customize actions on a selected object (perhaps hiding some pop-up actions and displaying others), and folders (again, hiding some, and showing others).

The following figure shows the interface that you can use to customize the Control Center:

When you select an object, the actions that you can perform on that object are listed in the right-hand side of the Customize Control Center View window, as shown in the next figure.

Note that there are usually two levels to a database object. For example, selecting the Tables folder gives you the opportunity to configure what actions would be surfaced in the Control Center for that folder; however, to configure the operations that a DBA could perform on individual tables, you would have to drill down through the Tables folder and select Table Objects (as shown below):

For example, in the previous figure, we configured the Control Center so that whenever it starts with a Custom personality, and you select a table object, you will only be able to open, query or copy that table through the Control Center:

The following figure compares the actions that you can perform on a table in the ACCPAC database, under each of the three personalities (remember, the Basic personality does not show system tables):(i.e., change "both Basic and Custom" to "each of the three")


As you can see, Control Center personalities can be quite useful: They help novice users to interact with only the database objects that they know and understand, and they allow experienced users to prune out folders and actions that "get in the way." Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that ship DB2 with their products can also take advantage of the Control Center's personalities by customizing the objects and operations that users of their software will see.

In the last couple of months, we have been introducing you to many of the new features that are coming in DB2 UDB "Stinger." However, there are over 200 new features in DB2 "Stinger." For example, did you notice the new Control Center dashboard in the screen caps throughout this article? This window displays information about the selected object and the most common activities that can be performed on it.

The best way to learn a new technology is to work with it. We encourage you to download the DB2 UDB "Stinger" beta and try these new features out for yourself!

About the Authors

Paul C. Zikopoulos, BA, MBA, is with IBM Canada Ltd. Paul has written numerous magazine articles and books about DB2. Paul has co-authored the books: DB2 Version 8: The Official Guide, DB2: The Complete Reference, DB2 Fundamentals Certification for Dummies, DB2 for Dummies, and A DBA's Guide to Databases on Linux. Paul is a DB2 Certified Advanced Technical Expert (DRDA and Cluster/EEE) and a DB2 Certified Solutions Expert (Business Intelligence and Database Administration). You can reach him at: paulz_ibm at msn.com.

Roman B. Melnyk, PhD, is with IBM Canada Ltd., specializing in database administration, DB2 utilities, and SQL. Roman has written numerous DB2 books, articles, and other related materials. Roman co-authored DB2 Version 8: The Official Guide, DB2: The Complete Reference, DB2 Fundamentals Certification for Dummies, and DB2 for Dummies. You can reach him at roman_b_melnyk at hotmail.com.


The contents of this article represent those features that may or may not be available in the technology preview or beta. IBM reserves the right to include or exclude any functionality mentioned in this article for the "Stinger", or a subsequent release. As well, any performance claims made in this article are not official communications by IBM; rather the result observed by the authors is un-audited testing. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of IBM Canada Ltd. or the IBM Corporation.

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