ZendCon 2015 starts October 19

This year’s ZendCon has a new location—Las Vegas—and more IBM i speakers than ever, including:

  • Tony Cairns (IBM)
  • Massimiliano Cavicchioli (Zend)
  • Jim Oberholtzer (Agile Technology Architects)
  • Mike Pavlak (Zend)
  • Stephanie Rabbani (BCD)
  • Chuk Shirley (Sabel Steel)
  • Shlomo Vanunu (Zend)
  • and myself, Alan Seiden (Alan Seiden Consulting)

Tutorial day, Oct. 19, is recommended at this premier PHP conference. I’ll present “Db2 and PHP in Depth,” a three-hour tutorial of techniques for using IBM i’s native database, which can help make PHP applications more secure, easier to write, and faster. I’ll also present new features of Db2 and PHP’s Db2 interface that were inspired largely by comments and requests of past ZendCon attendees. Special guest Tony Cairns from IBM is expected, too, for a lively discussion about practical PHP development on IBM i. Bring your questions.

Later in the week I’ll present “Create a welcoming development environment on IBM i,” based on my experience leading PHP projects for IBM i, and “Strategic Modernization with PHP,” which shows the possibilities on the IBM i platform and the strengths of various approaches. Expect to hear valuable advice from your colleagues, too.

I’m looking forward to attending talks, talking to sponsors, chatting with many of my blog and newsletter readers, meeting clients, and getting to know Rogue Wave, the company that recently acquired Zend.

Information about ZendCon: http://zendcon.com

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iTalk with Tuohy interview

I recently joined speaker and consultant Paul Touhy for a spontaneous, personal ‘iTalk with Tuohy’ recorded chat, described thus: “Paul Tuohy talks to development guru Alan Seiden about developing in PHP, the PHP for IBM i Toolkit, performance for developers and getting your work-work balance right.”

The free recording is available here: http://www.ibmsystemsmag.com/ibmi/trends/iTALK-WITH-TUOHY/seiden-development-balance

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Slides from today’s talk on leveraging RPG with the PHP Toolkit and XMLSERVICE

I’ve posted the updated slides from a talk I just presented about the PHP for IBM i Toolkit. The talk was given at a free virtual conference presented by the COMMON user group and was sponsored by BCD.

The slides are available on my “past presentations” page.

I’d like to hear how you are using the toolkit. Post comments here.

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IBM i performance tools are for developers, too

At last Friday’s OCEAN conference in Costa Mesa, Calif., IBM’s Dawn May and I presented “The Art of Performance Diagnostics,” showing how we’ve used tools that are free (Performance Data Investigator) and low-cost (Job Watcher) and included with IBM i to identify and resolve performance bottlenecks that would have been difficult using traditional green-screen tools alone.

One audience member said, “Developers should know about these tools! They aren’t just for system administrators.” With these tools and with documentation such as the IBM i Performance FAQ, performance expertise is within reach of developers as well as sysadmins.

How do IBM i performance tools help developers to be more effective? Developers can:

  • Respond to any reported slowdowns by looking at recent performance data. IBM i captures performance statistics transparently, enabling developers or admins to “go back in time” to look at past performance.
  • Even better, identify and resolve problems proactively during testing, rather than waiting for users to report problems.
Speakers Alan Seiden and Dawn May presenting The Art of Performance Diagnostics for IBM i at the OCEAN conference, July 17, 2015. Photo by Matthew Murtha

Alan Seiden and Dawn May presenting The Art of Performance Diagnostics for IBM i at the OCEAN conference, July 17, 2015. Photo by Matthew Murtha

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Determining the proper procedure name in toolkit calls

Exact name is required when calling a service program’s procedure

Some developers make a common mistake when calling a procedure in a service program using the PHP Toolkit for IBM i or any toolkit based on XMLSERVICE. It’s easy to supply the wrong procedure name, or the right name in the wrong case (upper/lower/mixed). Using this example of calling a procedure using the toolkit, we find the following (correct) program/procedure call:

$result = $conn->PgmCall('MYPGM', 'MYLIB', $params, $retParam, 

The procedure name ‘myproc’ must be given exactly as it is, not ‘MYPROC’ or ‘MyProc’, because under some circumstances the name may be case-sensitive.

How to determine the correct procedure name

Run the DSPSRVPGM command, using your desired library and program names as parameters:


The above command will return service program information, including the names of all procedure exports. For example:

        Display Service Program Information                       
Service program  . . . . . . . . . . . . :   MYPGM                           
  Library  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :     MYLIB                          
Owner  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :   PROGRAMMER                        
Service program attribute  . . . . . . . :   RPGLE                             
Detail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . :   *PROCEXP                          
                              Procedure Exports:                               
Procedure Name                                       ARGOPT 
myproc                                               *NO    
orderHeader                                          *NO

This service program contains two procedures: ‘myproc’ and ‘orderHeader’. Thus, to call the former, we’d supply array(‘func’=>’myproc’) in the PgmCall method. If we wanted to call the second procedure, we’d use array(‘func’=>’orderHeader’), observing case sensitivity, which often matters (a topic for another day).

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OCEAN conference July 17-18, 2015, Costa Mesa, Calif.

Join me and 23 other speakers for this unique west-coast conference. Get a jump-start on your challenges and opportunities by talking to experts in the world of IBM i and Power Systems. SQL, DB2, RPG, PHP, Ruby, more, more, more… http://ocean400.org

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PHP performance webinar, June 11, 2015

Update: a recording of the webinar is available to all registrants. See the link below to register.


I’ll be presenting a free webinar, “How to ensure speedy PHP applications on IBM i,” on Thursday, June 11, 2015, at 1pm Eastern/New York time. The webinar is sponsored by BCD. Registration and more information: http://www.bcdsoftware.com/bcdtracks/webinars/ondemand/php-performance-alan.htm

“Our process now runs 30-50% faster, thanks to one tip from Alan’s presentation.”
— Mike Meszaros, Software Developer, Specialty Pipe & Tube

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MITEC friends June 1-2, 2015

Speakers Charlie Guarino, Birgitta Hauser, and I made a short video to promote the 2015 Michigan IBM i and AIX Technical Education Conference (MITEC), to be held June 2 (pre-conference workshops June 1) in Livonia, Michigan. Charlie says different dates in the video but it’s definitely June 1 and 2. We hope to see you there to learn about SQL, modern RPG, PHP and more. Details at gomitec.com.

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Zend Server for IBM i support knowledge base

The support team at Zend has written a knowledge base of tips for configuring and administering Zend Server for IBM i.  The tips, written chiefly by Rod Flohr, are accurate and thorough. Recommended is the site’s option to notify registered users when new articles are posted. URL: https://support.zend.com/hc/en-us/sections/200554323-Zend-Server-for-IBM-i

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COMMON Innovation Award 2015

My colleague and friend Chuk Shirley’s employer, Sabel Steel, just won COMMON’s Innovation Award for an application created by Chuk. According to IBM’s Alex Gogh, Chuk’s application won because of its innovative business process improvement that saved money and prevented errors, while integrating Sabel’s core IBM i-based application, based on RPG and DB2, with traditional industry tools such as a scrap-metal weighing scale and newer technology such as an ID-card scanner, iPad, and PHP.

Chuk Shirley accepting COMMON innovation award on behalf of Sabel Steel, April 26, 2015

Chuk Shirley accepting COMMON innovation award on behalf of Sabel Steel, April 26, 2015

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