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, 
                         array('func'=>'myproc'));

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:

DSPSRVPGM SRVPGM(MYLIB/MYPGM) DETAIL(*PROCEXP)

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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Collaboration at COMMON

The 2015 COMMON annual meeting and expo, now in its first day, is helping speakers and attendees create innovation through IBM i integration: open source, closed source, IBM and vendor solutions. For example, of my six presentations during this conference, two are collaborations:

The Art of Performance Diagnostics, with IBM’s Dawn May, allows us to show, among other topics, how IBM i’s integrated performance tools complement green-screen tools and third-party tools (in this case, Zend Server) to pinpoint and solve performance issues (here, PHP-and DB2-based applications).

PHP Tricks for RPG Developers, a talk jointly created by RPG and SQL expert Birgitta Hauser and me, combines RPG, PHP, and DB2, allowing RPG to achieve graphical (charts and graphs, PDF and Excel files) and internet (json-based web services, flexible email) functionality using native functions.

Conferences such as COMMON serve a need that’s difficult to replicate back at the office—brainstorming and sharing possibilities among interdisciplinary peers, or sitting side-by-side with like-minded colleagues who work for different employers, to try something new. This week, for example, some of us plan to share knowledge on compiling binaries in PASE and to further the potential of open source on IBM i. I’m looking forward to presenting my talks (both joint and solo) and helping to realize new ideas with forward-looking colleagues during the conference.

Birgitta Hauser and Alan Seiden collaborate on their talk at COMMON 2015

Birgitta Hauser and Alan Seiden collaborate on their talk at COMMON 2015

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Vote for a Mac edition of RDi

Rational Developer for i (RDi), the modern editor for IBM i RPG, COBOL and other languages, runs on Windows and Linux, but not Mac.

IBM has shown some willingness to port the product to Mac. They have posted a poll to allow users to vote for this enhancement or to comment on the proposal: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rfe/execute?use_case=viewRfe&CR_ID=13454

Those wishing to vote will find a “vote” link near the bottom of the poll page.

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