Information Technology

Steph’s Sanity Checks for Programmers

Stephanie RabbiniYou’re sure you fixed that last bug, but the app is still malfunctioning. You’re racking your brain for the cause. Paradoxically,  the more you know about programming, the more likely you are to over-think the problem.

I’ve been there. My Seiden Group colleagues have taken to calling me their “CTO” (Chief Troubleshooting Officer), for my debugging skills.

Before you wear yourself out seeking obscure bugs, try these sanity checks:

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PHP Toolkit for IBM i Conversion Tips

PHP Toolkit for IBM iRecently we’ve heard from several clients seeking help with Zend Server upgrades. While generally straightforward, upgrades can require an extra step with very old versions of Zend Server. “Old” means Zend Core or Zend Server 5.1 or earlier. Upgrades from these old versions may require a migration from Easycom to the “new” PHP to IBM i toolkit.

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Resources for Upgrading to PHP 7 on IBM i

PHP 7 Zend ServerNow that speedy PHP 7 is available for IBM i, we’re helping our clients upgrade to this long-awaited release via Zend Server 9. I thought I’d share some of our favorite resources for performing this upgrade safely and efficiently.

First, we recommend Rod Flohr’s article Migrate to Zend Server 9 from Previous Versions, which contains both basic instructions and special tips.

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Learning the Latest on Laravel

Laravel at Zendcon

L to R: Alan, Jorge Diaz, and Laravel’s creator Taylor Otwell at Zendcon 2016

Seiden Group colleague Josh Hall and I will attend Laracon, the Laravel conference, in NYC on July 25-26, 2017. Getting these coveted tickets required persistence — they sold out quickly!

Laravel is a hot PHP framework with a loyal community. We’ve been building our Laravel practice and look forward to sharing the latest tips and techniques with our clients.

According to creator Taylor Otwell, the first commercial installation of Laravel was on an IBM i system!

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PHP 7 and Free Basic Zend Server Edition for IBM i

PHP 7 is creating excitement among PHP aficionados for its speed and additional language techniques.

As the official runtime for enterprise PHP, Zend Server has always offered a free basic edition to IBM i customers.

Recently, a change occurred on the Zend Server download page that has caused some confusion. At the time of this writing, the Zend Server download was labeled as a “30-day trial” even though, as an IBM i customer, you are still entitled to a free basic edition license. Of course, you can also opt for paid editions.

IBM i users can request a download of Zend Server for  IBM i and PHP 7 here, confident that they will obtain a legitimate license, not a trial license. Fill out the form and you’ll be sent a download link. You’ll then be able to choose between the free basic license and value-add paid licenses.

Where to find DB2 for IBM i documentation

It’s not always easy to locate the official documentation for all features of DB2 for IBM i. Using Google Search is hit or miss, with full-text searches often bringing irrelevant results from other varieties of DB2 or from older versions. Many people don’t know that complete reference manuals are available for almost every aspect of DB2 on i.

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Use an IBM i Service to Find Your TR Level

i for BusinessWith another new IBM i Technology Refresh upon us, here’s a quick reminder how to find your server’s current TR level.

It’s getting easier and easier to do. An IBM i Service using DB2 and SQL provides the TR level more cleanly than older approaches. I love that we can use the universal SQL to expose the innards of our beloved system!

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Let’s Meet Up at COMMON, May 6-10, 2017

The Seiden Group team is headed to Orlando May 6-10 to participate in COMMON 2017. In addition to teaching sessions and workshops on best practices for using PHP and other open source technologies on IBM i, we’re looking forward to meeting up with our clients and friends.

One of our favorite opportunities at COMMON is to meet professionals at all levels of the IT organization. Understanding the challenges faced by each member of the IT team — from admin to CIO — strengthens our ability to build effective solutions that are easy to use, easy to extend, easy to maintain.

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RPG & DB2 Summit: March 21-23, 2017, in Orlando

In just two weeks I’ll have the pleasure of joining some of the top IBM i development experts in Orlando for the RPG & DB2 Summit. Run by Susan Gantner, Jon Paris and Paul Tuohy, this conference is full of big personalities who create a warm, friendly environment that’s perfect for learning.

I enjoy the community feeling and how excited everyone is to solve development problems and share tips and techniques.

The RPG & DB2 Summit is one of the few training events that focuses exclusively on topics of interest to IBM i developers. That includes PHP and SQL, of course!

Check out the session grid and pay special attention to the Hands-on PHP Workshop on Monday, March 20, followed by several PHP and open source sessions given by yours truly and Zend’s Mike Pavlak, plus a whole array of SQL sessions. And maybe a few on RPG.

I think they should change the name of the conference to the RPG, PHP, SQL & DB2 Summit, don’t you?

Come join us!

WMCPA 2017: A Glimpse into the Future of IBM i

Every year I look forward to WMPCA’s Spring Technical Conference. And it’s not just because this active IBM i user group does a great job of bringing experts to beautiful Wisconsin (in March!) to teach a broad range of IBM i topics.

I also love meeting the next generation of IBM i talent, always represented by Jim Buck’s RPG students at Gateway Technical College.

And, of course, there are many PHP and open source sessions to choose from, including these from me:

  • Make Your IBM i Sizzle with WordPress
  • Apache Web Server Magic on IBM i
  • Using DB2 and SQL with Open Source Languages on IBM i
  • PHP Tricks for the RPG Programmer: Graphics, Excel, PDFs, E-Mail and More

Also check out these sessions from our good friend Mike Pavlak:

  • PHP Web Security in an Insecure World
  • Web Services with PHP on IBM i

I could go on and on with recommendations, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty to love on your own.

Join us at the WMCPA Spring Technical Conference on March 14-16, 2017, at the Lake Lawn Resort on the shores of Delavan Lake!