Recently 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.
Now 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.
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!
PHP 7 is creating excitement among PHP aficionados for its speed and additional language techniques.
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.
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.
Here are my favorite references for DB2 on IBM i:
- The first place to look for many, but not all, manuals: DB2 for i Manuals by Release.
- The grandma of all DB2 for i manuals is the DB2 for i SQL Reference. IBM’s description: “It contains reference information for the tasks of system administration, database administration, application programming, and operation. This manual includes syntax, usage notes, keywords, and examples for each of the SQL statements used on the system.”
- Ever need to find a stored procedure or user-defined function on your IBM i, or get a list of tables or columns? Look no further than the IBM i catalog: IBM i Catalog Tables and Views
- For example: Find all table functions using this SQL:
select * from qsys2.sysfuncs where FUNCTION_TYPE = ‘T’;
- For example: Find all table functions using this SQL:
- IBM has begun an ambitious effort to provide an SQL interface for many system services, in “IBM i Services.” These services are documented here: IBM i Services
- Still have questions? Try IBM’s forum for DB2 on i
What are your favorite DB2 for IBM i references? Let me know and I’ll add them to this list.
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!
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.
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!
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!
I was thrilled yesterday to see the familiar face of Seiden Group’s own Stephanie Rabbani smiling up at me from IBM i’s Home page, next to our friend and Club Seiden colleague Liam Allan.
Both are currently featured by IBM as “Fresh Faces of IBM i” along with Kody Robinson of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation — just a few of the outstanding young professionals on our platform.
This honor calls attention to what I know of Stephanie first-hand from working side-by-side with her on Seiden Group consulting projects. With 14 years experience on the IBM i, she is versatile, resourceful, and personable, with skills in PHP, RPG, WebSmart, and more. And she strongly advocates the continued use of IBM i as the best business platform. Well done, Steph!
Liam Allan is another impressive young developer. At just 19 years old, he earned the 2016 COMMON Student Innovation Award and quickly found himself at home on the speaking circuit with audiences eager to learn his techniques. He could program in any language but has chosen primarily to advance the art of RPG. I’m looking forward to seeing him again in March, when we both travel to Orlando to speak at the RPG & DB2 Summit. Go Liam!
But these “Fresh Faces” represent something bigger than individual excellence. To all of us with valuable business assets on the IBM i, they are visible evidence that we are beginning to succeed in attracting young talent to the platform. I see other such evidence in my work as a consultant, in my sessions at conferences, in the classroom when I train.
So thank you, IBM! Your efforts to modernize the IBM i development environment are paying off.
And thank you to all of the seasoned developers who have moved to RSE and free format RPG, who have led their organizations to rewrite or extend their applications using ILE, SQL, new DB2 techniques…and, my favorite of course, PHP.
With efforts to make IBM i code more broadly accessible, coupled with talented young developers who are interested in working on the IBM i, the future of our data and business logic looks brighter than it has in years.
You can personally be a part of IBM i’s revitalization. Adopt modern development techniques. Mentor a younger developer. Continually learn new skills. Ask for help when you need it.
If you’d like to discuss what Steph and the whole Seiden Group can help you accomplish, send us a note.
Congratulations to Steph, Liam and Kody!
- UIIPA (Utah IBM i Professionals Association)
Salt Lake City
- IBM i CIO Summit
10/16/2017 - 10/17/2017
- RPG & DB2 Summit
10/17/2017 - 10/19/2017
- Zendcon 2017
10/23/2017 - 10/26/2017
- FASUG (Fairfield Application Systems Users Group)
- LISUG (Long Island System Users Group)