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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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.

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

Before you remove Zend Core from your IBM i

If you’ve installed Zend Server for IBM i and are planning to remove the older Zend Core for i5/OS, first check that Zend Core’s version is at least 2.6.1.

Zend Core must be at 2.6.1+ because if you uninstall version 2.6.0 or lower,  portions of Zend Server will be uninstalled as well. Therefore, update your old Zend Core to 2.6.1+ before uninstalling.

Resources