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.

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’;
  • 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.

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#OceanTech17: Three Days of Inspiration in July

July 20-22, 2017, Costa Mesa, CA

I always look forward to participating in the OCEAN Tech conference. It’s an impressive example of a local user group bringing affordable education to its members.

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Use an IBM i Service to Find Your TR Level

i for BusinessWith another new IBM i Technology Release 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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CIOs Unite

Seiden Group CIO Summit

CIO-level view at the
CIO Summit in Manhattan

Most people know Seiden Group as PHP specialists who help IBM i teams develop and tune PHP applications running on IBM i. But we also work with CIOs to help them solve the unique challenges they face.

We’ve found that for many IBM i CIOs, it’s lonely at the top. CIOs would love to have a community of peers who fully understood the nature of the decisions they must make. Whereas developers can discuss technical issues with team members or through online forums, CIOs often lack such support and sharing because of the confidential nature of their work.

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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.

If you plan to be at COMMON, meet up with us at one of the following Workshops or sessions, or contact me to set up a time to talk. I’d like to hear what’s going on in your shop.

Workshops

Sessions

See you there!

 

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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!

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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!

 

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The Fresh Faces of IBM i

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.

fresh-faces-of-ibm-i

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!

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Seiden Group is here

We are pleased to announce the start of a re-branding from Alan Seiden Consulting to “Seiden Group,” reflecting our evolution from a one-person consultancy to a team of experts. We still specialize in PHP and open source on IBM i, but now we’ve gained the ability to manage and develop large projects, all while mentoring our clients so that they can become self-sufficient if they so choose. Our range of skills has also broadened to include many complementary areas including RPG, User Experience testing, Git workflow and code review services, and WebSmart (a fine BCD product), which all go nicely with our core PHP expertise. We’re still great at troubleshooting, performance help, DB2 and toolkit connectivity, Zend Server configuration and other core strengths.

seidengroup-web

 

 

 

 

We’ll have a booth at ZendCon, October 18-21, 2016. We hope some of you will stop by and meet the wonderful Seiden Group team.

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Speaking tip

An IBM i colleague today asked me for tips to make his presentations at COMMON and other conferences more effective and helpful.

I told him that I like to arrive a day early, talk to people, gauge the audience’s level of experience with PHP, IBM i, DB2, performance, whatever topics I plan to cover. I ask people what they hope to learn at the conference and from my talks specifically. With that information in mind, I adjust the content, emphasis, and pacing of my talks for that specific group. Such pre-conference socializing also helps attendees become comfortable talking to me, such that they may be more likely to ask questions and participate fully in my talks, which brings them alive for everyone.

Conferences and user events where I’ll be speaking in Fall 2016

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