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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Next IBM i CIO Summit to be held October 16-17, 2017, Minneapolis

IBMi CIO Summit In late April in Manhattan, Seiden Group had the pleasure of hosting its first IBM i CIO Summit.

Now we’ve gone a step further, teaming up with System i Developer partners Susan Gantner, Jon Paris and Paul Tuohy, to organize an IBM i CIO Summit “Plus.” The event will be held October 16-17, 2017, in Minneapolis, in conjunction with the RPG & DB2 Summit.

Capella Tower

Capella Tower, icon of the Minneapolis skyline

As with our April event, CIOs will gather for a day of facilitated discussions on the opportunities and challenges they share as CIOs.  Participants will get to know each other, share insight, and learn what strategies have worked well for one another. They will also hear several brief talks about the next generation of IBM i talent.

The first day’s event takes place in the executive boardroom at Capella Tower. It includes lunch and a late-afternoon reception, and it’s offered at no charge, compliments of Seiden Group and IBM Systems Magazine. View the Day 1 agenda here.

The “Plus” part comes on Day 2, October 17, when our CIO guests can optionally attend the opening day of the RPG & DB2 Summit at no charge, compliments of System i Developer. The Day 2 agenda includes:

  • a series of sessions on IBM i development strategies,
  • an executive round-table discussion on “Future-Proofing Your IBM i Investment” led by Jon Paris, Susan Gantner and Paul Tuohy,
  • opportunities to meet and pick the brains of leading development experts, including during lunch, an evening reception, and dinner
  • time to share ideas and socialize with members of your development team who are attending the RPG & DB2 Summit.

For a veteran IBM i journalist’s perspective on the upcoming IBM i CIO Summit, see this IT Jungle article. 

Request an invitation to the Summit here.

Hope to see you there!

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.

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.

#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 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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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.

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