IBM System i computer, formerly called AS/400, iSeries, i5

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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Zend Server for IBM i support knowledge base

The support team at Zend has written a knowledge base of tips for configuring and administering Zend Server for IBM i.  The tips, written chiefly by Rod Flohr, are accurate and thorough. Recommended is the site’s option to notify registered users when new articles are posted. URL: https://support.zend.com/hc/en-us/sections/200554323-Zend-Server-for-IBM-i

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

Vote for a Mac edition of RDi

Rational Developer for i (RDi), the modern editor for IBM i RPG, COBOL and other languages, runs on Windows and Linux, but not Mac.

IBM has shown some willingness to port the product to Mac. They have posted a poll to allow users to vote for this enhancement or to comment on the proposal: https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rfe/execute?use_case=viewRfe&CR_ID=13454

Those wishing to vote will find a “vote” link near the bottom of the poll page.

Overcome 8-character user profile limit in SSH for IBM i

By default, user profiles longer than eight (8) characters cannot connect to IBM i via Secure Shell (SSH). This limitation affects tools such as Zend Studio, which will show a message similar to “Failed to connect sshd on “<some ip address>.” Beginning with IBM i release 6.1, however, IBM provided a means of removing this limitation, so that user profiles longer than 8 characters could connect. Releases 6.1 and 7.1 require a PTF and a configuration change; release 7.2 and higher require only the configuration change.

For details, see  Zend Support specialist Rod Flohr’s article about how to remove the 8-character limit on user profiles when connecting via SSH.

Free webinars sponsored by COMMON Europe (open to all)

Starting January 27, 2015, I’ll be giving three free Tuesday webinars:

  • January 27: Strategic Modernization with PHP
  • February 17: Bring RPG/COBOL business logic to the web with the PHP Toolkit
  • March 10: Speedy PHP on IBM i

All three one-hour webinars will be held at 14:00 Central European Time (CET). That’s 8 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST). The registration page includes a time zone converter.

Details and to register: http://www.data3.se/?p=5287

Thanks to Torbjörn Appehl of Data3 (COMMON Sweden) for organizing these.

January newsletter

I’ve relaunched my PHP and IBM i newsletter. Here is the January 2015 edition, out today.

To subscribe and receive this free newsletter each month, go here: alanseiden.com/tips.

Comments welcome. Happy 2015–

Alan

Learn to combine RPG+PHP at Toronto user group, Jan. 21, 2015

I’ve recorded a special message about my upcoming presentations at the Toronto Users Group for Power Systems evening meeting on January 21, 2015:

In the video, I discuss the two sessions I’ll be presenting:

  • Bring RPG/COBOL business logic to the web with the PHP Toolkit
  • PHP Tricks for RPG Developers

Hope you can make it to the Toronto meeting, Jan. 21, 2015, Markham, Ontario. Details: http://tug.ca

Free PHP still exists on IBM i (Zend Server Basic Edition)

I’ve been hearing from people confused about Zend Server editions on IBM i. Yes,  Community Edition was removed with Zend Server 7/8, but Zend replaced that with the no-charge “Basic” edition. The Basic edition exists only on IBM i. It requires registration but at no cost. Zend Server for IBM i can be downloaded here.

While I often recommend the Professional or Enterprise editions of Zend Server for the value-added tools (Z-Ray being the newest and most exciting, but also Zend Job Queue, Zend Monitor, and more) and for Zend’s professional support, rest assured that free PHP still exists, with the Basic edition.

For more information, here is the current list of Zend Server editions for IBM i.

Zend Framework 2 performance optimization: it works

Zend Framework 2 (ZF2) provides optimization techniques that are often overlooked by published performance tests. One excellent source for such techniques is a presentation by Gary Hockin. I was thrilled when my client and friend King Harrison IV of K3S began testing the effect of these techniques on his ZF2 application running on IBM i.

King’s initial tests produced a 600ms reduction in load time, obtaining respectable performance for his database-heavy application. He plans to update his blog post with further speed improvements as he implements them.

Read King Harrison IV’s blog post about ZF2 performance improvements.