Our Zend Framework-based Site Honored by IBM/COMMON

We won! IBM has recognized my use of PHP and Zend Framework, and our entire team’s RPG/DB2 and design work, by naming our web solution the IBM i’s most innovative of 2009.

At IBM’s 2009 COMMON conference, IBM awarded the Power Systems Innovation Award for Best Web Solution for eBiz@ABG. The site, developed with my colleagues at  Strategic Business Systems, Inc., was created for New Jersey’s largest wine and spirits wholesaler, Allied Beverage Group.

The system offers product ordering, live inventory levels and pricing, and a full-text search of Allied’s large product catalog. The application was built with Zend Framework (the leading PHP framework) and runs entirely on Allied’s IBM i, leveraging Allied’s db2 database and time-tested RPG logic.

The site is password-protected, so unfortunately I can’t link to it here.

eBiz@ABG is one of the first sites to be built with Zend Framework on IBM i (System i, i5, iSeries, AS/400). It was a true collaboration with Allied, made easier because we all spoke the language of “i.” What’s more, by using large chunks of Allied’s existing RPG code that already handled the complex business logic, we saved time and avoided reinventing the wheel.

Zend Framework worked so well that I committed to mastering it and teaching the community about it. (ZF has a learning curve, but after that curve is mastered, ZF speeds development and offers easy maintenance and growth.) I earned my Zend Framework certification in August 2008, becoming one of the first 50 worldwide to do so and the first ZF-certified “i” professional. Since then, I’ve gone on to be a ZF/i mentor for other development teams, and have become a public speaker, sharing my PHP/ZF/i roadmap at conferences.

Thanks to Allied for the opportunity to collaborate on a great project; thanks to Strategic Business Systems for the support; and thanks to IBM for the award.

New York Software Industry Association writes about my work with System i/PHP

My work to foster PHP on IBM System i was noted in the Feb. 21, 2007, edition of buzz@nysia, the New York Software Industry Association’s weekly news report. I am delighted that buzz@nysia columnist Donna Bogatin chose me as a featured “mover and shaker.”

Site Upgraded to PHP 5

Early this week I called my web hosting provider, BlueHost, to ask to be upgraded from PHP 4 to 5. They graciously offered to move my files to a PHP 5 server at no charge. I was warned, though, that my site might be inaccessible during the move.

Later that day, I saw that the site was running on PHP 5.

One problem: my custom MX records, pointing to the wonderful FastMail email host, were reset to their defaults. People who wrote to me the morning of October 3 had their email bounced back to them.

BlueHost corrected my MX records quickly once I told them. Email flowed properly within an hour or so.

Lesson: anyone with custom MX records should, if altering web host settings, check the MX records immediately thereafter. Easy way to check: MX Lookup Utility.

Welcome to alanseiden.com

I plan to share all my writing here. My existing articles will appear first, followed by original content.

Readers will find articles about about information technology, including topics such as IBM System i (AS/400, iSeries, i5), PHP, and usability. Personal-computing tips will also abound.