IBM i computer, formerly named AS/400, iSeries, i5

Requests for Enhancement are now “IBM Ideas”

IBM iIBM i users have a new way to request enhancements from IBM. The Request for Enhancement (RFE) site has been replaced by the IBM Power Ideas Portal.

I immediately noticed an advantage of the new portal—we can now share links without requiring the recipient to log in! The new site seems faster, too.

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What’s in Your ODBC Driver?

ODBC with Db2 for IBM iSince IBM announced Yum support for installing the IBM i Db2 ODBC driver, as documented in our recent tutorial, users can update their driver more easily.

To help users determine what’s changed, IBM maintains a list of fixes and enhancements for each IBM i ODBC driver release.

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IBM Announces IBM i 7.5 and 7.4 TR6

IBM iThe May 3, 2022 announcement of IBM i 7.5 and IBM i 7.4 TR6 gave us a lot to unpack. It rolled up many enhancements from previous TRs, then threw in a new subscription option for IBM i and a new modernization framework called Merlin.

If you’re running Seiden’s CommunityPlus+ PHP, no worries. It’s compatible with IBM i 7.5.

Here’s a collection of the articles and podcasts we found to be most informative for IBM i application development teams.

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Visual Studio Code for IBM i: A Resource Guide

Code for IBM iJust over a year ago, a group of developers led by Liam Allan presented the IBM i community with a new, free IDE—an IBM i extension to the popular Visual Studio Code.

VS Code for IBM i offers an alternative to RDi, the heavy-duty, fee-based graphical IDE for IBM i, and SEU, the native greenscreen IDE. It’s faster than RDi and easier to learn than either RDi or SEU. It supports development in RPGLE, COBOL, JavaScript, PHP, Python, Node.js and other languages. For these reasons, Code for IBM i is a great solution for:

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New IBM i extension for PHP

PHP on IBM iOne of the open source components we’ve built at Seiden Group is a new extension to enhance PHP’s integration with IBM i.

Although most business requirements are met by the existing ibm_db2 and PDO_ODBC extensions plus the PHP Toolkit, the new php-ibmi makes it easier to accomplish several (formerly) difficult or impossible tasks—especially for tool vendors, and when troubleshooting.

We’ve built six functions thus far, with the possibility of more in the future. Let us know what you think.

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Update: Code for IBM i Language Tools

Code for IBM iCode for IBM i and its RPGLE language tools have come a long way! I am excited to share some of the language tools improvements with you today. They are absolutely worth talking about. Language tools are what makes writing code fun and exciting, and we can be better developers with them.

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ibm_db2 & ODBC Run Side-by-Side in Seiden CP+ PHP

Historically, PHP on IBM i implementations demanded loyalty to a single database connection style. You had to choose either the classic extensions (ibm_db2 / PDO_IBM) or the ODBC extensions (odbc / PDO_ODBC.) Operating system limitations prevented both types from being loaded at the same time.

In July 2021, we overcame those limitations to coexisting database extensions in Seiden CommunityPlus+ PHPYes, now the classic PHP database extensions can run side-by-side with ODBC! We will explain how this was done in a future blog post.

As of this writing, you’ll find this feature exclusively in CP+ PHP. When you install Seiden CP+, all db2 extensions (ibm_db2, PDO_IBM, odbc, and PDO_ODBC) are enabled by default.

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Visual Studio Code and 5250

With our latest version of Code for IBM i, developers have access to virtually everything they need when writing both RPG and open source applications, all in a single editor.

Version 0.8.4 provides your choice of a 5250 terminal or a PASE shell right in the editor—with a new, faster launch process.

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RPGLE Linting and Content Assist with VS Code for IBM i

vscode-rpgle extensionA great IDE contains features that increase your coding speed and accuracy so you can focus on your program’s logic. One of my favorite productivity enhancers, content assist, has been bundled in Visual Studio Code for IBM i since its inception. Content assist gives you autocomplete options for code as you write it, reducing syntax errors.

Today we’re announcing a new killer productivity tool for Code for IBM i—a built-in linter!

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Troubleshooting “already been bootstrapped” Message on IBM i

Setting up the open source environment on IBM i from Access Client Solutions (ACS) is usually easy, but sometimes you can run into problems. The most common error is when ACS claims that the environment is already set up (“bootstrapped”), when in fact it isn’t. Confusing!

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