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

Zend Server for IBM i download page

If you’re looking for Zend Server for IBM i, its updates or hotfixes (such as the recent SOAP hot fix), or the latest official PHP Toolkit release, try the new Zend Server download page for IBM i.

The new page is easier to use than previous versions because it’s exclusively for IBM i (to some, “iSeries”). In the past, the download page contained a separate tab for every platform, with the potential for error and requiring more clicks.

Thanks to Zend for the improvement.

Why PHP on IBM i

A colleague asked me for a catchy quote about why IBM i aficionados should choose PHP. Some thoughts to start with:

1. With PHP you can build your dreams.

2. PHP lets you start simply and grow.

3. PHP combines open source with the stability and support of IBM i.

4. Learn PHP and you’ll gain a skill you can use everywhere, but that you’ll WANT to use on IBM i.

How to prevent Easycom from loading

Several clients have asked me how to prevent their older Easycom components from loading, now that they’ve migrated from the Easycom toolkit to the new open source IBM i Zend toolkit.

Here are instructions based on suggestions from Rod Flohr of Zend Support. These tips have worked for me on Zend Server 5.6 for IBM i and will probably work on older releases as well.

Prevent Easycom extension from being loaded by PHP

1. Go to the Zend Server administration interface in your browser: http://yourIBMi:10088/ZendServer/.

2. Navigate to the Server Setup -> Extensions tab.

3. Find Easycom on the list of extensions. If the extension is On, click the “Turn off” link on the same line to turn it off.

4. You should see this message: “The extension ‘Easycom’ will be turned off after restarting your PHP”. You don’t need to restart PHP now if you plan to do so later, at the end of “Prevent I5_COMD daemon…” (below).

5. Also look for an extension called ‘pdo_easycom,’ which you may see if you had downloaded or purchased the Easycom product directly from the vendor. If it is there, turn it off as well.

Prevent I5_COMD daemon from starting in ZENDSVR

If you see a job named I5_COMD running in the ZENDSVR subsystem, but no longer use the Easycom toolkit, you may wish to follow these steps:

STEP 1: Rename the startup program that launches I5_COMD. From a 5250 command line:

This renaming will “hide” I5_COMD’s startup program from Zend Server’s startup procedure. (Don’t worry—the “missing object” message is monitored—no errors.)

STEP 2: Stop and start Zend Server from the menu. From a 5250 command line:

Use option “2. Stop Zend Server Subsystem”

Verify that subsystem ZENDSVR has ended and that there are no jobs named ZENDSVR in the QHTTPSVR subsystem.

Next, use option “1. Start Zend Server Subsystem.”

Verify that subsystem QHTTPSVR is running and contains the usual ZENDSVR jobs. Verify that subsystem ZENDSVR is started, but without I5_COMD inside.

Calling procedures and service programs with the PHP Toolkit for IBM i

The open source PHP Toolkit can call procedures (functions) that are defined within RPG service programs on IBM i. The sample script below has been used successfully by many toolkit users, so you can rely on it.

Update (April 2021): Make sure your procedure name is 100% correct. It is case-sensitive. If you get an error, look for your procedure name in the output from this command (replacing LIBNAME/PGMNAME with your library and program names):
DSPSRVPGM SRVPGM(LIBNAME/PGMNAME) DETAIL(*PROCEXP)

The example below includes ‘boilerplate’ code to show best practices for connecting to the toolkit and checking for a successful connection. The illustration of how to call a procedure is in the second half.

For more information on the toolkit, see our toolkit information page or get in touch.

ZF2 and DB2 for IBM i

I’d like to address questions about DB2 support in Zend Framework 2.x. Because I helped create the IBM i-friendly DB2 adapter for Zend Framework 1.x, I’ve followed the development of a similar adapter for ZF2.

(updated January 30, 2013, upon the release of ZF 2.1)

Q. Does ZF 2 include an adapter for DB2?
A. Yes! Starting with ZF 2.1, which was released today.

Q. Is Alan’s IBM i-friendly DB2 adapter for Zend Framework 1.x needed in 2.x?
A. No. Because ZF’s Zend_Db equivalent in 2.x works differently than in 1.x, my 1.x component is not needed in 2.x.

Q. Does ZF 2.1’s DB2 adapter work with IBM i?
A. Yes! Please try it and provide feedback to the ZF team.

Which version of Zend Server for IBM i do I have?

Here is the easiest way to learn the version of Zend Server installed on an IBM i system.
[Updated December 20, 2017]

From a 5250 command line, follow these four steps:

On my IBM i, I see:
7PHPZND   *INSTALLED   Zend Server for IBM i 9.1.2 ( PHP 7.1 )
so Zend Server is at 9.1.2 and PHP is 7.1.

Thanks to Zend’s Sam Pinkhasov for this tip.

Toolkit webcast tomorrow, April 5

Tomorrow I’m presenting a new webcast, New PHP Toolkit from Zend and IBM: Open Source on IBM i, as part of System i Network’s free “Virtual Conference.”

Date: Thursday, April 5
Time: 11:15am ET
Registration (free): http://tinyurl.com/new-toolkit-20120405

Other presentations in the virtual conference include Jon Paris explaining why PHP is an excellent strategic choice on IBM i, two talks on mobile technology, and more.

I invite you to watch the webcast, ask questions, and learn more about the new toolkit.

Web performance webinar today

Hope you can join me for “Web performance first aid,” a webcast for the COMMON user group. The webcast will be recorded and archived for future listenings as well.

The webcast is for COMMON members, so anyone wanting to hear it needs to join COMMON.

I based the presentation on my consulting practice that helps ensure high performance for PHP and Zend Framework applications on IBM i. Good performance is critical for customer acceptance of web sites and mobile applications.

Webcast link: http://www.common.org/index.php/webcasts/upcoming-webcasts.html

Anyone wishing to see just the slides can do that on my site: http://alanseiden.com/presentations and look for “Web performance first aid.”

Before you remove Zend Core from your IBM i

If you’ve installed Zend Server for IBM i and are planning to remove the older Zend Core for i5/OS, first check that Zend Core’s version is at least 2.6.1.

Zend Core must be at 2.6.1+ because if you uninstall version 2.6.0 or lower,  portions of Zend Server will be uninstalled as well. Therefore, update your old Zend Core to 2.6.1+ before uninstalling.

Resources

We’ve been named a Top 10 IBM i blog

This blog, alanseiden.com, has been named to the “Best i Blog Bets” top 10 list by Alex Woodie, Senior Editor of IT Jungle.

Thank you to Alex for this honor. This site will continue to offer articles, presentations, event listings, and news about PHP, Zend Framework, IBM i, and other topics of interest to the PHP/i community.