Simplify with Subsystems

IBM iA major differentiator of the IBM i operating system is the use of subsystems to separate workloads, often for managing memory and optimizing performance. While those are still valid reasons for separating work into multiple subsystems, today’s large memory sizes and fast processors reduce the need to optimize performance in this way.

In this article, I’ll explain how subsystems can make today’s web-oriented application workloads much easier to manage. Read more

Alan’s PHP Tips to Wow Your Users [VIDEO]

“The order entry app is hanging again!”  Nobody wins when your system is slow or stuck.

Find out how the best IBM i teams keep their users happy and productive with snappy PHP applications. In this video, Alan shares tips to optimize PHP websites and APIs for improved speed and stability. He explains why newer PHP versions are inherently faster and offer smoother migrations. He also details how to use Apache’s mod_deflate, look for network issues and bots, manage session clean-up, prepare for business growth, improve PHP Db2 performance, profile your application, and much more.

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Speed Up Web Pages Using Apache’s mod_deflate

Apache HTTP Server ProjectWhen we do performance assessments for web applications running on HTTP Server (Powered by Apache) for i, one of the first things we do is enable a powerful Apache extension called mod_deflate. Just as zipping up files on your PC saves space and accelerates file transfers, mod_deflate compresses output from your server before sending it over your network.

Does it really work? My tests show a speed improvement of 10 to 50 percent!

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Free QCachegrind Enables Application Profiling for PHP Developers

IBM i developers now have an alternative to proprietary data visualization tools to pinpoint potential bottlenecks in PHP, Python, and Node.js code. QCachegrind, an open source tool developed by KDE, turns raw application profiling data into meaningful graphs and visualizations that highlight a program’s most time-consuming functions.

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

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.

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.

Performance Tweet chat Monday, online workshop Thursday

Join me for two events this week sponsored by COMMON, a Users Group:

  • Monday, Feb. 24: Free Tweet Chat about optimizing PHP Performance on IBM i. Use hash tag #COMMONChat. 12pm Central time.
  • Thursday, Feb. 27: Full-day (10-4 Central time with lunch break) online workshop to master PHP Performance on IBM i. Registrants will have a chance to get their specific questions answered.

Details on online workshop: http://www.common.org/index.php/webinars.html

PHP Performance on IBM i: Tuesday, Dec. 10 (limited-time discount)

This Tuesday, learn how to Let Your PHP applications fly on IBM i. Busy? You can attend while getting your work done, with three one-hour class segments separated by breaks.

“Our process now runs 30-50% faster, thanks to one tip from Alan’s presentation.”
—Mike Meszaros, Software Developer, Specialty Pipe & Tube

You’ll learn to quickly improve your application’s performance, including:

  • Give your app that “snap” by optimizing its front end as well as PHP
  • Configure Zend Server for performance
  • Diagnose bottlenecks
  • Leverage unique IBM i performance tools
  • Optimize DB2 and the IBM i toolkit

I’ll be there to answer your questions. What’s more, the presentation will be archived for 60 days so you can review the material afterward.

“Alan is the performance guru of PHP on IBM i. When we encountered unexpectedly slow queries and program calls, Alan showed us a configuration change that helped our application run 3x faster, creating happy users. Thanks, Alan!”
—Adam Chuk Shirley, PHP Developer, Sabel Steel Service

What: PHP on IBM i performance eLearning event
When: Tuesday, December 10, 2013: three one-hour segments with two one-hour breaks, starting 11AM and ending 4PM (ET).
Where: Online
Cost: $150 (but discounted to $99 through Friday, Dec. 6)

High-performance PHP on IBM i this Tuesday (July 30, 2013)

For the first time, I’m teaching how to Let Your PHP applications fly on IBM i, including how to configure Zend Server for performance, diagnose bottlenecks, leverage unique IBM i performance tools, optimize DB2 and the IBM i toolkit, and improve performance of front-end javascript, style sheets, and the like. You’ll come away with knowledge that you can use immediately to improve your application’s performance.

I’ll be there to answer your questions. What’s more, the presentation will be archived for 60 days so you can review the material afterward.

What: PHP on IBM i performance eLearning event
When: Tuesday, July 30, 2013: three one-hour segments with two one-hour breaks, starting 11AM and ending 4PM (ET).
Where: Online
Cost: $150 (group registrations available)

Questions: Get in touch with Alan

Other upcoming events from Alan:

August 22, 2013: At NESTU (user group in Fairfield, N.J.): “At ease! Relax your neck-back-shoulders at the keyboard”: A special presentation from Alan to help computer workers (such as all of us) avoid repetitive strain injury and stay poised at work. Fun and unusual.

September 9-11, 2013: COMMON Fall 2013 Conference and Expo in St. Louis, Missouri. The Premier IBM i event. I’m presenting 5 talks on PHP and web performance.

October 7, 2013: Full-day, in-depth PHP on IBM i Performance Workshop, 9:30-4PM (PT) at  ZendCon (the PHP conference). Register for both parts of this tutorial (room 6) for Oct. 7, and the full conference, which goes till Oct. 10, in Santa Clara, California. I’m presenting several talks on PHP for IBM i in addition to the full-day performance tutorial.

Alan’s event page: https://www.seidengroup.com/events/