Alan Seiden

Alan Seiden

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Using Db2 and SQL with Open Source Languages on IBM i

Speakers:  Alan Seiden and Scott Forstie,

Db2’s ever-expanding capabilities can simplify development in open source languages such as PHP, Ruby, Node.js, and Python. These languages, known for their ease in building web and mobile applications, can run most types of SQL, but why complicate them with repetitive database code that distracts from their power and simplicity?

This talk shows examples of how to reduce tedious coding by using such Db2 structures as Views, User Defined Functions, stored procedures, Row and Column Access Control (RCAC), LIMIT/OFFSET, exciting new Db2 Services, and more. Security, performance, and ease of maintenance in the open source scripting languages will be the result of the recommendations and techniques given in this talk.

Learning Objectives
  1. Learn Db2 techniques that improve security, performance, simplicity
  2. Understand how coding in open source scripting languages can be made simpler and more powerful by use of Db2’s modern capabilities

Developers using open source languages such as PHP, Node.js, Python, or Ruby on IBM i with Db2.

About Scott Forstie

Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM
Db2 for i Business Architect

Scott Forstie is responsible for all things related to Db2 for i.  He is a speaker at IBM i events and a frequently published author. Scott spends most of his time leading the Db2 for i development team. He is also the content manager of the IBM i Technology Updates wiki ( where IBM i operating system enhancements are described.  Scott can be reached at or followed on Twitter @Forstie_IBMi.

ODBC Up and Running

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

IBM i now provides an ODBC driver for Db2 that works just like the one on Windows, Linux, and Mac. What does this mean for web and open source developers? Developers can now code “locally” on their PCs, then deploy the same code to IBM i for production. Learn best practices for using ODBC with open source languages, including Node.js, PHP, and Python, and R, as well as .NET, and how to convert proprietary Db2 driver functions to standard ODBC functions.

Learning objectives:
  1. How to install and configure ODBC on IBM i
  2. How ODBC can help you develop software that can run on any platform while accessing IBM i data
  3. How to use ODBC from the various languages safely and effectively, avoiding common mistakes

Developers or managers who use open source languages and want to keep current with IBM’s recommendation and greater development efficiency

PHP in 2023 – What’s New and Exciting on IBM i

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

PHP is moving fast these days. PHP 7.4 is out of support by the community, while PHP 8.1 and 8.2 include features that help developers reduce bugs and enjoy writing high quality code. In this fast-paced session, Alan will share his favorite new features in PHP 8.1 and 8.2, and how to prepare for them. Alan will also show tips on upgrading from older releases and will go over recent security enhancements.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Power of PHP in today’s market with IBM i
  2. Why and how to get on a regular upgrade cycle with PHP
  3. Features and benefits of PHP 8.1 and 8.2 for security, performance, and ease of programming

CommunityPlus+ PHP is Open for Business

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Until recently, there was no easy way to develop and deploy PHP web applications natively on IBM i without installing Zend Server.

Now a set of next-generation RPM-based installers provides PHP and all the popular PHP extensions used with IBM i in one slim, efficient package that you can download free. Known as CommunityPlus+ PHP, it’s stable, fast and business-ready.

Join Alan Seiden as he briefs you on how IBM’s open source strategy has opened the door to more efficient PHP environments on IBM i. He will demonstrate how Seiden Group’s CommunityPlus+ PHP can be installed, configured, and ready for development within minutes. Choose from a variety of support options, including free community help, paid setup assistance, and professional 24×7 support.

You won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn how you can quickly modernize your PHP environment with little or no change to your business applications!

Learning objectives:
  1. Learn the benefits of this new PHP for administrators and developers
  2. Developers can learn how to code on their PCs and deploy to the IBM i, all from the same code base
  3. Real-world migration tips to make the process smooth

Seiden CommunityPlus+ PHP for HD5.0 Customers

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

HD5.0 now supports a new PHP option: Seiden Group’s CommunityPlus+ PHP 7.4. With Zend Server Basic discontinued as of June 30, 2021, HD5.0 customers should consider their PHP options. Seiden’s is one that works well, installs quickly via modern RPMs (Yum command), supports all the classic database extensions and the toolkit, PHP 7.3, 7.4, and 8.0, and a choice of no-charge self-service or paid “Install and Learn” setup and up to 24×7 support. A software update from HD makes configuration a snap. Join Alan Seiden as he shares what’s new and exciting in PHP and how to use CommunityPlus+ PHP with HD5.0.

Open Source Performance Tools for PHP, Python and Node.js

Speaker:  Alan Seiden,

Users love fast applications. Find and eliminate any slow code in your Node, PHP, and Python applications using free, open source performance profiling tools that you can download and use immediately.

Web Server Magic on IBM i

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Anyone creating web or mobile applications, or APIs, can benefit from the techniques shown here:

  • Do I need a web server? Which one is best for me?
  • Securing your site
  • Apache and Nginx tips and tricks
  • HTTPS encryption (SSL/TLS), including using the free Let’s Encrypt
  • Create user-friendly and search-engine friendly URLs over any web application
  • What if you become popular? (performance and handling a large number requests)
Learning Objectives
  • Understand how to secure the Apache web server on IBM i
  • Learn to use Apache’s most useful features, including search engine optimization, logging, and virtual hosts

Administrators and developers seeking to prepare their systems for web applications, improve performance, and improve security.

Impress Your Boss with Open Source

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Open source brings ready-made solutions that can run on your IBM i, usually at no charge. Create graphics, PDFs, content management for the web, not to mention web languages that allow you to address new business needs. What’s more, these open source technologies work well with RPG.

In this business-oriented talk, learn how companies are staying ahead of the curve with open source on their IBM i. See how RPG provides the solid business logic to provide business advantage, while open source brings interfaces and capabilities up to date. Be prepared to be wowed by many examples.

Web Language Shootout

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Alan will compare and review several open source languages commonly used for web-related development and the role of RPG alongside them. Languages include PHP, Python, and Node.js (javascript). The session contains concrete information about each as well as a lively discussion.

Learning objectives:
  1. Learn what makes each of these languages unique
  2. Understand where each language would be best
  3. Learn about web and API architecture

Make Your IBM i Sizzle with WordPress

(Standalone session)
Speaker: Alan Seiden,

WordPress lets you create a website by choosing a theme and adding your own graphics without touching a line of code. This popular open-source application also has thousands of plugins to add features to your site. Best of all, it runs on IBM i, and can leverage your own Db2 data and RPG programs. Learn why WordPress on the IBM i can be the most powerful WordPress anywhere. Since WordPress is based on PHP and MySQL, you’ll get a taste of those technologies as well.

Learning Objectives
  1. See what your IBM i can do with WordPress, how you can quickly create a website that will wow the business people in your company
  2. Get a taste of how open source technology runs the web
  3. See your IBM i data and RPG output on a WordPress site on IBM i

Developers and others who want to create a great impression of IBM i while adding business value and improving their careers.

Strategic Modernization with PHP

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

You know you need to modernize your IBM i applications, but where to start? In this talk, Alan will inspire you with creative examples of modernization on IBM i that provided a strong return on investment while controlling risk.  Learn how to choose projects with the best return on investment, and then complete them with confidence. We will lead an honest discussion of the most effective strategies. Can RPG programmers learn PHP? Yes. Can new PHP developers be integrated into an existing IT department? Yes. Both approaches have merit. See creative ways to use PHP, not only to create new GUI front-ends, but to add jazzy features to existing interactive RPG programs. Please your users and business people by incorporating PHP into your shop.

During a recent broadcast of this talk to COMMON Europe, one attendee said: “Great intro for how to do modernization! Thank you!”

Learning Objectives
  1. See how PHP and other open-source languages can satisfy business needs and today’s users
  2. How to get started with PHP
  3. How PHP integrates with RPG and traditional resources

People considering PHP or other modernization approaches who could benefit from a high-level view of where it fits.

PHP Tricks for RPG’ers:
Graphics, Excel, PDFs, E-Mail and More

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Ever want to enhance RPG programs with PDFs, spreadsheets, charts and graphics, or connect to web services, without complicating your RPG program? Help is here from PHP and Db2.  PHP not only builds websites, but it can be called by RPG programs. Alan will show how to accomplish marvelous tasks by calling PHP from ordinary RPG programs via Db2’s web service support, a fast, flexible technique that’s a handy trick in itself.

Examples will include:

  • Creating graphs and charts based on Db2 data
  • Excel spreadsheets from your data
  • PDF files from your data
  • Connecting to external JSON-based web services while keeping the RPG simple
  • Send flexible email messages, including HTML format and attachments, and using any SMTP server, including an Exchange server

You will come away brimming with ideas to add pizzazz to your applications.

Learning Objectives
  1. How to use SQL to call a web service, including a simple PHP-based web service
  2. How RPG can use SQL to call the web service
  3. Put it together: RPG calls PHP via a web service, creating graphical output from RPG in a simple manner
  1. Those wishing to add non-traditional functionality to RPG programs without adding proprietary or complicated tools.
  2. Web developers (PHP, Ruby, etc.) who want their scripts to be accessible from RPG.
  3. Fans of Db2 who wish to see a practical use of the new web service consumption capabilities of Db2.

This talk could be categorized under PHP, RPG, Db2, web services, etc., because it brings together several subjects in a practical application.

The Art of Performance Diagnostics with the IBM i Performance Data Investigator

Speakers:  Alan Seiden and Dawn May,

Do you want to analyze your IBM i performance data but don’t know where to start? This co-presentation from Dawn May and Alan Seiden will use actual examples from the field to show how to approach performance analysis and diagnostics with Performance Data Investigator and Job Watcher. Dawn will share her deep insight into these powerful, graphical IBM i performance tools while Alan will use charts generated by these tools to tell true stories of performance problems and solutions.

Speedy PHP on IBM i

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Delight your users with snappy, quick PHP-based applications running on IBM i.

  • Configure Zend Server for performance
  • Optimize Db2 and the IBM i toolkit
  • Diagnose bottlenecks
  • Leverage unique IBM i performance tools

You’ll come away brimming with ideas that you can use immediately to improve your application’s performance.

Learning Objectives
  1. Use Zend and IBM tools to detect bottlenecks
  2. Know how to configure the PHP environment for performance

Developers or admins wanting to keep their system humming with PHP.

PHP and Db2 Essentials [For IBM i conferences]
Db2 and PHP Essentials on IBM i [For ZendCon]

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Db2 is the heart of IBM i. For PHP applications, the Db2 database provides performance, data integrity, remote connectivity, and security. This session will show the right way to use Db2 with PHP. Topics include: NEW features of Db2 and ibm_db2 that can make life easier for developers, performance tips, prevention of SQL injection, library list options, and how to connect IBM i’s Db2 from Windows and Linux.

Learning Objectives
  1. Understand how to get the best performance from Db2 with PHP on IBM i
  2. Take steps to secure applications by using parameter markers (prepared statements)
  3. Learn about new features that help performance and stability
  4. Make the right choices when configuring your application for library lists and more

Anyone using PHP and even other open-source languages who uses Db2 will learn something from this talk.

Bring RPG/COBOL Business Logic to the Web with the PHP Toolkit

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Don’t reinvent the wheel when developing PHP applications. Instead, re-use your valuable business logic. Reduce risk, speed development, reduce costs when developing web and mobile applications by calling RPG and COBOL programs, system commands, accessing data areas, and more, with the open-source PHP Toolkit for IBM i, co-developed by IBM and Alan Seiden. The toolkit is free, flexible, supported by Zend and uses IBM’s XMLSERVICE toolkit on the back end.

Learning Objective:
  1. Create a modern PHP-based graphical interface that uses RPG/COBOL/CL building blocks
  2. Know when to access Db2 directly, and when to call a program
  3. Optimize toolkit performance

PHP on IBM i developers; CIOs and IT managers wanting to understand how PHP can fit smoothly with existing resources, how to reuse existing RPG business logic to help bring projects in on time and on budget.

Speed Up Your Website

(Applies to all web technology on any platform. Not limited to PHP or to IBM i )

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

In this talk, Alan will share techniques that can improve web performance within minutes. Alan recently helped a company’s site speed up by 10x with a single tip.

Alan will focus on free tools that help diagnose performance bottlenecks, how to configure the Apache web server for speed, and demonstrate the techniques on live sites.

Learning Objectives:
  1. How to identify possible performance bottlenecks at a glance
  2. A few easy changes in the Apache web server configuration that can improve performance
  3. What to look for after the initial, quick improvements

Web developers and managers who need their web applications to perform well.

Mindfulness at Work

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

Mindfulness is a practice that trains your brain to gain a fresh perspective on your life and work. Learn how to use this powerful tool to see more calmly and clearly the challenges that you face in your organization. Major corporations have adopted mindfulness training to provide their employees with improved memory, better decision making, and lower stress. Some IT professionals report greater empathy and improved conflict resolution. We will not only talk about it, but actually do a few mindfulness exercises as a group, to experience a calm mind in the midst of a busy conference.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Learn simple exercises to bring focus and calm
  2. Know several practical applications of mindfulness

At Ease! Relax Your Neck-Back-Shoulders at the Keyboard

Speaker: Alan Seiden,

In this talk, Alan Seiden shares tools and ideas that will make attendees’ work more comfortable, productive, and enjoyable.

First, Alan will teach how to avoid injury and become comfortable while working; then will teach a gentle exercise that will leave attendees feeling relaxed, refreshed, and more flexible, fostering a stress-free, creative attitude.

Learning Objectives
  1. Work in IT comfortably, without injury
  2. Have a long career
  3. Feel better by the time you leave this class

Remark from Jon Paris: “I came into this session with a neck ache. I don’t have it any more!”
Additional comment: “Fun and different! This information certainly saved my career.”

Overcoming the Legacy Label

Many CIOs and IT professionals, while appreciating what the IBM i platform does for their organizations, have a slight inferiority complex about the platform, believing that the issues of deferred maintenance and skill replacement are unique to us. They aren’t. Any long-lived platform brings similar challenges, to be met head-on with confidence. The grass isn’t really greener elsewhere. At this session, you will learn how to talk about the challenges of long-lived systems in a way that business people can understand, how to create a plan for moving forward with IBM i modernization (or we might say, more precisely, “paying down technical debt”), if appropriate for your business, and to gain support for doing so.

Learning Objectives
  1. Learn to speak in a way that transcends platform and helps other leaders in your organization see a strong business case—in reduced cost, risk, and stress—for retaining and improving your existing IBM i infrastructure
  2. Be able to answer questions about benefits and risks of cloud offerings
  3. Understand how to work more effectively with business people who may want to dictate technology to you
  1. CIOs and other leaders with responsibility for IT direction, whether experienced with IBM i or not.
  2. IBM i professionals who want to communicate development needs to business people in a non-technical way.

CIO Survival Skills

Within our demanding IT environments, presenting a variety of challenges each day, how do we achieve balance and composure? In this unique session, you will learn ways to keep cool when the pressure is on. The techniques will help you maintain a calm attitude, reduce the risk of burnout, manage business expectations, and preserve your personal time and lifestyle. Some of the ideas may surprise you. Come prepared to share your own favorite survival skills, too.

Show the i in your ROI

It’s no secret that perceptions can shape reality. How do YOU perceive your applications and IBM i resources?

Applications hosted on IBM i systems have traditionally delivered a high Return on Investment (ROI), but do your business executives know it? Learn the language of positive change to gain support for your systems, while adopting modern approaches, and leveraging your investment in IBM i technology.

Learning Objectives
  • Learn how to discuss change and technology with business people to gain support for your initiatives and the IBM i platform, focusing on return on investment (ROI)
  • Increase confidence in your ability to leverage the potential of your systems and effective language to think about and discuss IBM i applications with the business

IT executives seeking support for keeping the best and modernizing the rest with IBM i!