Encrypting IBM i ODBC Connections from Linux

ODBC with Db2 for IBM iSeveral clients have asked how to encrypt ODBC connections between Linux and IBM i to keep their Db2 data safe in transit.

To encrypt ODBC data, IBM recommends the industry-standard TLS encryption protocol (the successor to SSL).

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Be Careful When Using Yum Remove

Open SourceThe Yum install command installs open source packages. It also installs any sub-packages upon which the desired package relies.

Yum remove does the reverse. It will remove a requested package.

What some users don’t know: Yum remove also removes any packages that depend on the package you removed. This is true whether running Yum manually or via the ACS open source package manager.

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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 The Request for Enhancement (RFE) site has been replaced by the IBM Power Ideas Portal.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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Apache for IBM i: Where to Find Documentation

Apache HTTP Server ProjectHTTP Server for i (Powered by Apache) is the IBM i integrated web server. Although this unique implementation of Apache is well documented by IBM, that documentation can be hard to find. Internet searches often return outdated or irrelevant links.

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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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Using Yum to Install or Update the IBM i ODBC Driver

ODBC with Db2 for IBM iThe IBM i ODBC driver for Db2 has become easier to install.

Formerly available only as a download requiring several steps, the driver can now be installed and updated on IBM i with Yum or Access Client Solutions (ACS), as easily as with other IBM i open source packages.

Here are instructions for installing the ODBC driver using Yum.

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Liam Allan’s Next Adventure

Liam Allan Alan Seiden

Liam and Alan at POWERUp 2019

To say that Liam Allan is a powerhouse in the IBM i community would be an understatement.

Liam burst onto the IBM i scene in 2016 as a Club Seiden member and the recipient of COMMON’s Student Innovation Award. Skilled in multiple programming languages, he chose to advance the art of bridging the worlds of RPG and open source. Later, he joined Seiden Group’s team of open source and IBM i experts.

Liam contributed a staggering amount to the IBM i community. As a conference speaker, his enthusiam inspired even the jaded to try new approaches. He has created how-to videos and tutorials, contributed to open source projects, and answered questions on forums. He built Code for IBM i, a free extension for Visual Studio Code that supports IBM i development in RPGLE, CL, COBOL, and Db2 for i.

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Continuous Integration for PHP Extensions

(Co-written with Alan Seiden)

CI/CDContinuous Integration (CI) ensures that every time a developer commits changes to a version control system such as Git, the code is automatically built and subjected to automated tests.

CI has been invaluable to us. As maintainers of PHP’s PDO_IBM and ibm_db2 extensions, we use CI to ensure high quality across platforms.

Platforms supported by PHP’s extensions for Db2 include IBM i, Unix/Linux, and Windows. While our focus is IBM i, we must ensure compatibility with the others. Reliance on manual testing would introduce the risk of broken builds or subtle bugs. Automation is a must.

In this post, we explain how we use CI principles when building and testing PHP’s Db2 extensions.

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How to Choose a PHP API Framework

APIAlan and I provide mentoring in API strategy for a software company who asked us whether they should use a PHP framework and, if so, which one would be best. They also wondered whether to invest in a commercial API gateway.

My thoughts on APIs and frameworks struck Alan as useful for any language and platform. Alan encouraged me to document my “philosophy of frameworks” here for anyone planning to develop web apps or APIs.

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Porting a Cross-Platform C++ Application to Mac

An article about building C++ software for macOS might seem out of the ordinary for Seiden Group, a company that focuses on IBM i, but we have a good reason: we’ve been enhancing open source tools for PHP and Python. One of these is KCachegrind, an open source visualization tool that integrates with PHP’s Xdebug’s powerful application profiler and Python’s cprofile.

While KCachegrind and its cousin QCachegrind are easily available for Linux, only very outdated builds were available for Windows, and none at all for macOS. To rectify the situation, we’ve been making enhancements; providing QCachegrind builds for the community; and documenting how to use QCachegrind with Xdebug.

We’ve learned how to build cross-platform applications that work well on a Mac. This article documents many of the challenges we faced and solutions we found.

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