Back to basics with IBM i and PHP

It’s been ten years since IBM i introduced PHP and there’s been significant improvements during that time that IBM i users can take advantage of. We’ve recently hosted a few webinars, which take you back to the basics, showing you how to get started with PHP, and then what you can do to maximize the performance of your app with minimal impact to the business. Whether you’ve been using PHP from the beginning, or are just starting out, there’s something in these webinars that will enable you to improve your application of PHP on IBM i.

Getting started with PHP on IBM i

In this webinar, we walked through five steps: understanding the PHP universe, understanding the “stack” on IBM i, installing Zend Server, installing Zend Studio, and getting productive!
Overall, the webinar is a great recap of the history of PHP and IBM i, as well as a sneak peek into PHP 7 with Zend Server 9, Zend Studio 13.5, and what that combination will bring to IBM i users.

If you missed the webinar, or want to watch it again, it’s available on-demand.

Fundamentals of performance tuning

We often see customers panic when performance issues get out of hand. We call it the “spaghetti syndrome” – you try something, throw it up against the wall, and see if it sticks. But you don’t have to panic when it comes to performance tuning, as there’s multiple solutions available.

Alan Seiden, IBM i and PHP consultant, talked about some awesome stuff on Apache threads, DB2 query optimization, compression, and some unique performance tools on IBM i. We also covered the basics on data cache configurations and possible performance issues that are not caused by PHP.

If you missed the webinar, or want to watch it again, it’s available on-demand.

There was so much to cover in the 45 minute session that we weren’t able to respond to all of the audience questions. As promised, we’ve recapped the questions not answered below.

Is a Hosted DEV LPAR suggested? IBM i hosting i?

The most important concept here is to have a development LPAR. Where you have that LPAR is completely up to you and your management. But all options are possible. Here are some of the many possible permutations:

• You can host it on your production partition (i hosting i)
• You can have it alongside a production partition (VIOS or i hosting i)
• You can go to a hosting solution like iDevCloud.com and obtain a dedicated partition at a monthly fee.

Is the data cache data specific to a user/session or is it shared by all users?

Data cache data is global across the system and not user specific. Since it can only be updated via Zend Server API’s, it can be treated as safe. It would not be hard to make it unique by user by adding session variables to the elements in a multi-dimensional array, if desired. It all depends on how you compose the key that is used to store/retrieve the data. Namespace support is also available. Learn more about Zend Server data cache for PHP API here.

I’m new to IBM i and Zend Server. I’m a PHP developer, works mostly in LAMP. Where do you recommend I start building a development environment?

Do you have an IBM i available? Have you installed Zend Server there yet? If not, download it. Install on your IBM i or ask an administrator to do it for you. You’ll probably need skills in working with the DB2 database. Get some background with Alan’s DB2 Best Practices presentation or, if you’re attending ZendCon 2016, plan to attend his half-day tutorial on DB2 with PHP.

What’s next?

Read the ebook – Top 10 reasons to choose PHP for IBM i.

Download the white paper – From green screen to web: Rapid modernization for IBM i

Catch up with us at ZendCon 2016 – we’re celebrating ten years of PHP on IBM i with a special reception, a dedicated sessions track, and the IBM i pavilion in the exhibit hall. We hope to see you there.

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    Mike Pavlak

    Mike Pavlak has been working with IBM midrange solutions since 1992 and IBM mainframes before that. After years of developing applications using RPG, CL, and PHP, he managed IT development and IT for power protection manufacturer Tripp Lite. Mike joined Zend Technologies (now Rogue Wave Software) as a solutions consultant working with the IBM sales team in 2008 and enjoys helping IBM i customers explore PHP as a state of the art solution for application modernization. In addition to several roles as a volunteer with COMMON, the premier IBM midrange user group, Mike also teaches PHP classes part time at Moraine Valley Community College in suburban Chicago.

    About Mike Pavlak

    Mike Pavlak has been working with IBM midrange solutions since 1992 and IBM mainframes before that. After years of developing applications using RPG, CL, and PHP, he managed IT development and IT for power protection manufacturer Tripp Lite. Mike joined Zend Technologies (now Rogue Wave Software) as a solutions consultant working with the IBM sales team in 2008 and enjoys helping IBM i customers explore PHP as a state of the art solution for application modernization. In addition to several roles as a volunteer with COMMON, the premier IBM midrange user group, Mike also teaches PHP classes part time at Moraine Valley Community College in suburban Chicago.

    • http://www.hire-php-developers.co.uk Web developer

      The performance of the application is very important. Every developer is trying to improve the performance of the application to increase the number of users. But it is not an easy task. They need to understand all the aspects that can effect the performance of the app.

    • shaun heatheridge

      My latest unit ( http://www.spectra.com/netapp/used-system/181/index.htm ) serves me really well. As I am looking initally on the performance side and compatibility.