We’re happy to announce that we’ve just released a new version of Zend DBi, which introduces MariaDB to the IBM i world for the first time.
MariaDB is a binary drop-in replacement for MySQL and the latest version 10.1 is compatible with MySQL 5.7. Compatible, in a sense that you can migrate your apps from MySQL to MariaDB with minimal to no code changes. Most updates and fixes are introduced on both projects simultaneously. See the following for more information.
The former version of Zend DBi 5.1 was a one-time port of MySQL 5.1, which dates back to 2008. As MySQL continued to evolve over time, IBM i was not introduced to those changes and could not upgrade over new versions of MySQL. With PHP being strongly attached to MySQL technologies, frameworks, and ready systems such as Magento and WordPress, IBM i was growing farther away from those broadly-used PHP applications and frameworks and needed to build other solutions, which were time consuming and costly.
As of today, using Zend DBi 10.1, which is a direct port of MariaDB 10.1, the gap has evaporated, and all PHP applications and frameworks which are designed for MySQL are available to IBM i PHP developers and admins. The old Zend DBi used to be packaged within a Zend Server package. This is changed and Zend DBi is now an independent, open source GPL-licensed program. The installation and updates are done via the IBM i system, since it is now a licensed IBM i program, and packaged as such.
Why should you use the new Zend DBi?
If you’re an IBM i shop, running PHP apps with Zend DBi, migrating to MariaDB would be a smart move to get performance boost and better quality. This could also be a good opportunity for you to start using all those app frameworks that you only heard of before. These are popular, and for good reasons.
If you’re new to PHP, whether to develop new apps or for modernization purposes, no doubt you should skip the former Zend DBi and use the new one right away. Same reasons apply.
Not sure? Use the old and new Zend DBi simultaneously
We’ve been thinking about your concerns since day one, and packaged Zend DBi 10.1 so it can be installed side-by-side with Zend DBi 5.1, for integration, testing, and even application separation – legacy from new.
If you’re interested in the DB2i Storage Engine (which enables the use of DB2 as the database, while using MySQL APIs), you should know that the Storage Engine has not been ported yet to the new Zend DBi. You still have to use the old one for now.
Stay tuned as we plan some interesting webinars for you, helping and directing you while you make the move to the new Zend DBi with MariaDB.