Simply i › Embedded SQL in a C program on IBM i.

January 21st, 2015 Comments off
Quick post about my experiences and hopefully a guide to others who are starting to look at the possibilities of embedding SQL in C Programs. First note: Not a lot of samples or good tutorials out there. Second note: Remember … Continue reading

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Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise › transition to new server

January 21st, 2015 Comments off

The site, which hosts XMLSERVICE, has been moved to a new server. Till the domain name can be directed to the new server, use this URL:

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Mike's IBM i PHP blog and more... › Developing PHP with Zend Server 8 for IBM i

January 19th, 2015 Comments off

Developing PHP with Zend Server 8 for IBM i


A lot of announcements from Zend last week and most important is the release of Zend Server 8 which includes the updated distribution for IBM i!  Zend Server 8 has quite a few new features you can read up more about on our web site like Z-Ray and URL Contexts.  I would like to focus this discussion here on the latest versions of PHP and installation questions.

The Zend website went through some changes last year and some folks have had trouble finding things.  As always, please do not suffer in silence.  Let us help you.  First question that tends to come up: “Is Zend Server still free?”  And the answer is yes, the Basic Edition comes at no charge via our partnership with IBM.  Now the license to enable the Admin GUI is available through the team at Zend.  So please get in touch with us if you need an updated key after your initial support window has expired.  

The download page has several options including the full install and updates.  If you have Zend Server 5 or lower, you will install Zend Server 8 side-by-side and migrate the applications to the new environment.  If you have Zend Server 6 or later, there is a single PTF to update the server AND PHP version!  Yes, that’s right, you can update the PHP version while updating Zend Server.  Just LODPTF and APYPTF and you’re all set. 
We only support one instance of Zend Server per LPAR so if you’d like to test things out we’d strongly recommend a development LPAR.  If you do not have a development LPAR and we can refer you to some folks who do a GREAT job helping companies implementing these solutions so the production environment remains safe and unchanged until you are ready to move forward.  

Development LPAR?

Folks often ask me: “why do I need a development LPAR when we’ve been running on IBM i and its ancestors for years without a problem?”  For that question I have many responses and I’ll focus on two here.  First you have more workload on your IBM i today than you did even 5 years ago.  I have many customers running their green screen ERP along with EDI, web services, web pages and much more.  So the resources are being taxed and there are more moving parts to worry about than just flipping a library list.  Second, you have more developers on your IBM i today than in previous years.  Again, I run into many IBM i shops with PHP developers who have not grown up on IBM i and are accustomed to having their on sandbox where things can break.   Putting them on a production LPAR can prove disastrous!

IBM has made it much more cost effective to have a development LPAR as of POWER 7 and IBM i 7.1 so if you are in need then now is a great time to look into this feature. 

Read the original at Mike's IBM i PHP blog and more....

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DB2 for i › The Blueprint

January 16th, 2015 Comments off
This post is the result of a recent conversation about the importance of proper data modeling with my long time friend and teammate Dan Cruikshank.

For the readers who are not familiar with Dan, he is the person who invented the concept of database modernization and the methodology to pull it off in a responsible way; one of the many contributions Dan has provided to his appreciative clients around the world. We euphemistically refer to the IBM i database modernization process as "the Dan Plan".

Dan, the blog is yours...


About 15 years ago my wife and I jumped on an opportunity to buy a used home that was in foreclosure. The price was right, the location was fantastic; unfortunately the house was in rough shape.

There was no flooring in the main rooms; several of the walls had holes, who knew what the infrastructure was like.  We were looking at years of reconstruction and possibly 10’s of thousands of dollars in cost.

As we were going through the closets we discovered a set of the original blueprints. Suddenly years of work was now looking like weeks, and at a cost of 1’s of thousands of dollars.

About this same time my career at IBM took on a new slant. I was beginning to see that many of the performance issues I was then dealing with all seemed to be rooted around the same cause – a poor database design. IBM Rochester was launching the new SQE engine, which boasted brand new SQL capabilities that took advantage of the IBM i integrated relational data base "DB2 for i". Unfortunately many of the IBM i heritage customers were still using traditional record level access, let alone having a database that was properly designed for SQL set based access.

“Oh woe is me”, cried those customers who were now faced with a reconstruction nightmare – how to bring their applications and data into the new millennium without taking years of effort or spending millions of dollars on “modernization”. 

“If only we had been more diligent on documenting our applications”, lamented the growing number of CIOs who were now tasked with groveling for more budget dollars. “If only we had a blueprint!” they cried.

Never fear, there is a silver lining in this story. Hidden away, in a secret closet within the Rational suite of development tools, is something called the Data Perspective. The Data Perspective comes with Rational Business Developer, InfoSphere Data Architect and other bundled products; and it is included in the free (yes free) download of IBM Data Studio.

Within the Data Perspective is the Data Design Project tool. Using a Data Design Project, a database engineer can reverse engineer an existing set of tables (or DDS files) into a graphical physical data model, in other words a blueprint! This can be done for an entire schema (library) or for only those core files required to support the business.

But wait, there’s more.

Unlike the pencil drawings of yore, or the collection of shapes in a presentation tool, with a touch of a button the database engineer can generate the SQL Data Definition Language (DDL) statements from the physical data model. And, let me catch my breath, the DDL will be generated no matter if the originating source was DDS or SQL DDL. That is too cool.

And I almost left out the best part – the compare tool.

Imagine if I could have taken those original blueprints of the house, changed them and then pushed a button and my home would magically be transformed to match the blueprint. Not possible with home re-engineering projects but it is available with the Data Perspective. I can compare the graphical model or blueprint to the physical implementation and the tool will generate the appropriate ALTER, DROP and/or CREATE DDL statements, in either direction. I can apply emergency changes to the DB2 for i database and then sync up the model.

Of course having a blueprint is one thing, getting the re-engineering process right is another.

All projects are going to require some boots on the ground. In other words, the developers who have to make the changes. These "engineers" will require a little more detail, especially when ripping apart existing programs to expose the inner workings.

Oh joy, there is another secret closet in the Rational Developer tool box – The Visual Application Diagram maker. This device can take RPG or COBOL code and present it in graphical form. And what’s more, the engineer can click anywhere in the diagram to display the underlying code.
Whether you’re a database engineer or application developer, it is now time for you to take your skills to the next level. If you are not using the Rational tools then acquire them now. If you are using them, then don’t be afraid to explore some of those secret closets.

And if you're afraid of the dark, please reach out, we can provide some hand holding.

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Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise › January newsletter

January 9th, 2015 Comments off

I’ve relaunched my PHP and IBM i newsletter. Here is the January 2015 edition, out today.

To subscribe and receive this free newsletter each month, go here:

Comments welcome. Happy 2015–


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Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise › Learn to combine RPG+PHP at Toronto user group, Jan. 21, 2015

January 4th, 2015 Comments off

I’ve recorded a special message about my upcoming presentations at the Toronto Users Group for Power Systems evening meeting on January 21, 2015:

In the video, I discuss the two sessions I’ll be presenting:

  • Bring RPG/COBOL business logic to the web with the PHP Toolkit
  • PHP Tricks for RPG Developers

Hope you can make it to the Toronto meeting, Jan. 21, 2015, Markham, Ontario. Details:

Read the original at Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise.

Simply i › PASE to the rescue..

January 2nd, 2015 Comments off
I was working with a client over the Holidays looking at an issue where our save processes for the IFS kept failing to get a lock on a couple of IFS objects. The problem meant that the Sync Manager would … Continue reading

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Simply i › First Node.js example

December 22nd, 2014 Comments off
For me one of the main reasons to run Node.js on the IBM i is to access IBM i data and objects. I can already access all of these using PHP today so I wanted to see just how easy … Continue reading

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DB2 for i › Resolve to Gain New Knowledge and Skill

December 18th, 2014 Comments off
As we approach the end of 2014 and look forward to next year, I want to encourage you to take stock of your knowledge and skill as it pertains to DB2 for i and data centric design and programming.

Your value, to employers, clients, partners, and colleagues will diminish over time unless you "sharpen the saw".

To that end, I want to call your attention to a couple public classes we are offering in Rochester, Minnesota (aka: the home office).


DB2 for i Advanced SQL and Data Centric Programming

2015, February 17-19 

Skills taught


DB2 for i SQL Performance Monitoring, Analysis and Tuning

2015, February 24-27 

Skills taught


If you need more detail on what the respective classes cover, or why the knowledge and skill are critical success factors in the world of database engineering, please contact me. And if you want to explore a private and/or customized session, we can assist there as well.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

 ― Abraham Lincoln

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Simply i › Adding the correct Path variables to .profile for Node.js

December 18th, 2014 Comments off
The PASE implementation on IBM i is not the easiest to work with! I just posted about the setting of the environment to allow the Node.js package manager and Node.js to run from any directory (On first installation you have … Continue reading

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