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Seiden Group Unveils A PHP Distro For IBM i – IT Jungle

16 min read

January 11, 2021

Alex Woodie

IBM i retailers which can be on the lookout for PHP options on IBM i could also be to know that Seiden Group is now distributing and supporting its personal PHP distribution. Known as CommunityPlus+, the PHP runtime is distributed through RPM, features a slew of parts (together with Db2 database connectors), and is out there with technical help, if desired.

Seiden Group’s free CommunityPlus+ distribution is a PHP runtime for software program written in PHP variations 7.3 and seven.4, with help for PHP 8.0 coming quickly. The software program runs within the IBM i PASE surroundings in 64-bit mode, and features a slew of database drivers, together with ibm_db2, PDO_IBM, ODBC, and PDO_ODBC drivers. It consists of the PHP Toolkit, in addition to mail(), SSH2, LDAP, and Xdebug parts.

The software program is open supply, and binaries for CP+ can be found from an RPM repository maintained by Seiden Group. The distribution is maintained by Seiden Group’s Calvin Buckley, though a number of different Seiden Group staff, together with Alan Seiden himself and Stephanie Rabbani, additionally assist with the work.

Seiden Group has been lively within the PHP on IBM i neighborhood for a few years. The Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey-based firm gives consulting, coaching, customized growth, and help for IBM i retailers working with the scripting language.

With the launch of its PHP migration service final Could, the corporate took a number one function in growing and sustaining the native Db2 for i database connector, ibm_db2, which had fallen into disrepair as IBM and Perforce favored IBM’s new common ODBC driver for PHP that runs equally properly throughout a number of working programs, together with IBM i, Linux, Home windows, and Mac OS.

Contemplating how concerned Seiden Group has been within the PHP on IBM i neighborhood–and particularly, the work that it has completed with sustaining the outdated database drivers–it’s actually not that large of a shock that Alan Seiden, the corporate’s principal, would determine to take the following step and launch a full distribution for PHP on IBM i.

“It’s a formalization of what we’ve been doing,” Seiden tells IT Jungle. “We’ve been supporting PHP formally and informally for a few years, offering experience on it in addition to growing with PHP. However we hadn’t formally constructed it for shoppers.”

The motivation to develop CP+ originated primarily from a need to interchange Zend Server Fundamental, which is disappearing, Seiden says.

“We put in our PHP for some shoppers and had some actually good outcomes, and it inspired us to maintain going. Even some tough extensions, we constructed efficiently,” Seiden says. “In a single repository, you get PHP and all the favored extensions. And we configured the INI information the way in which we usually do in consulting for the most effective consequence. So it’s like getting free consulting – it’s all our information distilled in a really stable, dependable distribution.”

Open Supply

CP+ is constructed from open supply, and the bundle itself is open supply too. Anyone is free to obtain it and apply it to their IBM i servers. The corporate maintains the supply code for CP+ on a non-public GitHub account, and whereas the general public isn’t free to contribute to it, Seiden Group welcomes enter relating to new options, fixes, and many others.

By way of providers, Seiden Group provides a setup service for $995, through which the corporate will put together a buyer’s IBM i server for open supply (together with configuring both the Apache or Nginx Internet server) and set up the CP+ distribution of PHP.

It’s promoting a CP+ technical help subscription that embrace hotfix notifications, proactive checkups, entry to new modules, and entry to the Seiden Group help staff. The concept is to proactively maintain prospects’ CP+ installs working easily quite than fixing issues.

“We’ll be speaking to them recurrently to verify on their programs–with their permission–verify their logs out, be certain that it’s working properly, and allow them to know if they need to get an replace or an improve to PHP,” Seiden says. “We’d quite stop points than must react. I feel it’s good for everyone.”

The corporate additionally provides what Seiden refers to as “name a buddy” help, which he additionally refers to as “developer help,” whereby prospects can get entry to a devoted Slack channel that lets prospects ping Seiden Group representatives with questions on methods to do issues in PHP.

Early Adopters

Seiden Group already has a handful of consumers utilizing CP+, together with Lamps Plus, the Southern California firm that designs, manufactures, and sells lights. Kim Gillette, the mission lead in Lamps Plus IT’s division, says she determined to offer CP+ a strive after working with different distributions.

Alan Seiden is the principal of Seiden Group and an IBM Champion for Energy.

“IBM despatched out their discover that they have been not going to be offering Zend, and we have been utilizing Zend,” Gillette tells IT Jungle. “We all know Alan. Alan’s been on the market for eternally. So in simply speaking with him [and hearing that] he was going to be offering one thing, [we said], let’s have somewhat dialog.”

She reached out to Seiden Group, acquired entry to CP+, and put in it earlier than Thanksgiving. Lamps Plus makes use of PHP to Internet-enable the 5250 screens for the back-office RPG functions that handle provide chain operations, in addition to accounting. The implementation went pretty easily, and the plan was to go dwell with CP+ early this 12 months.

“They make it fairly easy,” Gillette says. “I knew I used to be the guinea pig. I recognized one thing that wanted to be checked out. He didn’t have all of the database drivers in there. When I discovered one for SQL Server – he didn’t understand we have been speaking to a number of programs – they went again to the store, wrote it, put in it, after which every part works. It was very easy. They’ve been very supportive.”

A number of PHP Distros

Seiden’s determination to launch a separate PHP distribution comes after a few years of getting a single main PHP distribution from Zend out there on IBM i. Starting in 2006, IBM helped to seed the marketplace for PHP on IBM i by together with a duplicate of Zend Core for i5/OS as a licensed program product with all new gross sales of System i servers (because the server and OS have been known as again then), in addition to a coupon that gave prospects a full 12 months of paid technical help from Zend.

Nonetheless, the PHP on IBM i scenario has been a bit up within the air for the previous 12 months. The adjustments began in December 2019, when Perforce (which acquired Rogue Wave Software program, which acquired Zend) introduced a brand new Neighborhood PHP model of PHP on IBM i that may very well be distributed and put in utilizing the fashionable RPM and YUM strategies that turn out to be the usual for open supply on the platform beginning in 2018.

Then in Could 2020, IBM introduced that beginning, beginning on June 30, 2020, it could cease together with a duplicate of Zend Server Fundamental, because the free model of PHP for IBM i used to be then known as, with new IBM i servers. And starting July 1, 2021, any commitments for the free 12 months of tech help would formally be over.

Seiden Group initially responded by serving to IBM i retailers transfer to the brand new Neighborhood PHP model. The corporate’s migration service included entry to the ibm-db2 connector that Seiden has resurrected. The Neighborhood PHP distribution solely consists of the newer ODBC driver from IBM, which is lauded for its cross-platform help and efficiency. Nonetheless, with almost a decade-and-a-half of present PHP code working on IBM i, the effort and time required to wire the brand new ODBC driver to work with these present functions may very well be intensive for some prospects, which is why Seiden Group spend a lot money and time to carry the ibm-db2 connector again to life. It now works with PHP 7.3 and seven.4, and due to the barrage of over 100 unit exams that Seiden Group runs on the connector, it is going to seemingly be prepared for PHP 8.0 quickly.

With CP+, Seiden Group formally turns into a software program vendor, which brings a certain quantity of accountability. Seiden says he’s prepared for it.

“We didn’t produce our personal PHP within the distant previous,” he says. “Nonetheless, we progressively moved in that route and realized that basically it was the best factor to do to formalize that and have a bundle that we promise to take care of recurrently.”

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