Easily set up the new, free Community PHP using RPM and YUM on IBM i
It is so exciting to see how many IBM i users are starting to take advantage of the new technology available to transform the look, feel and functionality of IBM i applications. Web technologies are shortening training times for new employees, giving customers real time graphical dashboards, and providing mobile application access.
One of the most popular languages for creating these new capabilities for IBM i has been PHP. Many customers have taken advantage of the supported version of PHP for IBM i available from Zend (now owned by Perforce). Until now, customers had to rely on the Zend PHP package for installing and using PHP on IBM i. But last year, the good people at Zend delivered the “community” version of PHP for IBM i. The great thing about the community version is that it gives customers the option of a free, Open Source version of PHP that can be downloaded and installed using the standard Open Source package managers, YUM and RPM.
YUM and RPM for IBM i were delivered in 2018 by IBM so that IBM i users could take advantage of Open Source products as easily as users of any other platform. These tools dramatically simplify the process of installing Open Source and here’s why: Open Source products are typically hosted online and are being updated constantly by developers in the Open Source community. Oftentimes these updates include important security patches that are critical to protecting your systems. Because of this, it is important that you are always running the current version of your Open Source package.
RPM takes care of this for you. It will automatically download the latest version of your package and install it for you. However, there is another complication. Most Open Source packages have complex dependency trees. That means, you probably will need other Open Source packages installed before you can install the one on which you are focused (eg. PHP). Unfortunately, RPM will only check to see if the prerequisites are installed, it won’t install them for you automatically. That is where YUM comes in. YUM knows all the package dependencies and will automatically initiate the download and installation of the required packages. It’s like ensuring on the IBM i that you have all the tables and views used by a program created before you create the program.
The new community version of PHP means that you can get started with PHP and see how it works for you without committing to license and support fees. Zend has even provided online instructions in how to get started with Community PHP on the IBM i: https://www.zend.com/blog/installing-community-php-ibm-i
If you want all the support and PHP extensions for IBM i created by Zend, you still have the option of signing up for Zend’s enterprise PHP support but now you have a free option as well.
Our Eradani Open Source experts can help you decide if PHP is the right option for you and can help you get Open PHP installed and running on your IBM i. Let us know if we can help!