Oct 14

Slight problem after upgrade process ran on Zend Server.

I have been re-testing the i5 toolkit results we had seen and wanted to make sure I had the latest Zend Server version so I ran the upgrade process for the Zend Server (uses the support tool provided on the ZENDSVR/ZSMENU). After the upgrade had completed I came across a problem I had seen posted on the Zend Forums. The problem is the following message is sent from the EASYCOM for PHP server to the QSYSOPR message queue.

EASYCOM for PHP – The PHP Toolkit for IBM i – For Support & Updates
Register at http://www.easycom-aura.com , or contact
info@easycom-aura.com

Unfortunately this message is now sent every time a new user connects to the web pages and sometimes after the same user reconnects. In the post on the Zend Forums the original poster was instructed to restart the Zend and Easycom Server processes which resolved the problem for him. I did this but in doing so came across another issue, the Zend Server would not start up! A quick review of the joblog for the server showed the following message

40 10/14/11 07:16:49.788236 QZSRAPR QHTTPSVR *STMT QZSRCORE
From module . . . . . . . . : QZSRSNDM
From procedure . . . . . . : sendMessageToJobLog_CCSID
Statement . . . . . . . . . : 27
To module . . . . . . . . . : HTTP_CONFI
To procedure . . . . . . . : process_resource_config_nofnmatch
Statement . . . . . . . . . : 53
Message . . . . : Error occurred opening file.
Cause . . . . . : An error occurred when attempting to open file
/www/zendsvr/conf/httpd.conf. As a result, the HTTP server did not start
The error number received was: 3401. Recovery . . . : If the error num
is a value other than 0, determine the meaning of the error number and
perform the appropriate recovery for that error. Correct the errors and

I had not changed the config file and when I looked at the content everything looked the same as it did before? However, when I looked closer I found the owner was QSECOFR not QTMHHTTP. That was strange because I never use the QSECOFR profile except when doing an install that requires it? I am not sure (and as I do not subscribe to the Zend Support I cannot post a ticket to find out) if the update process set the ownership to QSECOFR? However the fix was very easy, I simply changed the owner back to QTMHHTTP which also set the authorities correctly.

The servers then restarted OK, I also restarted the Easycom Server as this could be the source of the problem. Unfortunately it has not resolved the messages issue and I have sent off a request to Aura Equipments to take a look. As soon as I get an answer back I will post the results. if you come across the problem with the Zend Server not starting hopefully the above information will help you get up and running again. Not sure what the fix for the message problem is until I hear back from Aura Equipments.

Chris…

Oct 03

New version Zend Studio for IBM i

Zend have just announced a new version of Zend Studio called Flash Builder for PHP. The existing Zend Studio will continue to be free for IBM i users as well as the initial 1 year support, but the new version will be chargeable. There are 2 versions available Premium and standard, it appears the only differences are the Network Monitor and testing tools which are available in the Premium version as far as we can see, but that may encompass a lot more functionality? The Published upgrade price from Zend Studio for the Standard Version is $249 while the Premium Version carries a price tag of $699. Non IBM i users paid $249 for Zend Studio originally so it looks like you will just pay for the use of the new product as other users did anyhow.

It does say the Zend Studio will continue to be available, but no mention if the product will continue to be enhanced that I could see. I am also not sure if the new version will have a maintenance fee for support as you are paying for the software now but if it does it is probably going to be around the same as the existing Zend Studio maintenance cost.

Chris…

Oct 03

Zend announces the future path for Easycom and XMLSERVICE

Zend has made an announcement on their ZendServer forum about the new XMLSERVICE release date and the way forward for existing Easycom i5 toolkit users. Basically they intend to leave the Easycom server untouched in future Zend upgrades, this means the i5_toolkit functions will remain intact but will not be updated or improved in line with the Easycom functions shipped from Aura Equipments. They have also said the current XMLSERVICE which is Beta should be released as Generally Available by the end of the year. One item which caught our eye was the admission that the current version is not as good as it could be.

I read a few blog posts and articles that said “bad things” about this new toolkit. People were saying it is slow, buggy, etc. Is this true?
As with most beta releases of software, there is always room for improvement. Based upon the excellent feedback we receive Zend and IBM continue to make improvements in this software. With the combined efforts of IBM and Zend we expect the GA release of the new toolkit to be solid, reliable and fast.

I do not think we have said anything bad, just that it is not as good as they say it is?

If you are using Easycom based i5 toolkit functions you have a number of choices, stay with the Zend implementation which will continue to work but have no support and not be updated by the Zend update process, migrate all of the existing code you have to use the new toolkit functions or pick up the Easycom Server directly from Aura or one of its partners.

Sticking with the Zend implementation has many problems, firstly because Zend no longer support it you can expect no support from them or Aura Equipments. If Aura Equipments updates the toolkit you will not have any ability to upgrade to the latest level. If the i5 toolkit functions stops working because of changes to the Zend implementation you will not have anyone to turn to for support either.

Migrating all of your existing code to use the new XMLSERVICE may be an option but depending on your code base may be a significant task. Currently the XMLSERVICE does not support all of the functionality the i5 toolkit does so a full migration may not be possible. The XMLSERVICE is only provided by IBM/ZEND it is not maintained or supported by IBM as it is open source and the code is expected to be updated and maintained by the users of the code. I am sure they will offer some support but they will not necessarily provide fixes for problems. The upside is you can take the code and make it your own, the downside to that is you are then responsible to maintain it.

The last option is to move to the Easycom Server fully, this will provide you with proper support, future upgrades to the toolkit functions plus a set of functions that have been running for a number of years in many customers. I am pretty sure Aura Equipments and its partners are going to be better at providing solid support than we have seen from Zend for the i5 toolkit . Maybe we will see additional features which enhance the IBM i web experience even more. The server can be installed and run with no changes to the existing Zend Server set up, it requires no migration activity to carry out.

If you are interested in discussing a move to the fully supported Easycom server please give us a call, we are sure you will be happier with the cost and level of support we offer.

Chris…