15
Sat, Jun
4 New Articles

TechTip: DB2 Access for PHP

Scripting
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

 

Last month, we looked at three ways you can access data files in PHP: mysql_*, mysqli_*, and the PDO API set. But there is one more option. Bet you can’t wait to see what it is.  

One of the primary reasons for involving PHP in our otherwise pure RPG ILE /free world is to allow us to develop apps that have a GUI interface yet access data from our DB2 (or whatever) database.

Database access in PHP is done via an API set that contains the commands necessary to connect to your database (remember, PHP runs on the server while your database is probably local or at the very least not on the same server as PHP is running in) and then access and return the required information to the PHP program.

One of the most commonly used of these API sets is the mysqli_* functions (explored in last month’s TechTip). There is mysql_*, of course, but while that will still work, it has been officially deprecated by the Lords of PHP and so is not cool to use. The problem with mysqli_* is that it only allows access to MySQL databases, and that is a problem for us in the i world because we will probably have our information in DB2 tables. I say DB2 tables, but I’m also including the old DDS files that we have defined. But for brevity, I will just refer to DB2.

The cool way to connect to other databases, including DB2, is by using the PHP Data Objects (PDO) API set, which we discussed in some detail previously. But PDO is not the only way to go, and there are good reasons for considering other options.

There are a number of vendor-specific API sets that can be used instead of PDO (and technically this is where mysqli_* sits) that have been defined to communicate with databases such as Informix, Firebird, Ingres…and DB2. Naturally, IBM is the vendor that developed the DB2 API set, so let’s take a look at what that offers.

A Few Things

First the DB2_* API set does more than access DB2. It also provides access to Cloudscape and Apache Derby. This is actually one product, originally marketed by IBM as Cloudscape but now renamed as Apache Derby. This is an open-source project but is a full relational database management system. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.

Second, ibm_db2 is not an inherent part of PHP. Rather it is a PECL or PHP Extension that may or may not be part of your PHP stack. Fortunately, if you got your PHP from Zend, and I am guessing that most of us have, then if what you downloaded was for the IBM i, not only is ibm_db2 there but it is turned on by default. If you downloaded your PHP for Linux, Windows, or the Mac, then it is there but it is turned off. By going into Zend Server and using the GUI admin function, you can turn it on quite easily. If you got your PHP from Redhat or someone else, then you would have to check.

What It Looks Like

We may all be big code freaks, but the simple fact is that the first thing we generally want to know about a language is not what kind of weirdo things it can do but rather “what it looks like.” Fortunately, the syntax for ibm_db2_* is very similar to that of PDO or even mysql_*.

The best place to go to get familiar with the options available is the PHP.net website. They have a whole section devoted to ibm_db2 and PDO functionality. Just follow the link, and you’ll see.  

So What Should You Use? PDO or ibm_db2?

Finally, it gets down to the real question. We have already seen that mysql_* is deprecated and should not be used. mysqli_* is OK to use, but it only allows you to access MySQL files, and that’s not where most of us live. So it comes to a showdown, a mano a mano confrontation between PDO and ibm_db2_*. And the question becomes, which should you use?

The answer, of course, is it depends. Seriously, did you really think there would be a hard and fast answer here? You did? Oh, that’s so sweet. Did you, like me, spend most of the holidays watching the Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel? I personally recorded every one that has Lacey Chabert in it. (Shrug.) I like her. She’s sweet.

Anyway, depends on what? And the answer to that is, not all that much. Both options are fairly new—that is, PHP 5.0 and above—so they are both still maturing and we can expect growth for both API sets over the next few years. At the same time, both options are quite robust and reliable. Remember, they are APIs, so they both use the same PHP and C underpinnings (PHP is written in C).

Mike Pavlak from Zend feels that he has run into occasional problems with PDO requiring the database it is accessing to be under commitment control, and that may be a problem, especially for those of you who have legacy databases. But I am not sure (and he is not saying) this is enough of a reason to use ibm_db2 over PDO.

In the end, it may depend on who is going to do the coding. If you are using someone who is normally a web programmer, then they will feel more at home with PDO. And the fact is, you probably shouldn’t consider anyone who is not familiar with either PDO or ibm_db2.

So, time will tell for this but, for now, pick either one. I suggest playing craps to see who wins. It’s not scientific, but it will tell you a lot about the people on your team.

 

David Shirey

David Shirey is president of Shirey Consulting Services, providing technical and business consulting services for the IBM i world. Among the services provided are IBM i technical support, including application design and programming services, ERP installation and support, and EDI setup and maintenance. With experience in a wide range of industries (food and beverage to electronics to hard manufacturing to drugs--the legal kind--to medical devices to fulfillment houses) and a wide range of business sizes served (from very large, like Fresh Express, to much smaller, like Labconco), SCS has the knowledge and experience to assist with your technical or business issues. You may contact Dave by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (616) 304-2466.


MC Press books written by David Shirey available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

21st Century RPG: /Free, ILE, and MVC 21st Century RPG: /Free, ILE, and MVC
Boost your productivity, modernize your applications, and upgrade your skills with these powerful coding methods.
List Price $69.95

Now On Sale

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: