Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ISVs React (Or Not) to PHP on the System i

The news that PHP will be available on the System i--and for free!--seems to have captured the imagination and interest of many. After all, it's a Java alternative, and we all know how unenthusiastic many iSeries users have been about going down the Java road. The potential is there, many say, for PHP to have a big--even huge--impact on the System i5 line. But there are some issues that need to be dealt with first.
For one thing, there are lots and lots of young and enthusiastic PHP programmers who are devoted to this easy-to-learn and easy-to-use Web scripting language. If you've been hesitating to Web-enable your legacy applications because you can't find or afford the necessary Java or WebSphere resources (both of which tend to send the minds and hearts of many an OS/400 professional sinking), it's not hard to find (and hire) those with PHP experience. And, if you're inclined to grow your own, PHP is far more likely to be accepted by your staff than, say, Java.
The partnership announcement between IBM and Zend Technologies for the System i platform a few weeks ago is leading to a lot of speculation (and some high hopes) about what it all really means to the System i community. Andi Gutman, one of the founders of Zend, posted a note on his weblog on April 14: 'I believe this initiative will have a huge impact on the i5/OS community, which has primarily been offered Java as a way to Web and Web Service enable their platform, but as most of us PHPers know, Java is just too damn hard and takes too much time . . . :' He notes also that Zend will be providing ways to i5/OS users to 'access their existing code-base by creating language bridges, native drivers for accessing DB2/400, and various other bridges to operating system services

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