IT Jungle:

Setting Up A PHP/Web Environment On System i: Where Do I Start?

Check out for a plethora of IBM i articles by Brian Kelly and other leading IBM i authors.

This is the first in a series of four articles by Brian Kelly on PHP.

Hey, Brian:

Our company has been following your sometimes promising, sometimes depressing, articles and responses regarding a natural modern interface to the System i and RPG. If IBM wants to build these interfaces for its other platforms, that's fine too, but I don't really care about those--at least right now. Though I would like the "Good Brian" to be correct in his opinion of the IBM reorganization (see IBM's Reorg: The Good Me or the Bad Me?), what I have seen from IBM leads me to believe that the "Bad Brian" got this one right. Since I am not sure to whom at IT Jungle to write my questions on this topic, and since your articles inspired the thought behind these questions, I am writing to you. I hope the "Good Brian" can give me some guidance.

Quite frankly, our shop has had enough of the RPG limitations. It is a great business language that cannot deliver a modern look and feel to those applications that we would like to share with our clients on the Web. In frustration, we are now taking the first steps to move to an industry standard methodology that can provide the right look and feel. Right now, we are so upset that we feel that if this leads us from the System i in the future, then so be it.

Everywhere I look, and now even at IBM, I keep seeing the three letters "P-H-P". It doesn't seem to be getting the negatives that Java got almost from day one. Brian, suppose we want to move our new application efforts to PHP or something better (if there is something better), or even a combination of approaches. Where do we go? Where do we start? How do we get this set up on our System i? How much does it cost? What else do we need? What do we need to learn besides PHP?

And after you hopefully answer these questions, I have one more. This question has something to do with that "dream machine for System" notion that you wrote about in The Four Hundred, Saving the System i: Fight Pervasive with Pervasive. Is there a way that I can set up a cheap Linux server or even a Windows server or a desktop client so that I don't have to mess with my production system to develop and test PHP applications? Any help you give will be appreciated immensely.


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