image-blog-zend-server-free-php-for-ibmi
November 5, 2019

Free PHP for IBM i Users

IBM i
Modernization

Community PHP — also known as free PHP — is coming to IBM i. Before getting into the reasons for community PHP for IBM i, and how it compares with the PHP for IBM i in Zend Server, be assured that both Zend by Perforce and IBM continue to support Zend Server as the preeminent choice for developing PHP web applications tied to dynamic content.

What Is Community or Free PHP?

Community or free PHP is the version of the web scripting language that the community maintains. It is independent of any commercial products. And until this year, community PHP for IBM i was not available.

How Is Community PHP Different from the PHP in Zend Server?

As the enterprise PHP server, Zend Server provides the technologies and tools you need to deploy, manage, and support enterprise-grade PHP applications, such as: 

  • Numerous versions of a certified PHP stack. 
  • More than 80 PHP extensions. 
  • A ready-to-go ibm_db2 driver for PHP applications.
  • Support for XMLService through the XML Toolkit.
  • Z-Ray for application profiling, dynamic monitoring, real-time alerting, code tracing, and code auditing.
  • A configured Apache web server.
  • Support for your PHP apps.

If you were to use free PHP from the community on its own, you would need to develop and adopt other open source solutions and services to gain these same capabilities. For more information about what you can accomplish with Zend Server, read the blog, PHP on IBM i — So Much More Thank You Think! 

PHP on IBM i

The popular web scripting language has been available on the platform since 2006 via Zend Server. And many IBM i shops have used Zend Server to deploy a myriad of productivity applications based on the PHP stack, and customized applications that bring Db2 data, ILE artifacts, and existing business logic to the web. 

You may wonder why community PHP is being delivered to the IBM i platform? Simply put, making community PHP for IBM i available supports the increasing use of open source solutions and the rpm/yum ecosystem on the IBM i platform — that started with the release of 5733-OPS (end-of-life announced) and took off with the release of the RPM bootstrap-support in May of 2018.

In addition, PHP is popular among organizations who need to create modern applications that run on their existing IBM i systems. For more information about what's possible with PHP, read the blog, Augmenting Third-Party Solution With PHP-Custom Applications.  

Community or Free PHP Support

As with other open source solutions, when you use PHP from the community, your support comes from public channels such as blogs, forums, and mailing lists.

PHP Support Options Via Zend Server

You can get long-term and enterprise support for PHP by deploying Zend Server Professional or Enterprise Editions. Depending on which edition you choose, your options can range from 2-hour response times 24x7x365 all the way to 2-day response times on business days.     
IBM i customers are also entitled to one year of free support for a basic license of Zend Server. 

Long-Term PHP Support That Goes Beyond the Community

For some certified runtimes in Zend Server, you can get long-term support for a minimum of five years. The five-year timeframe starts with the original release date of the PHP version that’s in the stack. 

Conversely, the community supports PHP releases for three years after their original release dates. However, the first two years include full, active support. And the third year includes security patches only. So, with Zend Server, you get support for two additional years beyond what the community provides. And, Zend long-term support includes bug fixes and security updates throughout the five-year coverage period.

For more information about PHP support options from the community and Zend Server, visit the support service page on this site. 

Take a Few Minutes and Try Both PHP Versions for Free 

Ready to kick the tires of PHP? Register for a free download of the basic license of Zend Server for IBM i and explore it’s easy-to-use PHP tools and certified PHP stack. 

You can also download community PHP on your own. To do this, set up a repository definition and then install PHP with the RPM command.

Either way, you will be on your way to exploring the world’s most popular and used web scripting language.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ZEND SERVER FOR IBM I