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Exploring Open Source Skills on IBM i

Consultant Erwin Earley describes new exercises to help developers gain open source skills.

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The importance of keeping current on your skills cannot be overstated, and in that regard the team at Perforce has some exciting news. We’re now offering some free hands-on exercises focused on PHP as well as other open source solutions on IBM i. The exercises are designed to be self-paced and provide an introduction to a variety of topics such as implementing CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) applications with PHP against Db2®for i data, working with open source languages including PHP, Python, and Node.js, deploying enterprise-ready productivity applications such as WordPress, Joomla, and phpMyAdmin, and working with the XML Service to integrate ILE objects such as RPG programs into PHP scripts, just to list a few.  
Open-source solutions on IBM i run in the Portable Application Solution Environment (PASE), a *NIX-like environment within IBM i. One of the key aspects of the exercises is you will be working in the PASE environment rather than directly in a 5250 session (in fact, you won't be able to access a 5250 session), so having some familiarity with working in the PASE environment will be beneficial. That being said if PASE is new to you, start out with “Getting Familiar with the PASE Shell Environment”.
The open source programming languages exercises takes advantage of the file system container support available within the PASE environment. The environment that will be setup for you when you register for the exercise will include a container definition into which you will install a variety of packages prior to working with the selected language. If you want to know how the container was built, take a look at the "Setting Up an Open Source Development Environment" exercise which will give you the opportunity to both setup your own container and explore concepts such as package management within the container.
If you’re interested in how the open source environment is setup on IBM i, then register for “Setting up Open Source Support on IBM i”. This exercise, unlike the others, is a read-only exercise that shows the steps for setting up the open source ecosystem – as these steps can only be done once per system. The intention of this exercise is to both show you how the environment was setup as well as provide instructions for you to use if you decide you want to set up the OSS ecosystem on your own system.
For a full list of the available hands-on exercises as well as registration information, check out the IBM i Learning Exercises website.
Within a few days of registering for an exercise, you will receive an email with a variety of information including the self-guided exercise PDF, a getting-started PDF, as well as credential information for access to a public-facing IBM i environment. 
We hope you take advantage of this free offering and more importantly get benefit from the exercises. We are looking to develop additional exercises in the future, such as a deep dive into the XML Service. If you have ideas for exercises you would like to see, feel free to reach out to us at and we will take them under consideration.
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