How to Find Everything and Anything About IBM i
IBM i expert Dawn May gives a complete roundup of IBM i resources.
By Dawn May08/05/2019
There is a lot of information available on IBM i - the challenge is how to find what you need. One of my very first blogs, Navigating IBM i’s Documentation Web, took a look at IBM i documentation. Quite a bit has changed over the past 10 years.
First of all, when looking for information, an Internet search is your friend. Whether you use Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo (my current favorite), Yahoo!, or some other search engine, if you don’t know where to start, a search is generally a good place. All the search engines I’ve used are good at finding documentation when IBM iis part of the search string. For example, if you do a search for IBM i blogs the results are pretty good. You may get some general results for IBM, but in my experience, the results are for IBM i. If I’m looking for information from decades past, I may search on iSeries, but I never search on AS/400.
IBM i Resources
In addition to searches, there are several key websites you should bookmark if you have not already done so.
IBM i Website
The main IBM i product website is where you will find IBM i marketing information. It has high-level information on the most recent features and benefits, along with links to web pages for many technologies.
IBM i Knowledge Center
The IBM i Knowledge Center is the formal documentation repository for each release. IBM updates the Knowledge Center once or twice a year, so it may not have the most recent documentation for the newest technology refreshes or add-function PTFs.
IBM i on developerWorks
The IBM ideveloperWorks site is where the latest and greatest technical enhancements are documented, with numerous pages of information on selected IBM components and products, as well as technical articles. The IBM i Technical Resources Roadmap is a great starting point for knowing where to get more information. The IBM i Technology Updates page is the starting point to find detailed information on the latest enhancements delivered with technology refreshes or features added with PTFs.
IBM i Wiki
IBM put this wiki page together many years ago. Over time it became outdated, but earlier this year I made some revisions and linked to all the important content I could find. This wiki page is simply a collection of links to IBM i related information for IBM i components, products, blogs, other wikis, support information, user groups, and more.
If you know of additional wikis, blogs, or other important links that should be added to this IBM i Wiki, let me know and I will update the page. While this is a Wiki and you should be able to edit it directly when logged in with your IBM ID, that is not the case. Due to spam issues, IBM restricted who can edit the wikis on developerWorks. I highly encourage you to consider this wiki as a starting point for finding additional information related to IBM i.
Redbooks, Redpapers and Technotes are great technical resources. They’re generally focused on a specific topic and cover conceptual as well as task-oriented documentation. That is, Redbooks not only tell you howto do something, but also describe whyyou want to do something. Redbooks are produced only for a small set of topics that IBM i supports. On the main Redbooks page, if you take the IT Infrastructure dropdown, you will find IBM Power Systems; from there is a link for “IBM i,” which is just another way to search the Redbooks site for “IBM i.”
Over the last few years IBM has changed its support web presence. The main support page can take you to product documentation, allows you to open a service request, find and download fixes with Fix Central, and helps with downloading product software with ESS.
IBM used to have a centralized interface to what they called the software knowledge base. As far as I can tell, this is gone. An Internet search is now the only way to find helpful support tips. You can try searching the support site, but my opinion is an Internet search gives better (and faster) results.
The support Planning page is where you can find planning statements from IBM so you can be aware of potential future changes and prepare for them.
TechDocs is a repository of technical tips written by IBMers. The blog IBM TechDocs is still relevant on this topic.
Power Systems Technical Webinars
This webinar series is filled with useful information, not only for IBM i, for but other Power Systems topics as well. The web site lists the upcoming webinars as well as information on past sessions where you can access replays or presentation PDFs.
COMMON is also an excellent source for educational information. There are two in-person events - the annual POWERUpconference and the Fall Conference, where you can learn directly from leading IBM i experts. But COMMON offers much more than the in-person events. There are free POWER casts and virtual conferences, there is an extensive online web cast library that is free for members, and there are in-depth boot camps. COMMON is offering a discounted membership for the remainder of 2019, so this is a great chance to join if you are not already a member.
i Can Blog of Blogs
Need help finding older ‘i Can’ blogs? I maintain a “blog of blogs” that is simply a list of blog titles, with the newest blogs at the top of the list. You can use the page Find… feature to search for text within the page to easily find blogs of interest. If you want a quick way to review all the titles, this wiki page is the place to do so. My website, dawnmayi.com, is also a good way to get there.
Dawn May is an IBM i consultant. She owns Dawn May Consulting, LLC in the Greater Boston area. Dawn is a former IBM senior technical staff member.