HELP! Experienced RPG Dev but PHP Ignorant

The place for general PHP questions and hints for PHP on IBM i
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Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:55 am

HELP! Experienced RPG Dev but PHP Ignorant

Post by hern7486 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:46 pm

Hello guys!

I need your help.

I have been working on IBM i (current name, and hope last) for around 15 years now.

Our customer is checking options to replace the limited screen scraper application/client they run today with a real Browse based UI.

Today's UI is client based, demands own server, is 5250 DDS Display file dependent, and cannot do more than what those screens
puts radio button, standard buttos, scroll lists replacing 5250 J/N fields, Function keys and scroll PgUP/Down for subfiles...but otherwise, not much can be

Our natural suggestion is PHP on IBM i of course...we are NOT talking about a big-bang at start but rather getting the new UI running on PHP with
same features and limitations that current and then successively start replacing parts of it which a new an fresh service based UI.

I have been reading about the 5250 Bridge that Zend provides and I cannot really see understand how hard(mostly due to my 0 knowledge in PHP) is to get a 5250 program screen ( "as is" ) up & running on
a browser(buttons to replace Function keys is desirable, and those small detail I mentioned before the current screen scraper provides, it's not much)

I need to know this in order to "push" this decision, of course, if we get a GO, we will bring aboard a PHP qualified resource that help us to set up the Architecture, along with him/her a Web designer.

Some RPG developers will get proper PHP training.

Not sure yet if the best is go procedural first and then OO as the Zend site suggests...not really sure if it is that easy to switch later to OO if you start
procedural...I guess if we build a flexibel and modularised procedural architecture (not repeating same copy+paste stuff folks have done during years in RPG code) it wouldn't be that bad to continue procedural
on PHP...I am just checking what is best, I really keen learning OO but I do also see that not everybody in the group is willing to take that step...not everybody will jump to PHP anyway, RPG will still be the core, but now
in form of's a long way I guess I have time to worry about this later ;-)

So now that I explained my case...Does anyone have any clue how hard is to get a screen-scraper like UI up & running on PHP on IBM i as a start to the transition I explained...I guess is not pain-free but is doesn't need to be better than current but at least stable and not buggy.

Thank you in advance for any input!

Posts: 87
Joined: Thu May 30, 2013 6:12 pm

Re: HELP! Experienced RPG Dev but PHP Ignorant

Post by mark397 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:43 pm

First install ZendServer, then follow these instructions. Once ZendServer is up and running the default server config enables this feature, but you'll want to set it up differently.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:55 am

Re: HELP! Experienced RPG Dev but PHP Ignorant

Post by hern7486 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:33 pm

Thanks a lot for your guidence!
I will proceed as you advice as soon as I get the go to start experimenting.


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