BCD’s WebSmart PHP Goes GA
November 11, 2007 Alex Woodie
This month marks the official launch of WebSmart PHP, a new variant of the WebSmart development environment from Business Computer Design Int’l that’s intended to make development of PHP applications easy and intuitive for System i programmers. For a license fee of about $4,000, System i developers can have their PHP generated for them, while they bone up on PHP functions by reading BCD’s extensive documentation.
WebSmart PHP speeds PHP development by using a series of templates and wizards to guide users through the development process, and providing users with detailed descriptions of 5,000 PHP functions, including “instellisense” prompting. As the tool generates PHP code for basic application components, the thinking goes, users get up-to-speed with PHP faster, and become productive in the language at a faster rate than if they were hand-coding.
The development environment requires core PHP components from Zend be installed on the workstation. Those components generate PHP code that can be executed on i5/OS, Linux, Unix, and Windows machines, and access DB2/400 and MySQL databases.
Not since BCD shipped a version of WebSmart several years back that generated Java servlets has BCD’s development environment targeted platforms other than the System i. However, the WebSmart Java Servlet Edition (JSE) was not particularly well-received by a market that was not widely enamored with Java. BCD firmly believes that the new PHP version will be much more warmly received, thanks in large part to the strong showing PHP has made during its first couple of years on the platform.
The delivery of WebSmart PHP follows about 15 months of development work, including a four-month beta test this summer that attracted more than 100 System i developers, according to BCD, which announced WebSmart PHP at the Spring COMMON Conference in Anaheim, California.
One of the beta testers was Bob Anderson, the IT director at Kent Sporting Goods in New London, Ohio. Anderson, who had previous experience with the CGI-generating version of WebSmart and with Zend’s development tools, found WebSmart PHP easy to use and intuitive, according to a BCD press release. “The templates, the 5,000-plus organized PHP scripts, and other features that BCD has included are perfectly designed for rapid application development. And, it generates great code,” Anderson says.
Pricing for WebSmart PHP starts at $4,250 for two developer seats, with additional seats priced at $1,950. A site license for a single System i server and an unlimited number of developers can be purchased for $13,500. With every paid license for WebSmart PHP, BCD is including free copies of SmartCharts, its tool for creating graphical, Flash-based key performance indicators (KPIs), and for Nexus Portal, its Web portal framework.
BCD is also including WebSmart PHP in a bundle that includes SmartCharts, Nexus Portal, Clover Query, its business intelligence reporting solution, and Catapult, its System i spool file distribution utility. This entire bundle can be licensed for a single partition with a promotion price ranging form $14,500 to $26,500. BCD has also revived its competitive upgrade program to try and lure System i users who are using other System i Web development or modernization tools.
BCD has also released a new white paper on WebSmart PHP written by Duncan Kenzie, who co-led the development of the product. The white paper, which is titled “Rapidly Deliver Web Applications on System i with WebSmart PHP,” takes a look at the reasons behind PHP’s momentum and compares and contrasts the viability of WebSmart PHP as a Web development methodology compared to other alternatives for the platform.
Interested parties can download the white paper and sign-up for a BCD-sponsored Webcast taking place today at 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time at www.bcdsoftware.com/wsphp.