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Never-Ending IBM i Learning

Dawn May highlights IBM i information resources, from IBM i Knowledge Center, to IBM Support, to IBM i Developer and more

"i Can" in white against a purple banner with a grid of blue and green shapes

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but I am big on continuous learning. Each day I try to learn something new, usually related to something I’m working on with various clients. Being an obsessive list-maker, I also have lists of subject areas where I want to broaden my knowledge or increase my depth of understanding. The amount of documentation related to IBM i is immense and no one can possibly know everything. We all have our areas of expertise but we all should also have a basic understanding of features beyond that deep expertise.

IBM i Knowledge Center 

When I’m researching new topics or digging deeper into areas where my knowledge is rather basic, I almost always start with an internet search. Generally, the internet searches lead me to the information I need in the IBM i Knowledge Center, which should be well-known by all IBM i professionals. IBM provides the ability to directly search the Knowledge Center, and that is useful as well. 

The Knowledge Center has IBM i documentation going back to the 7.1 release. IBM used to provide documentation back to V5R4, but the older versions appear to have been removed from the list of products to select from. I did manage to find links to 6.1 PDFs and 5.4 PDFs in case you have a need for the older documentation. From time to time, I work with shops using old releases and having links to the documentation for those releases has proven to be very helpful. 

IBM i Technology Updates, IBM Support and More 

The IBM i Technology Updates is another page that should be well-known and visited often. This is the main landing page for the latest information that IBM delivers via the technology refreshes and other enhancements.

There’s a lot of information to be found on the technology updates site; for example, you can find the latest information about New Navigator, visit the Open-Source Technologies page with important links for related open-source information or find the complete list of IBM i Services with the Db2 group PTF levels listed for each supported release. There’s also a link to the SQL Tutor.

The IBM i Developer pages have a wide variety of articles. Whether you’re new to IBM i or experienced, a good starting point is the IBM i Technical Resources Roadmap page. This page has dozens of links to valuable information on many IBM i topics. There’s also the IBM Power Community, IBM i page, which hosts blog posts, discussions and more.

The Archived IBM i Technical Articles page has a list of links to PDFs, provided as-is by IBM, to older articles that were originally on the IBM i developerWorks web site. As IBM deprecated developerWorks in favor of IBM Developer, a lot of this older content disappeared. However, many older articles remain relevant. I’m glad the IBM i team has provided this information. You may want to download the PDFs in case IBM decides to remove these articles. 

My internet searches also lead me to information provided through the IBM Support pages. While not official documentation, IBM Support publishes articles with helpful tips or clarification on topics that may be somewhat vague in the Knowledge Center. Unfortunately, searching the support site cannot filter by product, so you get a lot of unrelated information. I also subscribe to the IBM i Support notifications and from time to time I find interesting information there. When I find helpful information on the IBM Support pages, I generally bookmark them as I often seem to have trouble finding them a second time.

In addition to IBM documentation, you should also be aware of the Power VUG Technical Webinar Series. Webinars are generally offered monthly, and replays are available for all prior sessions.

Internet searches also lead you to other sources of documentation outside of what IBM provides. I have a long list of favorite sites I visit from time to time that are too numerous to list here, but I can tell you that my favorite one is my own i Can Blog of Blogs page; all of my blog posts have links to useful IBM i documentation.
 
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