From early on, Zend Technologies has been a prime driver of PHP in businesses, and its position became even more prominent when IBM, Oracle and Microsoft forged agreements with the company to further PHP platform integration. Earlier this month at its ZendCon conference, the company gave something of a progress report on its various alliances.PHP has been a tremendous success by most measures. It found a niche at the low-end of enterprise Web application development and that niche grew into a massive market. From early on, Zend Technologies has been a prime driver of PHP in businesses, and its position became even more prominent when IBM, Oracle and Microsoft forged agreements with the company to further enable PHP platform integration.
At the conference, Zend discussed combined IBM-Zend single-source support for PHP applications running on DB2 databases. Connection pooling for PHP in Oracle 11 g was announced. Too, Zend announced that its PHP software will run on the Server Core for Windows Server 2008 (a stripped-down version of the full server), availability of a Fast CGI module to speed PHP on Windows and support for the Information Card identity system Microsoft is seeking to deploy more widely.
The larger players are only responding to a fact of life. PHP is entrenched, and often the first choice for Web app building.
The interop deriving out of the Microsoft-Zend alliance to date is related to the Windows platform, not .NET. Andy Gutman, Zend co founder, said the company was looking at .NET. The main focus of Zend effort has just been about the Windows platform itself, he said.
Zend’s PHP thrust is decidedly commercial. Said Gutman: “We are targeting the professional PHP developer.” And that means mixed environments. Zend, said Gutman, is targeting developers that build hybrid applications of Java an PHP.
Of course the real trend Zend is riding is the pendulum to dynamic languages. ”The trend is to dynamic languages and PHP,” said Gutman. “But people don’t want to rewrite their back ends. They are using PHP as a front-end or glue layer.”
Certainly, word of a Zend Studo for Eclipse, a PHP IDE that can plug into the Eclipse framework was a bit of big news from the conference. A pre-release version code-named ‘Neon’ was made available. GA is set for early 2008. - Jack Vaughan