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10/13/2008
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Zend Offers Simplified Ajax Support To PHP Developers

The latest version of the software adds the Dojo Toolkit, enhancing the Zend platform's existing capabilities by adding client-side features that it has tended to lack.

Zend Technologies recently released its upgraded Zend Framework 1.6, a development platform using the open source PHP language for building rich Internet applications.

Zend has added the Dojo Toolkit to the platform, allowing PHP developers to make use of Ajax in their applications for Web-based interactions with end users. The Dojo Toolkit includes various user interface and user interaction components, often referred to as widgets, which make use of JavaScript and Dynamic HTML within a Web page. Widgets allow prompt exchanges between a user action, such as checking a box on a form, and a Web server's response.

Wil Sinclair, manager of the advanced technologies group at Zend, said his company was pleased to be working with the originators of the Dojo Toolkit because they were "cutting-edge guys. Their thinking is similar to ours." The Dojo Toolkit enhances the Zend platform's existing capabilities by adding client-side features that it has tended to lack.

Zend Framework 1.0 came out in July 2007 for rapid development of server applications with PHP. PHP is the popular scripting language or dynamic runtime language that can be used to link a Web application to a database system or other dissimilar resource, tying them together for a functioning Web site.

"We have linked to other toolkits before at a minimum level," said Sinclair. But the integration with Dojo represents a tight integration that allows developers to go to work with Dojo-based Ajax as an "out-of-the-box experience" with the release of Zend Framework 1.6, he said in an interview.

In the past, a PHP developer would have to switch from a PHP application to building a separate user interface in Ajax, being careful that no incompatible parts that might not work together were being created. The Zend Framework irons out many of the idiosyncrasies of the two working together, said Andi Gutmans, Zend's CTO and co-founder.

Integrating the Dojo Toolkit was "one of the top three options for sure" sought by PHP developers, he said.

Zend also announced at its September user group, ZendCon in Santa Clara, Calif., that it will collaborate with Adobe to integrate use of Flex, its rich Internet application technology for building interactive user applications based on the Adobe Flash Player. Flex has been made open source under the Mozilla Public License. Flex offers cross-platform components running in Flash for additional ways to build rich Internet applications, Sinclair said.

Zend said it plans to integrate Adobe's Action Message Format into its platform, which allows high-speed data exchanges between a PHP application running on a server and a user interface built with Flex.

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