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4/30/2009
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Zend Supports Amazon EC2, Faster PHP Development

Open source Zend Framework 1.8 includes APIs needed to invoke cloud computing and storage services and allows for more rapid application development.

A form of automated assistance for PHP programmers, the Zend Framework has been upgraded to include more support for cloud computing and rapid application development.

PHP is the popular Web scripting language that's been widely adopted for its flexibility and ease of use. The P in the popular open source LAMP stack frequently stands for PHP.

The 1.8 version of Zend Framework, released Friday, includes support for Amazon.com's EC2 cloud computing and S3 storage service, Zeev Suraski, co-founder and CTO of Zend Technologies, said in an interview. The platform includes the APIs needed to invoke such cloud services as starting and stopping instances of the Amazon Machine Image, or virtualized file sets that run in EC2 and the S3 storage service.

The framework encourages more rapid PHP development by establishing the directories needed to build an application according to the standard model-view-controller approach used as a blueprint for many Web applications. The directories are established by making an entry into the command line of the framework's user interface, Suraski said. Zend is working on automating the process further by including directory creation as an automated feature of its Zend Studio graphical development environment, he said.

The framework has been given support for Zend Server, a PHP Web application server introduced three weeks ago. The framework can take advantage of the server's ability to monitor the performance of a running PHP application and do root cause analysis when the application slows or stalls, based, in part, on its server log.

"Problems can be difficult to find. When a query fails, the server will save a lot of context information around that event and help determine how the problem happened," explained Suraski. That information can be used in the framework as a guide for avoiding the problem in the future.

The framework also can make use of the Zend Server's capability to cache program objects and data in memory instead of having to fetch them from the database each time they're used. The 1.8 release includes 200 bug fixes and modifications over the previous release.

The framework is open source code available for free download from the Zend Web site.

The framework is included in Zend Server. The latter is both a free community product and a supported commercial product. "Zend Server Community edition can be used in production, no strings attached," said Suraski, but the company recommends the commercially supported version for production use. Support runs from $1,195 to $3,195 a year.

The framework also is included in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions. It's been downloaded from the Zend site 20 million times since its initial release in July 2007, he said.


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