Yahoo Acquisition Target Pioneers PHP Framework Use

Right Media's use of the latest Zend Framework may give Yahoo the means to counter Google's dominance in online advertising.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

July 2, 2007

3 Min Read

Right Media, a firm being acquired by Yahoo so that Yahoo may better compete with Google online advertising, developed its intensively used client interface in PHP using Zend Technologies' Framework.

Right Media launched an exchange in 2005 that lets publishers tell advertisers what space they have available to place online banner ads and other forms of Web site advertising. Advertisers can then use various Right Media tools, such as measures of visitor click-through rates or click-to-conversions of a prospective site to seek the best return on their advertising.

Right Media now conducts online auctions of advertising space, with online publishers airing what they have available and advertisers bidding what they're willing to pay. These user interactions have been key to building the success of the Right Media Exchange, said Ed Kozek, VP of product engineering, and their development was speeded up through use of the Zend Framework 1.0, released Monday.

The Right Media Exchange currently hosts 19,000 advertisers and publishers matching up their wares. It conducts 4 billion to 5 billion transactions a day, and during peak activity, 100,000 per second. Yahoo bought 20% of the firm as it expanded the capabilities of its portal exchange in 2006 and is buying the remainder of the company for $680 million. "We delivered the portal in six months and our traffic and customer satisfaction have soared as a result," said Right Media's Kozek in a prepared statement as Zend Framework 1.0 was announced.

The Right Media capabilities may give Yahoo the means to counter Google's dominance in online advertising. If advertisers can project what results they will get from an ad placement, it reduces a key area of uncertainty they face as they make their advertising investments. Microsoft acquired aQuantive for the same purpose.

In an interview, David Weinstein, Right Media's development manager, explained what his development team liked about Zend's PHP framework.

Frameworks in general, such as Interface21's Spring Framework for Java, supply lots of examples of basic functions in code. They can automatically make the connections between a Web application and a target database or supply the underlying plumbing that converts the business logic of an application into functionality ready to serve customers on the Web. The Zend Framework also enforces best practices in PHP programming.

Weinstein said Right Media proceeded quickly with the expanded capabilities of its Exchange because it could employ Zend Framework's capture and management of unit tests. Unit tests apply to new segments of code and check their ability to meet the requirements of the planned application. By capturing and storing the unit tests, developers can retest code as changes or additions are made to it.

"As you go forward, having those unit tests in hand is a great safety mechanism that your [future] changes won't break the code," he said. With the framework's strong unit test controls, "you practically write the test before you write the code," he added, a capability that can speed up a project.

Given the intense, transaction environment of Right Media, it also wanted a commercial company behind the open source code technology it was using. "The biggest factor was the strong enterprise support from Zend and the open source community that's formed around it," Weinstein said.

Zend has posted pictures of the developers who contributed to the framework and publicized the fact that they have all signed the Apache Contributors License, a form that declares what they're submitting is their own work and not subject to intellectual property challenge.

The framework is issued as open source code under the BSD license, allowing commercial products to be built with it without incurring a giveback requirement, as in the GPL.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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