Zend targets mobile and cloud with new PHP tools

Zend logoAt ZendCon, Zend's developer conference in Santa Clara today, Zend CEO Andi Gutmans unveiled three new products that aim to extend the reach of the PHP scripting language beyond the web, bring it to mobile devices and the cloud. Zend, which has announced a series of partnerships with cloud and platform-as-a-service providers over the past year, is now hoping to take advantage of the demand for rapid mobile app development and cloud back-ends to make PHP an even bigger contender in the enterprise and mobile development world.

In an interview with Ars, Gutmans said that mobile is increasingly the driver for organizations' application development efforts, "and they see cloud as being the enabler of the mobile workload." The tools announced today are focused on rapidly building applications that integrate cloud-based services using PHP and the Zend Framework, rapidly deploying the services required by those applications to the cloud, and giving developers and IT operations staff the ability to monitor and manage those applications across multiple cloud instances once they're deployed.

The first of these tools is Zend Studio 10, the latest version of Zend's integrated development environment for PHP. Zend Studio 10 incorporates the mobile development capabilities of PhoneGap (drawn under Apache license from the Cordova project) and JQuery to turn the IDE into a drag-and-drop mobile application creation tool.

Zend выпустила инструменты для мобильных приложений на PHP

"You can take the context from your application, back-end systems, and social (networks), and create an application," Gutmans said. PhoneGap can be used to rapidly prototype user front-ends for iOS, BlackBerry OS, Android and Windows Phone, among other mobile operating systems, wiring them to multiple back-end services, including enterprise applications and social media—as well as allowing them to build and deploy services on local servers or in the cloud.

The other components of Zend's grand plan for mobile and cloud PHP domination are the Zend Server Gateway and Zend Server 6. Zend Server Gateway is an API for REST-based cloud services that allows them to be directly integrated as "drag-and-drop" services for Zend Studio application development, providing the integration glue required to handle authentication and data validation.

The latest version of Zend Server adds features that allow for the automation of application deployment to the cloud and better application dashboards to monitor performance across tens or hundreds of cloud instances of an app. It also provides auditing and compliance features that allow operations to give developers visibility into applications so they can do root-cause analysis for application issues without allowing them to change live code directly. "On one hand," said Gutmans, "operations guys can feel they have control and that they are managing the environment, but developers can collaborate with them by having read-only access in production apps to see exactly what's going on."

The new products cap several months worth of cloud moves by Zend, including a partnership with Red Hat to provide the PHP engine for the OpenShift platform-as-a-service offering announced two weeks ago. Zend's own cloud offering, phpcloud.com—a Zend Server-based developer space—came out of limited availability in July. And the Zend Application Fabric, a cloud-based version of Zend Server, has been adopted as part of private and public cloud offerings by IBM, Amazon and Rackspace.

Source: Ars Technica
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