Zend PHP framework set for Web development

Zend Technologies will offer the 1.0 version of its framework for PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) Web application development, which in pre-release forms has attracted more than 1 million downloads, on Monday.

Zend Framework 1.0 will not be the only PHP development framework around as it will share the scene with frameworks like Cake and Prado. But Zend's is the first framework with support from a corporate entity and relevant contributions from companies like IBM and Google, Zend said.

"It's an application framework for building high-quality Web applications and Web services with PHP," said Andi Gutmans, CTO and co-founder of Zend.

Featured are architectural guidelines, best practices, and reusable components for such functions as authentication, access control, filtering, and session management. Zend is offering its open-source framework for free but sells ancillary support services.

Also featured is support for Web services protocols like RSS, Atom, and REST (Representational State Transfer). Google has contributed its Google Data APIs, enabling Zend users to access Google applications, such as its calendar and spreadsheet. These applications could be included in a mashup, for example, Gutmans said.

IBM contributions to the framework cover such technologies as AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) and search. IBM has used the framework as the basis for QEDwiki project for assembling Web 2.0 applications, Zend said.

Some StrikeIron Web services are exposed in the framework as well.

A port of the Lucene Java search index is included, enabling fine-grained searching on a Web application. PDF documents can be modified and saved in the framework as well. Version 1.0 offers a model-view controller architecture for separating business logic from the presentation layer and boosting application testing capabilities.

Zend's framework represents a good start, said analyst Mark Driver, research vice president at Gartner.

"The only piece that's significantly missing today is the component model to do visualized controls," Driver said. This will be needed to attract programmers familiar with rapid application development techniques and fourth-generation languages, he said.

"The positive aspect [of the framework] is it this is exactly the kind of thing mainstream IT developers are asking for," Driver said. But traditional PHP developers already have been satisfied with what has been available, he said.

Zend Framework presents a broader framework than some of the point solutions for PHP, Driver said. But Zend is a"little late to the market," with its framework, Driver said.

An upcoming version of Zend Framework will add support for Microsoft's CardSpace identity management technology. Microsoft, a Zend partner, is enabling SQL Server to work with the framework.

Zend Framework 1.0 will be accessible here.

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