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Zend Core for Oracle Goes GA

Oracle and Zend Technologies began working together in May to develop a PHP 5.0 distribution integrated with the Oracle database client library. The companies this week announced the general availability of Zend Core for Oracle for the IBM AIX, Linux and Solaris operating systems, as well as a beta version for the Windows OS.

The Zend Core for Oracle is a pre-built stack for PHP developers designed to make it easier to create and deploy applications with the Oracle database. Since the beta was released on August 29, more than 1,200 developers have downloaded it, a spokesperson for the two companies says.

PHP Hypertext Preprocessor is one of the most popular open-source, server-side scripting languages; it’s one of the Ps in the LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Python/Perl). Since it was introduced in 1997, PHP made serious inroads into the enterprise. According to a survey by Netcraft, PHP was in use on more than 19 million domains by this April, running most often on Linux-powered Apache Web servers as a compiled Apache module.

Zend Technologies is a PHP toolmaker whose founders—CEO Doron Gerstel, Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski—actually created PHP. According to Gerstel, 20 percent of Zend’s customers were already developing applications using the Oracle database prior to the collaboration.

Oracle already offers PHP support in its products; JDeveloper, for example, comes with an extension for PHP, and the Oracle Application Server supports PHP. According to Richard Rendell, Oracle’s senior VP of product development, the company has worked with Zend for more than 2 years on best practices for PHP developers using Oracle and Zend’s PHP tools, Zend Studio and Zend Platform. Oracle is also participating in the new PHP Data Objects project, Rendell says, which is an open-source initiative that seeks to create a database abstraction extension for the Zend Engine 2 (the heart of PHP 5).

Zend Core for Oracle is designed to deliver an environment that enables developers to get up and running quickly with Zend's supported PHP with an Oracle infrastructure. The product provides an updated PHP OCI8 driver, the interface used by PHP developers to connect with the Oracle DB; GUI-based PHP configuration management; refactored PHP connections to Oracle for reliability and performance; improved connection management; and support for statement caching.

The advent of Linux in the enterprise has played a significant role in the spread of PHP, Andi Gutmans says. “Linux adoption in the enterprise opened the door for other open-source projects,” he said. “Once the CIO lets in one open-source project, he’s made the mental shift. Bringing in another one is going to be much easier.”

But the key factor driving the adoption of PHP, Gutmans says, is its ease of use. “Anyone who has developed in any language before is going to be able to write his PHP first script in a day, become a developer within a week, and an expert within a month,” he said.

Zend is expected to provide support for Zend Core for Oracle via the Zend Network, a service and support system delivering enterprise-quality updates and support to PHP developers. Zend Core for Oracle is also compatible with existing Zend products such as Zend Platform and Zend Studio, the company says.

Oracle offers a downloadable beta version of this product from OTN here. It is also available for download at the Zend site.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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