WSO2's PHP Play

WSO2, the open-source SOA middleware maker, has joined the growing ranks of PHP supporters with the release of its new Web Services Framework for PHP (WSF/PHP) 2.0.

The company is billing WSF/PHP as the industry's only PHP scripting language library designed to let developers create and consume both SOAP and REST Web services "with the security and reliability required for an enterprise service-oriented architecture (SOA)."

The 2.0 version of WSF/PHP adds expanded REST functionality and new data services to provide developers with a framework for deploying PHP services, which the company's CEO, Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, said will "meet the strict enterprise SOA standards implemented by corporations and governments worldwide."

"We are trying to build is a service-oriented architecture platform that covers all aspects of SOA," Weerawarana, tells ADT. "WSO2 exists to enable heterogeneous SOAs. The reason we are supporting PHP natively is to make it possible for any PHP Web site to connect to any kind of back-end infrastructure, with the full-scale, enterprise-level security and reliability.

"It will also allow enterprises to tap an expansive community of PHP developers with a comprehensive framework for creating both SOAP and REST-style services," he continued. "4It provides this critical bridge between tens of thousands of PHP Web applications and the many enterprise data sources, applications and services driving today's enterprises."

REST and SOAP are the two competing styles of Web services messaging, explains WSO2's director of engineering, Samisa Abeysinghe. SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a lightweight XML-based messaging protocol used to encode the information in request and response messages before sending them over a network. REST (Representational State Transfer) is a collection of architectural principals first outlined in HTTP-spec co-author Roy Thomas Fielding's PhD dissertation. It's a model for Web services and Web apps based solely on HTTP. It assumes that the Web already has everything necessary for Web services, without having to add extra specifications such as SOAP and UDDI. And it relies on HTTP, universal resource indicators (URI) and standardized data formats through XML.

"The key attribute people are looking for in their software and systems is the ability to interoperate," said Abeysinghe. "It's not surprising given the amount of heterogeneous environments there are out there. They want to know that whatever service they implement will work with .NET and Java."

The previous version of WSF/PHP actually provided a REST API, said Abeysinghe, as well as support for SOAP 1.1 and 1.2, WSDL 1.1 and 2.0, and SOAP Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism (MTOM). WSF/PHP 2.0 comes with full support for REST, SOAP, and WS-* specs, and allows a single service to be exposed both as a SOAP-style and as a REST-style service using what Abeysinghe characterizes as "a simple, PHP-friendly programming model."

"We wanted to give the developers who weren't necessarily familiar with all this WS stuff an environment they were familiar with so they could be productive right away," he said.

WSF/PHP 2.0 also provides custom URI mapping for, which the WSO2 execs claim makes it easy and intuitive to map a REST API into PHP when creating a Web service.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company unveiled the new framework at the fourth annual Zend/PHP Conference, underway last week in nearby Santa Clara.

WSO2 was founded three years ago by members of the Apache Software Foundation Web services community, and its flagship SOA platform is based on Apache projects. The platform's foundation technologies consist of a Web services application server based on Apache Axis2, and an enterprise service bus (ESB) based on Apache Synapse. Both are built on the WSO2 Web Services Framework.

WSF/PHP 2.0 is part of a family of Web Services Framework (WSF) products the company developed to support heterogeneous enterprise SOAs. The product family members include: WSF/Ruby, WSF/Perl, WSF/Java, WSF/JavaScript, and WSF/Spring.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at [email protected].