Zend Releases New IDE and Web App Server for PHP

Zend Technologies on Tuesday announced the general availability of a new version of its flagship Web application server for PHP, Zend Server 6, along with version 10 of its Zend Studio integrated development environment (IDE).

Both products were previewed in October at the annual ZendCon developer Conference. Zend CEO Andi Gutmans says their concurrent release emphasizes the level of integration between them. "As the release pace of delivery has accelerated, the lack of streamlining of the development-to-operations process is killing a lot of companies," Gutmans told ADTmag. "People use the term 'devops,' but we really just think about it as the way dev and ops should collaborate. A lot of the value of Zend Server 6 is that it deals with that issue."

Together, the Web server and IDE bridge the gap between dev and ops, Gutmans said, with features aimed at streamlining the process of creating, testing and deploying PHP apps, while advancing the "mobile first" approach to application development Gutmans began talking about last year.

"We're at a point now where the cloud and mobile are putting a lot of extra pressure on companies to deliver faster," he said, "and requirements around application development are changing rapidly. The growth that we've seen has been among companies that are continuing to build their backend systems in Java, but who are also building these new, mobile engagement apps, and so are more open to technologies like PHP."

The two products offer an integrated debug mode, which is designed to allow Zend Server 6 to trigger a debugger session automatically in Zend Studio 10 in response to any incoming request, whether from a mobile emulator or a real device. The IDE also detects local instances of the web server automatically, and includes a one-click, configurable deployment feature that includes an enhanced "development mode" meant to enable app monitoring and automatic "upload on save.

Zend Studio 10 streamlines a number of common workflows and eliminates steps from the development process. It comes with new editing features that support PHP 5.4 syntax, a WYSIWYG editor for faster creation of portable mobile apps, a drag-and-drop web service editor, the ability to create Zend Framework modules with a single click, and the ability to publish apps directly to the Zend Developer Cloud and the Red Hat OpenShift PaaS platform. Zend partnered last year with Red Hat to make Zend Server available on OpenShift. The company also integrated OpenShift's client APIs into Zend Studio.

Zend Studio 10 also comes with latest Zend Framework 1.12.1/2.1.0 packages and PHP 5.3.21/5.4.11 executables.

Simultaneous shipment of the IDE and the server software is "welcome news," says Stephen O'Grady, principal analyst at RedMonk, because each makes the other better.

"As the distinctions between traditional developer and operational roles begin to break down, the tooling needs to reflect that new reality," he said in an e-mail. "The incorporation of operations-type features, then, is well timed."

Zend Technologies is the Cupertino, Calif.-based creator and commercial maintainer of the PHP dynamic scripting language. The company is run by Gutmans and Zeev Suraski, who are key contributors to PHP and the creators of the core PHP scripting engine.

Zend Server 6 is available on-premise or in the cloud, and the company is announcing a free version. This edition is aimed at developers "who would like to take advantage of Zend Server's advanced debugging and performance metrics for development usage."

The free edition comes with a certified PHP stack, PHP profiling and debugging tools, app and server performance charting, tools for app deployment and monitoring, and the ability to manually generate code traces for advanced debugging. The free edition has limited data and metric retention periods, limited production capabilities, and there's no technical support.

A free trial version of Zend Studio 10 is available for download.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].