Commercial PHP vendor Zend today took the wraps off a trio of new initiatives designed to enable developers for the new world of mobile and cloud development.
The new Zend Studio 10 IDE provides new visual development options for mobile developers while the update Zend Server 6 and Zend Gateway products provide enhanced cloud capabilities.
"We see cloud really as a must-have for mobile deployment because of the agility that cloud provides," said Andi Gutmans, CEO of Zend.
The Zend philosophy is that the developers will build applications with Zend Studio and then deploy it on Zend Server running in the cloud. Gutmans explained that Zend Server 6 provides new runtime capabilities for cloud scale.
Zend Server is a packed PHP server technology that Zend has been building since 2009.
"Zend Server 6 is not just another version of Zend Server, we have completely re-architected the product," Gutmans said.
The user interface has been overhauled and the focus has now moved to an application centric view. Monitoring, caching and performance rules can now be set on a per-application basis. Gutmans noted that previous versions of Zend Server were server focused.
"If you're running in the cloud, what we're saying with Zend Server 6 is that you shouldn't care if your application is running on one server or on a hundred servers," Gutmans said." All you should care about is if the application is performing and are there any issues."
Zend Server historically has been available in both a full commercial version and a community edition. For the new Zend Server 6, it's not yet entirely clear what will land in the community edition.
"We're focused on getting all the functionality in the product really working well and that's unrelated to what the actual packaging model looks like afterwards," Gutmans said.
The new Zend Server Gateway is an addition to the server platform providing a way for developers to easily connect with cloud-based RESTful services.
"We want to make it really easy to build, authenticate and validate services," Gutmans said. "Then we want to let developers easily connect those services to the client side."
Zend Studio is built on top of the Eclipse PDT (PHP Developer Tools) project that Zend helps to lead. With Zend Studio 10, new visual tooling for mobile development is a key addition.
"We have drag and drop tooling built on jQuery mobile," Gutmans said.
From a deployment perspective, Zend Studio 10 also includes mobile emulators for testing apps. As well, the Apache Cordoba project, which is the basis for Adobe PhoneGap, has been integrated into Zend Studio 10. PhoneGap is a popular tool for deploying mobile apps to multiple mobile platforms.
Going forward, Gutmans noted that Zend Studio 10 and Zend Server 6 releases are currently beta products, that will need to improve with user feedback in the coming months. Gutmans said that the big focus over the next few months and into 2013 will be on further integrating the client side, the cloud service architecture as well as integrating Zend Server 6 with cloud partners.