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Zend Technologies Poised to Profit from PHP Success

Feb 23, 2000, 21:57 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dwight Johnson)

Zend will offer commercial support and value-added products to the exploding PHP user base

By Dwight Johnson

Founded in Tel Aviv in October 1999 by PHP core developers Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, the mission of Zend Technologies is to promote the open-source, server-side PHP scripting language by providing commercial support and state-of-the-art tools.

Zend Technologies is developing products that will increase the performance of PHP as well as the productivity of the PHP developer. They will soon be launching a Web site (www.zend.com) and will both present and exhibit at ApacheCon 2000 in Orlando, Florida, March 8-10, 2000.

Zend hopes to profit from the ongoing explosion in adoptions of PHP for Web site development -- usage has quadrupled in the past twelve months alone to over 1.4 million sites. It is currently estimated that over one-fourth of the Apache Web servers deployed are running PHP.

The advantages of PHP are many. Compared to other interpreted languages (e.g., Perl), PHP is easier to learn, faster and uses fewer system resources. PHP always executes on the Web server and is typically compiled into Apache. PHP is rapidly becoming the open-source language of choice for developing dynamic Web pages.

Sites using PHP include Red Hat Software, E*Trade, Mitsubishi Motors, First USA Bank (source: PHP3: Programming Browser-based Applications, McGraw-Hill, 2000) and, of course, LinuxToday.com.

First created by Rasmus Lerdorf as a simple Perl script, PHP has evolved into a powerful language and attracted top-flight programmers to contribute to its development, including Zend Technologies founders Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans who have become core developers.

Gutmans and Suraski have already developed the open-source Zend Engine, a basic, general-purpose scripting engine to drive PHP. The Zend Engine has been offered under an open-source license for the past seven months, and is largely responsible for the rapidly increasing use of PHP for building dynamic Web pages in ecommerce and ebusiness applications.

Now, the Zend Engine has become the kernel for PHP version 4.0. PHP version 4.0 Beta 4 was just released on Monday, February 21, 2000.

The PHP 4.0 Beta series is the product of many months of intense development by the PHP group and is downwards-compatible with and a complete rewrite of PHP 3.0. According to the developers, PHP 4.0 offers drastic improvements in every aspect -- performance, scalability, features, platform support and extendibility. But the most significant change in PHP 4.0 is the integration of the Zend engine, according to the developers. They describe the new version as "blazing fast". For more information on the PHP 4.0 Beta, see the announcement page.