PHP 7, which was expected to be released this month, according to its timeline, will be the latest version of the PHP programming language and includes features that improve performance, speeding up PHP applications by between 25 percent and 70 percent, among other enhancements and refinements.
The open source developers at Zend have taken a leading role in developing PHP 7, and developers are poised to reap the optimized performance and efficiency benefits. Zend made its announcement at ZendCon 2015, the company’s annual PHP conference, in Las Vegas.
Zend is launching a suite of products specifically crafted to take advantage of the benefits of PHP 7. Zend Server, Zend Studio, and the Zend Professional Services offerings are available for companies that are migrating from PHP 5.4 and earlier, or that are building new applications to capture the power of PHP 7.
“Our team has been working incredibly hard to make PHP 7 satisfy industry expectations of performance and functionality,” said Andi Gutmans, co-founder of Zend, in a statement. “This is the ‘year of PHP’ and we are enjoying a PHP renaissance. The entire PHP ecosystem is evolving so quickly, and the differences between PHP 5.6 and 7.0 are simply staggering. Zend engineers have achieved performance gains ranging from 25 percent to 70 percent on real-world apps — and all from simply upgrading PHP, without having to change a single line of code.”
The technology preview of Zend Server 8.5 adds support for PHP 7, ensuring that companies are able to migrate their applications to realize the performance benefits of PHP 7. As a leading professional PHP distribution offering, Zend Server optimizes productivity, performance, scalability, and reliability of PHP applications. The Zend Server 8.5 preview is available here.
In addition, the new Zend Studio supports PHP 7 with the PHP 7 Express migration assistant. PHP 7 Express helps give developers a precise picture of what needs to be fixed in code to be able to run it smoothly on PHP 7. It scans code for compatibility issues – such as new reserved words and deprecated usages in PHP 7 – and then displays any issue it identifies in a list in a dedicated new view. This view displays what the issue is and then opens the exact corresponding file and line in the project.
Moreover, Zend announced that its PHP experts are available to help companies migrate their applications to PHP 7. The company announced the availability of professional service engagements as well as formal and custom training for PHP 7.
Earlier this month, Rogue Wave Software announced it had acquired Zend to expand its reach into the PHP market.
“This announcement expands Rogue Wave into PHP Web and mobile application development, underscoring our goal to make developers heroes by accelerating their ability to create great code,” said Brian Pierce, CEO of Rogue Wave, at the time of the acquisition. “With the addition of Zend, we now have products that speed C, C++, C#, Java, and PHP development, reflecting how software is created today across languages, platforms, and teams.”
At ZendCon, Zend also announced a release candidate of Expressive, a new PHP Standard Recommendation 7 (PSR-7) project under the Zend Framework umbrella.
Zend Expressive enables developers to write PSR-7 compliant middleware applications for the Web, and includes support for dynamic routing, dependency injection (DI), templating, and error handling. PSR-7, spearheaded by Matthew Weier O’Phinney, lead architect for the Zend Framework, is a framework-agnostic standard for communicating over HTTP. With Expressive, developers implementing PSR-7 can hit the ground running with minimal effort, the company said.
Expressive takes advantage of the move toward using components within the PHP ecosystem. In addition to a number of Zend Framework 3 components, it provides developers a choice of third-party components during initial setup, including request-based routing, dependency injection containers, and templating solutions; developers can also provide their own drop-in replacements through a simple plug-in architecture provided by Expressive. All components are versioned independently, allowing developers to mix and match the solutions that best fit their project needs.
Zend Prepares for PHP 7 With Tailored Products, Services
Developers start off with just the specific components they need while still using other components they may already have in their apps. Components may be updated individually, instead of waiting for full framework releases, providing flexible and convenient maintenance schedules. Expressive is a key step towards an upcoming Zend Framework 3 release, providing a preview of the component-centric, performance, and usability goals of the project. Developers will see immediate performance benefits when writing new applications, Zend said.
“More than simply reusability, Expressive takes components to a new level, allowing you to start as simply as possible and progress to harnessing the full power of the PHP ecosystem,” said Zeev Suraski, Zend CTO and co-founder. “Combined with the power of PSR-7 in Expressive, this is truly a renaissance in PHP.”
Zend also announced that its Z-Ray PHP debugging and productivity solution will be available for preview as a standalone technology designed to work on existing PHP stacks. This new preview of Z-Ray is a standalone version of the Z-Ray technology included within Zend Server.
The Z-Ray provides developers with “X-Ray vision” and application awareness via in-context visibility inside applications, showing exactly what happens to construct each page – from initial coding through final deployment. Z-Ray empowers developers to write and deliver quality code, detect and fix issues earlier, and collaborate with operations staff to resolve production problems faster.
“Zend takes a proactive approach to listening and responding to customer and partner feedback,” Suraski said. “Many customers and partners wanted to see a full version of Z-Ray running independently, separate from Zend Server. “The new Z-Ray standalone version empowers developers to get deep insight into the application code and performance of their existing PHP stack. The result is greater developer productivity and higher quality applications in the end.”
For mobile app debugging, Z-Ray Live! delivers information on requests originating from native mobile clients and API calls. This enables developers to see into the server-side execution of mobile app requests. Also, developers can easily create their own customized view in Z-Ray with the new Z-Ray extensibility API to support any framework or application.
Finally, also at ZendCon, Zend announced that Zend Server 8.5 is now available on Google Cloud Platform. Combining the simplicity of Google Cloud Launcher with the sophistication of Google Cloud Platform, developers now have fast and affordable access to an enterprise-class compute environment for their PHP applications, Zend said.
“Zend Server on Google Cloud Platform will allow PHP developers to produce enterprise-grade applications in the very epicenter of disruption — the cloud,” Gutmans, who also is Rogue Wave’s executive vice president of strategic partnerships, said. “Our work with Google Cloud Platform gives developers the ammunition they need to create the quality, forward-looking applications businesses require to thrive.”
Zend Server is available from Google Cloud Launcher, which lets developers easily deploy Zend Server with just a few clicks. First-time users of Google Cloud Platform qualify for up to $300 in credits that they can use toward the first 60 days of cloud usage.
“With Zend Server costing less than $1 per day, the Google Cloud Platform credits can provide a meaningful jump start to developers building business applications,” says Amy Anderson, Zend director of business development, said in a statement.
Zend’s initial offering on Google Cloud Platform is Zend Server 8.5 Developer Edition. Designed to provide the features of a production environment at a developer-friendly price, this edition includes the latest Z-Ray plug-ins and extensions. Version 8.5 features the gallery of community-driven add-ons and brings a new ecosystem around Z-Ray and Zend Server to Google Cloud Platform.