Zend, Adobe Team to Bring PHP to Rich Internet Apps

At the ZendCon PHP conference, Zend and Adobe announce plans to collaborate to help PHP developers better leverage Adobe's user experience technologies. The two companies will enable PHP developers to make better use of Adobe's Flash and Flex technology.

At the Zend PHP Conference 2008, also known as ZendCon, Zend Technologies and Adobe Systems announced plans to collaborate to make Zend's PHP technologies work better with Adobe's user experience technologies.

At the event being held Sept. 15-18 in Santa Clara, Calif., the two companies said they will collaborate to make Zend's PHP tools play nicely with Adobe's Flex technology for building RIAs (rich Internet applications). Indeed, the two companies will deliver technologies, content and services to make it easy for enterprise developers to build RIAs using Flex on the client and PHP on the server.

One of the core deliverables of this collaboration is to integrate Adobe's AMF (Action Message Format) support into Zend Framework. AMF is an open, binary, high-speed format enabling Adobe Flash Player and Flex-based client applications to better exchange rich media and other data with servers, Adobe officials said.

Flex is Adobe's open-source framework for building and maintaining Web applications that deploy across all major browsers and operating systems using Adobe Flash Player and to the desktop via Adobe AIR, company officials said. Zend Framework is an open-source PHP application framework. AMF support in Zend Framework delivers optimized communication between server-side Zend Framework components and client-side Adobe Flex components. With the Zend/Adobe collaboration, PHP developers will be able to leverage the fast transfer of data between the server and client tiers of their Web applications.

Moreover, Zend and Adobe plan to optimize the experience for developers using their respective development environments -- Zend Studio and Adobe Flex Builder, both of which are built on the open-source Eclipse platform. Zend and Adobe plan to identify and implement cross-product integration points that optimize developer workflow and reduce development time, officials from both companies said.

The two companies have created dedicated areas within their respective developer portals where they will deliver a series of articles, white papers, and online seminars educating developers on best practices for delivering enterprise-ready solutions using PHP, Zend Framework and Zend Platform, together with Adobe Flex, Adobe Flash Player and Adobe AIR. Future product integration plans and technical documentation will be made available there. For more information, please visit Zend Developer Zone at http://devzone.zend.com/tag/Flex and Adobe Developer Connection at http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flex/.

"Since bringing Flex to market, we've seen strong uptake among PHP developers, and we're pleased to be collaborating with Zend and the PHP community to deliver deeper integration and increased productivity," said David Wadhwani, general manager, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. "The collaboration with Zend furthers Adobe's commitment to open technology initiatives. Together, we will enable developers using Flex and Zend Framework to rapidly deliver highly engaging applications to both the browser and the desktop."

Meanwhile, user organizations welcomed the news of the Zend/Adobe collaboration.

"By moving our dealer management system from a desktop application to a Web-based service, we are able to drastically cut the costs of real-time data integration, while expanding our feature set and ability to integrate third party providers," said John Coggeshall, chief technical officer at Automotive Computer Services. "With this radical change to a more centralized Web application for our customers, desktop-like user experience and responsiveness is a key factor for success. The AMF and Flex integration into Zend Framework enables us to more cost-effectively meet these requirements by dramatically reducing latency of service requests, giving our customers the highly responsive application they demand and the rich user experience we expect."

Jason Forgey, senior director of Information Technology at Stream Energy, which delivers energy commodities such as electricity and natural gas to more than 300,000 customers throughout Texas and Georgia, said Stream Energy built one of its new systems with PHP middleware and an API gateway using Web services with an Adobe Flex/Flash front-end and an Oracle database back-end, all using Zend solutions.