Zend Updates PHP Scripting Language

PHP 5 boasts a new version of the Zend engine, object orientation, enhanced XML processing and Web services support.

Zend Technologies Inc. announced Monday the latest version of the PHP scripting language, a new integrated development environment, a new performance management suite and the formation of a new U.S. headquarters.

Zend, headquartered in Ramat Gan, Israel, announced PHP 5, the biggest upgrade to the language since its development in 1997, said Andi Gutmans, co-founder and vice president of Zend.

Zend 5 includes a new version of the Zend engine, known as Zend Engine II. It also features object orientation, enhanced XML processing and Web services support.

Gutmans said the previous release, PHP 4, came out four years ago and the installed base of users has grown from 1.5 million then to 16 million now.

"The Zend II engine is a complete rewrite of all the object-oriented capabilities in the language," Gutmans said. The new version features exception handling.

"The reason why object-oriented development gets such a big focus is that the more critical the application becomes the more structured the development becomes," Gutmans said. And as PHP becomes more a part of the enterprise, interoperability becomes important, he said.

The XML extensions in PHP 5 were rewritten to use the GNOME Projects XML and Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations libraries. The new version includes a new module, MySQLi, for database support, as well as SQLite, an embedded database.

In a statement, Adam Bosworth, senior vice president of engineering at BEA Systems Inc., said, "The inclusion of advanced XML processing and Web services functionalities represents a great leap forward for PHP."

Meanwhile, Zend introduced Zend Studio 3.5, a new version of the PHP integrated development environment that delivers new collaboration features, as well as coding shortcuts and performance enhancements.

The Studio product is "a professional PHP development environment, with everything from development debugging and deployment tools," Gutmans said.

Gutmans also said Zend has established its U.S. headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and has raised $8 million in funding from venture capitalists.

In addition, Zend announced the Zend Performance Suite 4.0, a performance management solution for optimizing the performance of PHP solutions, Gutmans said.


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