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Redmond Among Contributors to Open Source PHP Framework

Zend Technologies releases updated open source framework with support from Microsoft, IBM, Google and others.

Zend Technologies Inc. is forming alliances with key Internet players to broaden the Version 1.5 of the open source Zend Framework (ZF), released last month, adds support for key Google APIs, LDAP authentication, OpenID and Windows CardSpace. Developers using the new version can now work with YouTube upload and write APIs. Other enhancements include better support for forms, AJAX and advanced search capabilities from within the framework with the Apache Lucene search engine, according to Zend.

"Not only are we seeing a very, very broad reach of the framework -- 1.5 is going to be distributed with Ubuntu Linux -- we're actually seeing some significant enterprise uptake," says Andi Gutmans, co-founder and chief technology officer at Zend. He reports more than 4 million downloads, 500,000 of which are unique, since Zend Framework version 1.0's general availability in June 2007. (For more on Zend and the PHP community, see the Q&A with Gutmans, "Glue and Mortar.")

Part of that success may be due to the growing community behind ZF, described as a use-at-will architecture for rapid Web app and services development. According to Zend, more than 400 contributors worked on the upgraded framework, including Microsoft, Nirvanix Inc. and Fox Interactive Media. IBM Corp., Google Inc. and StrikeIron Inc. have been contributors since version 1.0. The Zend Framework is licensed under the new BSD free software license, and code contributors must agree to the Apache Software Foundation's Contributor License Agreement.

Microsoft's Open Identity
"PHP works on the LAMP stack, which is essentially implemented on the Zend Framework, and that's why we made the agreement with Zend," says Vijay Rajagopalan, principal architect of platform and interoperability strategy at Microsoft. "They have a huge developer base for the PHP customers. We felt that it would be very strategic and we could reach out to the grassroots developers if we were to enable InfoCard support with the Zend Framework as well as a standalone module."

Zend and Microsoft started to work together last summer, with the Zend engineers doing the development. "Our contribution is to provide architectural items, and to make sure that the identity metasystem works on a consistent basis," explains Rajagopalan.

In September 2006, Microsoft announced that some InfoCard specifications (WS-*) were going to be made available under its new Open Specification Promise. Soon after the company took steps to ensure cross-platform implementation. "In May 2007," recalls Rajagopalan, "Microsoft sponsored open source projects to enable InfoCard support on PHP for the LAMP stack, Java for Java servers and the Ruby on Rails framework, and a cross-platform C language implementation that will enable information-card support for many Web servers, including IIS and Apache."

Microsoft has also partnered with Zend to ensure that PHP runs smoothly on Windows servers.

Varied Support
ZF supports PHP 5.0. The release of PHP 5.3, which will include some features originally pegged for PHP 6.0, is expected this quarter, according to Gutmans.

As of January, PHP 4.0 is no longer supported. "As far as security fixes are concerned, we're going to continue doing those until August of this year," he says.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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