Monday, November 17, 2008

Is it that time already? Zend Framework 1.7 is now available for download!

I’m happy to announce that the Zend Framework team, together with the ever-growing and always generous Zend Framework community, has delivered Zend Framework 1.7. Just in time for Adobe MAX!

As I’ve mentioned previously, Adobe and Zend have been working together to make Flex and AIR application development much easier for PHP developers. This announcement marks a significant milestone in those efforts with the production release of the Zend_Amf component in ZF 1.7. Now PHP 5 developers can use the open, binary AMF3 protocol (think of it as ActionScript’s native tongue) as easily as any other server-client protocol in Zend Framework. To maximize compatibility, AMF0 is also supported. With the Dojo Toolkit integration introduced in our last release and the new Zend_Amf component, Zend Framework has become an indispensable tool for RIA development in PHP 5.

Zend_Amf is really just the tip of the iceberg; Zend Framework 1.7 is packed with additional features to make PHP applications richer, easier to develop, and faster. Shipped in our new Extras Library, ZendX_JQuery provides integration with the popular JQuery JavaScript toolkit. The Extras Library has itself been introduced to ship components with the same high quality that you’ve come to expect of Zend Framework components in the Standard Library, but that are not eligible for paid Zend support. The ZF team has focused on two areas for its contributions in 1.7: performance enhancements and support for i5/OS. We have identified and improved bottlenecks in Zend_Loader, Zend_Controller, the server components, and Zend_Search_Lucene. In addition, we have added i5 support to our DB2 adapter while running all ZF unit tests in an i5 environment to make Zend Framework the best PHP framework available for i5, hands down.

There are simply too many new features to list. The following are just highlights - see the README.txt for a full list of new features:
• Dojo Toolkit 1.2.1 Support
• Support for dijit editor in Dojo Toolkit as a form element
• Google Book Search API in Zend_Gdata
• Support for indexing Office Open XML documents in Zend_Search_Lucene, including MS Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
• Numerous i18n enhancements
• Zend_Config_Writer for writing Zend_Config objects out to any stream

First and foremost, I’d like to thank the Zend Framework community for making this release happen. In particular, I’d like to thank our ZF team (Wil Sinclair, Matthew Weier O’Phinney, Alexander Veremyev, and Ralph Schindler). I also like to thank Wade Arnold, the developer of Zend_Amf, and everyone at Adobe who contributed their time to educate developers on this component

We’ve also had more community contributions in this release than ever before, so thanks to the dedicated souls who made sure their contribution made it in to 1.7. There are a lot of people to thank, so you can be sure that I’ve missed someone. I hope to catch you next release.

One last thing, this release comes almost exactly 2 ½ months after the 1.6 release. Not too shabby!

Oh and one last thing. If you're using another PHP framework or have something homegrown we have also packaged the Zend_Amf component separately for your convenience.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Zend_Amf Update...

At ZendCon this year we announced a partnership between Zend and Adobe. The goal of the partnership is to help make it easier for PHP developers to use Flex. Since then there has been a flurry of activity including blog posts and the introduction of Zend_Amf into the main trunk of Zend Framework.

To help get PHP and Zend Framework developers up and running quickly, Kevin Hoyt has created a set of examples of using the new Zend_Amf component and posted them on his blog, in a post titled Lots of Flash, Flex, and Zend, PHP Samples.

"Depending on how you count it, there are somewhere between 13 and 54 different Flash, and/or Flex examples included in the attached archive - that doesn’t even count the different PHP examples (also included)."

Kevin's examples cover:
- Hello AMF
- Hello Text
- Hello XML
- Inline
- Object
- Remoting

It's a post that really gives PHP developers a good starting point and some excellent examples to work from. If you are interested in experimenting with Flex and PHP, you really need to read his post and explore his examples.

To be able to use the examples, you will need a version of Zend Framework that includes Zend_Amf.

Matthew Weier O'Phinney, Software Architect for Zend Framework, recommends checking out the latest version of Zend_Amf from SVN until 1.7 is officially released.

So make sure you grab the latest version from svn or get the final version of Zend Framework 1.7 when it comes out.

For further research on using Adobe Flex and Zend_Amf:
- Lee Brimlow and Matthew Weier O'Phinney's recently presented a webinar titled Using Zend Framework with Flex. (Free registration required)
- has a manual page for Zend_Amf.
- Wade Arnold, the author of Zend_Amf, has several good blog posts on his blog covering Flex and Zend_AMF.

As usual, although I strongly :) recommend using ZF for all your PHP programming, if you just want AMF support for PHP--consistent with the Zend Framework 'use at will' architecture--you can use Zend_Amf standalone without using other parts of Zend Framework.