Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Looking back at 2008:

This has really been a crazy year. Probably the first year I truly felt I couldn’t keep up with everything that was happening around me (in a good sense). Not because of the depression in the market but rather because many different aspects of our business, community and eco-system have accelerated. Amidst these changes I have also taken on additional roles at Zend to help drive the next phases of our multi-year strategy.

For Zend this has been an important year in delivering on our long term strategy and plan. The PHP Collaboration project which we announced at the end of 2005 has really come to fruition and delivered on its promise including:

- Zend Framework: This year we have had three major releases of Zend Framework, 10 million downloads since inception, two new partners w/ Adobe Systems and Dojo (SitePen) joining as contributors, and many more contributors joining the project. We are very proud that significant content in each release of ZF was not driven by Zend but rather the community. Zend Framework also has driven more opportunity to Zend with both small and large customers unfortunately it is not easy to get the largest ones to agree to being named in public; suffice to say that Enterprise adoption has significantly accelerated. Also we are seeing the next-generation of PHP applications emerging built on Zend Framework including Magento, PHPProjekt and others; some already public and some not, but both driving value to our users and opportunity for Zend and our partners.

- PDT: The 2nd open-source project we launched with the PHP Collaboration Project is the PHP Development Tools (PDT) open-source project at the Eclipse Foundation. This project also has been a great success for us. It has been consistently ranked in the top 2 most popular projects at the Eclipse Foundation which is not only impressive by itself but especially so as Eclipse has traditionally been more focused at the Java community.

On the commercial product side it has also been exciting. We launched Zend Studio for Eclipse 6.0 in January 2008 which builds on top of PDT and delivers a fully fledged IDE for professional developers on the Eclipse framework. We followed with 6.1 in September adding better support for ZF, Ajax and SQL.

On the application server side we released Zend Platform 3.6 w/ enhanced support for page caching esp. URL-based schemes which is critical for framework based applications, enhanced our support for monitoring and root cause, and delivered a variety of additional enhancements. Our reliable PHP offering, Zend Core, which delivers a fully-supported PHP offering including hot fixes to keep PHP up-to-date with the latest critical issues, also saw several releases including version 2.5. And all this not only in the standard packages on Linux and other OSes but also on the IBM i (AS/400) where we drove additional innovation including a 5250 bridge which enables IBM i shops to modernize and move to the Web extremely quickly while retaining the flexibility of working with a language like PHP.

What’s coming up in 2009?

The economic reality drives opportunity for companies like Zend as our solution and eco-system deliver a low-cost and high-quality alternative to Java and other more expensive solutions. While spending has tightened our experience during the dot-com bust was that ultimately it increased the opportunity for Zend. The world back then shifted from an almost de-facto standard stack of Sun, Weblogic and Oracle to embracing Linux, PHP and MySQL. With the large Java vendors already struggling to resurrect their relevance in the Web application space I believe the current economic climate can only accelerate the market opportunity for us.

2008 was an important year for us. Not only did we finish delivering on the first part of our long-term strategy but spent a good part of the year driving a strong roadmap for 2009. The foundation for this roadmap is to leverage what we have achieved so far and deliver a fully integrated and mature solution for professional PHP shops. Some key goals include:

- Continue contributing to the open-source projects which we use as a basis for our solution including PHP, Zend Framework and PDT and help drive ubiquity in the Web market.

- An increasing emphasis on service and quality. This means more frequent releases, more frequent hot fixes, more opportunity for our users to contribute to the process and a preference to reduce the support matrix to enable more focus on the most common setups.

- Simplicity: We want it to be easy to get up and running with Zend, both on the development and the production side. We are putting a big emphasis on making the whole adoption of our solution easier and more straightforward.

On the application server side we have an exciting roadmap which again leverages the investments we have made thus far. We will be focusing at simplicity, streamlining deployment, performance management and delivering a supported and up-to-date PHP. We have spent the past year working on integrating some of our key goals on the application server side and are looking forward to delivering it to market in 2009. As we will roll out a lot of this work we also continue to have a strong feature roadmap for the year on delivering additional value with at least one very cool innovation cooking in the garage. We are also on the look-out for PHP 5.3 and have already made preparations to pick-up and support this major new version when it goes GA.

On the development tools side we have a strong roadmap for Zend Studio for Eclipse. We will be building this roadmap on PDT 2.0 which the team released two days ago (congrats!). PDT 2.0 brings a new source editing experience to PHP developers with a new robust platform and with many new features. It also has more than 500 issues fixed. We believe the time we are investing in PDT will serve us well when we continue to drive innovation around Zend Studio for Eclipse. We have also announced that we will be joining the Galileo simultaneous release ( which will provide better synchronization between the various projects in Eclipse and the PDT project and ultimately will deliver more value to our Zend Studio for Eclipse customers. This also puts PHP in the list of leading top languages that provide “Eclipse Aligned” packages (currently these are Java, Java EE and C++).

Not only does our roadmap hold a lot of opportunity for our partners but we’ve been working throughout the 2nd half of 2008 to continue driving various partner initiatives. We are fortunate to have strong partnerships from small ISVs and SIs to larger corporations like Adobe, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. We continue to drive joint community contributions, product integrations, customer successes and other initiatives with our partners which will continue to strengthen and roll-out throughout 2009.

If you’ve made it this far I’d like to close by thanking all of our community, customers, partners, and employees for not only making 2008 an enjoyable year but for also supporting us towards rolling out a successful 2009.

Happy New Year!