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!


  1. My wishlist for 2009 or 2010:

    - Ever take a non-Debian system and try to get the very latest PHP5 going on it, complete with gd libraries, SQL drivers, xml drivers, etc.? It's a complete pain to have to do a build like that.

    - I don't prefer things that require me to install them with PEAR or PECL. It's impossible on a shared host for my clients.

    - Zend Framework is the strangest API I've ever seen and the devs using it or creating it need to get over themselves. I mean, case in point is the ZF stuff for cookies. I could do those routines far better and with a more intuitive API. Next is ZF Forms API, which makes your website look like it was drawn up in 1990 and doesn't take in the whole concept of Web 2.0 with jQuery and AJAX. Even the MVC part of ZF is strange and one can do it far easier in their own few lines of code. Just slap together an .htaccess rewrite hook to index.php as your front controller, parse and dispatch calls to your page controllers, make the page controllers call model classes to do the meat of the work, and then send them on to a constant-based template as your view. Take it a step further and throw in OutletORM, or make your own ORM based on concepts derived from Outlet, and you are set for 100mph web development. If you need any other helper classes, just pilfer through CodeIgniter's (use the beta) library folder or get snippets from the web. Pleeeeeeze -- the ZF guys need to get over themselves in a real hurry.

    - What we need are tools to improve development time beyond just an ORM and an MVC. We need CRUD scaffolding generators we run against our databases to automatically make a percentage of our admin pages to administer a website, and then we flesh out the rest. We need a jQuery-based rich editor that does an even better job than TinyMCE and without all the quirks. We need a minimal CMS system that people actually want to use and has a small learning curve, a cropper/resizer tool for websites that we can stick next to file input fields for image uploads, a forum just like FluxBB but based on sound MVC and ORM principles, and a fork of the minimal CMS system that gives us a minimal product catalog.

  2. Thanks for the great post Andy.

  3. To the list wisher:

    PHP5 is simple to get going on RHEL/CentOs and the like. I'm not sure what distribution made you pull your hair out but I'm sorry to hear it.

    I also agree that PEAR and PECL shouldn't be mandatory and that's why I like Zend Framework - it stands alone. At least, any classes I've used have not needed support from non-standard extensions, and in fact many go through pains to work with whatever facilities are available in the hosting environment.

    I also agree that Zend Framework is not the best choice if your aim is just to roll out dozens of cookie-cutter CMS sites, blogs, shopping carts, etc. There are far easier tools available with far less wheel to reinvent. Or even Symfony or Cake, if it's really scaffolding and code generation tools that you need.

    Yourthird paragraph is the most confusing because you call Zend MVC "strange" and proceed to describe how it should work, but this is in fact how it does work. The only difference that I can see is that you want to put what ZF calls "action" code in your models, which ZF discourages but certainly doesn't bar you from doing.

    Also, If you don't like Zend_Form, don't use it. We don't. Same with Zend_Db_Select - just because you can invent fluid interfaces to assemble HTML forms and SQL statements doesn't mean it should always be done.

  4. Great post Andy, keep up the great Zend works!.
    But what i miss (and that's something i'm missing for some time now) is what Zend is going to do with the old Editor (Zend Studio). Not everybody likes the eclipse based IDE and Zend made a statement that they also keep supporting/developing the old IDE. But in practice.....

    So any news on that would be welcome!

  5. I do agree that a ZF-based, Zend or community-supported CMS would be great.
    It would make learning ZF easier, and yes it would allow for cookie-cutter sites, but how is that bad ?

  6. Andi, when can we expect PDT2 based version of ZSE?

  7. Mr. wishlist: installing php will those options with ports on FreeBSD is a breeze. You'll need to be more specific.

    Also, I too still prefer the old Zend Studio to the new ZSE. Support for the old version was very mediocre when ZSE wasn't around yet (very few releases in the 5.x series and the latest, 5.5.1, is still quite buggy in some areas) but now there's nothing noticable going on there anymore. Not really surprising because Eclipse is of course a very robust and extensible platform to build on, but after trying to get used to it several times and following different migration tutorials I keep reverting back to ZS 5.5.1, Eclipse is too confusing and slow.

  8. I am very sad that the full Unicode support still isn't the highest priority of PHP development team. How long must we wait?

  9. The 2009 will be a year of NetBeans PHP. The Czechs are racing toward a best PHP IDE. Watch the upcoming Netbeans 7.0

  10. Thanks for the updates via your blog. Do you know of plans for a PHP variation for Java portlets...? About another issue, I have recently developed a free PHP course... and would be very glad for feedbacks.

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