Zend Readies Framework 2.0, Pushes ‘Smart Start’ for IBM i
June 12, 2012 Alex Woodie
Zend Technologies last week released a fourth beta of its new Zend Framework 2.0, which the company expects to be generally available towards the end of the summer. The company is also starting to push Zend Smart Start for IBM i, a training and consulting offering that typically ends with the customer getting its own custom PHP app running on IBM i.
The Zend Smart Start for IBM i program is a consulting engagement designed to get IBM i shops up and running with PHP in very quick fashion. As part of the program, one of Zend’s PHP-on-IBM i experts will provide PHP training and coaching for up to five RPG developers in an online environment.
The Zend consultant will remotely install the Zend for IBM i stack on the customer’s development machine, and instruct them on management tasks. Customers have the option of using the new Zend Server for IBM i stack, or the older Zend Core stack. Installation and training in various other common Zend PHP components, including MySQL (or DBi), PHP Toolkit, 5250 Bridge, Java Bridge, or support for Web services, is provided as needed.
At the end of the two-week program, Smart Start customers have proof of concept (POC) PHP apps running on their IBM i server, and the developers are assured of having a basic understanding of PHP on IBM i. The cost for the program is a flat $20,000.
Zend has offered its Smart Start for IBM i for the last two years, but you might have missed it if you weren’t watching closely. Now, the Cupertino, California, company is starting to focus attention on the program, says Elaine Lennox, Zend’s chief marketing officer.
Lennox sees the Smart Start program gaining steam because so many companies have cut their IT staffs to the bone during the recession, and now need some way to accelerate their Web development efforts, she told IT Jungle during the recent COMMON conference. The fact that Smart Start avoids Java, and gives the IBM i customer something in two weeks that would otherwise take six months, make it a compelling offering, she says.
Meanwhile, deep inside the Zend labs, the company is readying the latest release of the Zend Framework, a key component of the Zend Server stack on various platforms, including IBM i.
The Zend Framework provides a model-view-controller (MVC) foundation upon which to build and run PHP 5-based Web applications. In addition to the core MVC layer, the software provides the building blocks needed to develop and implement Web apps that function in the way we’ve come to expect in this Web 2.0 world, and to do so without a lot of coding on the part of the developer.
“Our plan at this time is to have one last beta towards the end of June 2012, and then begin the release candidate process,” writes Zend Framework chief architect Matthew Weier O’Phinney in a recent blog post. “At this time, the MVC is looking and operating in the way we expect it to for the stable release.”
Beyond the MVC layer, the Zend Framework includes modules for: security and authorization control; database access; session management; data logging; message translation; HTTP client support; search engine support; email integration; date and time manipulation; unit conversion; RSS and Atom feeds; enforcement of data input validation rules; Google App APIs; JSON conversion; REST support; localization capabilities; PDF support; and advanced memory manipulation capabilities, among other features.