Zend Peers Deep into Your Code with Z-Ray
August 19, 2014 Alex Woodie
Do you ever wish you had X-ray goggles to see what’s going on inside your applications? Something that cuts through the clutter and highlights bad code pronto? The folks at Zend Technologies are including something like that in the latest release of Zend Server. The company calls it Z-Ray and, if the claims are accurate, it may actually make debugging fun.
According to Zend, the new Z-Ray feature “gives unprecedented, in-context visibility inside apps by showing in real time exactly what happens to construct each page.” The software, which Zend announced last month in the version 7 release of Zend Server for IBM i and other Zend Server editions, is designed to help developers detect issues faster, collaborate with operations staff, and ultimately write better code.
“Using Zend Server Z-Ray is akin to wearing X-ray goggles, effortlessly giving developers deep insight into how their code is running as they are developing it–all without having to change any of their habits or workflow,” Zeev Suraski, CTO and co-founder of Zend, says in a press release.
This is not the first release of Zend Server that seeks to sooth the intersection of developers and operations folk. In fact, Zend bolstered its “DevOps” chops with the last major release a year ago, version 6, which allowed developers to peer through the Berlin-like wall that typically surrounds production systems and allows propeller-heads to see whatâ€™s going on with the apps they wrote (albeit only in “read only” mode).
The new Z-Ray functionality takes that concept a bit further. According to Zend’s Z-Ray Web page, the feature can be accessed from any compatible IDE, and displays live and detailed information about requests being made to the Web server in real time.
This information is delivered via a Web component that loads in your browser and includes details about PHP functions, SQL queries, request variables, errors and warnings, server events, memory use, and performance metrics.
Zend says PHP coders are singing praise for the new feature. “Z-Ray is a game-changer for me,” says James Titcumb, development manager at Protected.co.uk. “It makes all the important information immediately available for me, like function call lists, errors/logs etc. It really helps that it shows the proportions of execution time used by PHP/DB/IO/Network, and how memory is used. It provides a great summary of what is going on when a page is requested.”
Zend Server 7 is available now in Windows and Linux versions, as well as the IBM i version. The IBM i version now supports IBM i version 7.2. IBM i shops who are using the free version of Zend Server that comes with each copy of IBM i (and which is good for a year) will need to upgrade to one of the paid editions of Zend Server to get the Z-Ray function, the company tells IT Jungle.