Zend recently announced its plans to rework the middleware framework on which its Web application framework resides to enable developers invoking APIs to build faster applications.
Zend Framework 3, due out in the third quarter, will be based on a lighter weight, high-performance alternative to existing Model-View Controller (MVC) frameworks.
As part of that effort, Zend CEO Andi Gutmans says Apigility API Builder from Zend will be delivered on top of the new middleware stack.
Zend, explains Gutmans, will continue to support the MVC framework for some time to come. But for applications that invoke APIs, Gutmans promises the new middleware stack will provide much higher levels of performance — especially for mobile computing applications built using PHP.
Other attributes of Zend Framework 3 include more reliance on HTTP messages based on the PSR-7 specification and the capability to separate components into individual and versioned projects.
Zend Framework 3 will be optimized for PHP 7, but will also be able to support PHP versions 5.5 and up.
Gutmans says that he expects that the existing version MVC framework will be used alongside Zend Framework 3 for some time to come.
For all the excitement about any number of programming languages, PHP remains the dominant language in use for building Web applications. In fact, Zend claims that its framework is driving 200 million applications and websites that are in use at more than 40,000 companies.
But as the API economy has risen, many PHP applications have not been able to expose APIs in ways that meet higher levels of performance requirements. Moving Apigility to the middleware stack running under Zend Framework 3 will address those issues running on premise or in the cloud, says Gutmans. Zend, for example, just announced an implementation of Zend Server 8 that runs on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. Complementing those capabilities is a Zend Studio 12 IDE that includes support for PHP 5.6, AWS, and the Eclipse 4 Luna development platform.
PHP may not be the first language that comes to mind when thinking about building the latest generation of applications. But perhaps its biggest asset is that hundreds of thousands of developers already know how to use it compared to other languages that may generate a lot more hype. After all, it’s a lot easier to find and hire a PHP programmer than a programmer with almost any other skill set.