October 25, 2005

The PHP Collaboration Project

Over the course of the last couple of weeks the PHP Collaboration Project has been unveiled. This effort is being supported by many big players in the industry (such as IBM, Oracle, MySQL and Intel among others). So what does this group aim to achieve through this collaboration?

The full description of goals indicate that initially two primary agendas will be pursued. The first is to team up with the Eclipse Foundation to create a new development IDE specifically optimized for PHP developers. While this isn't exactly a new idea, I must say that I would welcome such a standardized tool with the support and weight of most of the industry behind it. Dreamweaver is nice, but it's pricey and not really designed to address my object oriented programming needs like a full IDE could.

The second goal of the PHP Collaboration Project strikes me with less enthusiasm. It calls for the creation of a new framework called the Zend PHP Framework, described as follows:
A Web application framework which standardizes the way PHP applications are built. The Zend PHP Framework accelerates and improves the development and deployment of mission-critical PHP Web applications.
I was under the impression that this framework is already in place...and that it goes by the name PEAR. I guess I'm mistaken. The Zend PHP Framework documentation is rich with words like "simplicity", "clean" and "extensible". In my humble opinion whatever framework they devise will likely be a little clunky until someone gets around to adding namespace support (currently implemented in PAT). Namespaces would likely go a long way towards helping them achieve the organizational goals of this proposed framework.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as if Zend or their partners have released any code yet. Perhaps I'm a bit of a skeptic, but I find it difficult to ignore the coincidence that this collaboration was realized mere months after the EDC reported a significant decline in PHP's adoption and usage. You can almost hear Zend exclaim "Oh snap, PHP kind of sucks for larger enterprise sites and people are starting to notice! We'd better do something!"

Well, they've announced something. Hopefully they'll follow through and help usher in some standardized tools that will continue to make PHP a viable option for web applications.

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