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A popular open source scripting language has won its second major database backer, following a development deal between Oracle and PHP specialist Zend Technologies.

The database giant is teaming-up with Zend to make it easier and quicker for PHP developers to build and deploy database-driven applications on Oracle.

Zend Core for Oracle, due in the third quarter, will integrate PHP 5 with Oracle Database 10g client libraries, taking Oracle's current level of integration support beyond a PHP extension to the JDeveloper integrated development environment.

Oracle and Zend will work on database integration frameworks and PHP web service standards. Zend, founded in 1990, produces the Zend Engine and a series of PHP extensions that enhance and simplify PHP development, with changes to the language returned to the open source community.

The deal follows a similar agreement between Zend and IBM in February to integrate Zend's PHP environment with IBM's Cloudscape database and to build a native PHP driver for DB2. The outcome is software called Zend Core for IBM.

Like IBM, Oracle aims to increase the appeal of its platform to PHP developers building database-based web application and services, while - like IBM - simultaneously seeing off competition from the open source MySQL database.

PHP is a popular open source alternative to Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) and believed to run 40 per cent of web applications. Big corporate already using PHP include Philips, Air Canada, Lufthansa and Unilever, according to Zend.

Oracle's backing also follows strategic investments in Zend made by Intel Capital and SAP Ventures earlier this year. Intel is also working with Zend to optimize PHP and related technologies for Intel-based PCs and servers. ®

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