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Zend PHP 07 Lately, Zend Technologies has worked to put PHP in the enterprise by optimizing its tools for Oracle and IBM databases and middleware.

Today, Zend makes its latest move on the enterprise, by throwing open early code for an up-coming PHP suite based on Eclipse. Zend thinks this will let it integrate with other Eclipse-based Java tools from IBM and Oracle.

Oracle, meanwhile, will try to earn brownie points with the PHP community by releasing a PHP driver for connection pooling with its new 11g database. The driver lets developers build architectures that satisfy the need for speed without bolting on more servers or using client-side caching, Zend said.

Opening its conference and expo, Zend will announce a public beta for Zend Studio for Eclipse, due in the first quarter of 2008. Zend Studio for Eclipse builds on the Eclipse PHP Developer Tools (PDT) project - which it co-developed through Eclipse - by adding management tools missing in the free version of the platform serving lifecycle support, unit testing and profiling.

That functionality will cost $299 per developer, although those with a Zend Studio support contract get the Eclipse-based version of Studio for free.

Why so generous? The Eclipse-based Studio is important for Zend: as well as tapping into IBM and Oracle tools, it adds integration with Zend's own application server and the Zend Framework that launched this year into a crowded framework market of more than 130 AJAX frameworks. Zend wants to establish a critical mass of developers and partners to ensure the long-term survival of its scripting framework.

"The commercial version [Zend Studio for Eclipse] looks at what a business developer needs building critical business applications," Zend co-founder and co-chief technology officer Andy Gutmans told The Register.

By basing its PHP platform on Eclipse, Gutmans believes that - in the long term - Zend can deliver an environment for building applications using PHP and Java.

That's a tall order, given that Java vendors such as Codegear, who are bigger than Zend,are adding scripting to their Java IDEs or rolling out their own scripting tools. Also there's that price, with many developers finding free versions of tools can often meet their needs.

Regardless: "With Eclipse we can now work towards having PHP development and Java development in the same tool and provide real value," Gutmans declared.

Database integration work is an area where Zend could score big over rivals. The only thing better than a good scripting language these days is a fast and lightweight database to store objects and information. Zend's work with IBM and Oracle on the Zend Core will help here. The only problem? MySQL, which scripting developers have been gravitating towards instead of IBM or Oracle. Zend is also a MySQL partner.®

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