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Zend Technologies has plugged its PHP web development framework into Amazon's cloud.

On Friday, the company unveiled version 1.8 of its Zend Framework, and for the first time, users can tap directly into the processing and storage resources offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

"We're allowing PHP developers to utilize Zend Framework components in order to interact with Amazon's services," Zend Framework project leader and architect Matthew Weier O’Phinney told The Reg. Developers can access Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) directly from PHP, as if it were a remote file system, adding and removing files via scripts. Plus, they can seamlessly upload, start, and stop server instances on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

"So, you can scale your web application when you need to. If you have a traffic spike, you get a couple more instances running on EC2."

Zend's new EC2 service was driven by a project contributor working for a business already using the framework in tandem with AWS. And O’Phinney said that countless other developers have requested such tight integration with Amazon's fluffy web-based infrastructure.

"We all want to write and deploy the next Twitter or the next Facebook, and the only way you're going to be able to do that is if you're able to off-load some of your computing power from your own servers," O’Phinney said. "Amazon is a great way to get started with that, right off the bat."

Could Amazon handle the next Twitter? You have to wonder.

Zend 1.8 also offers rapid application development (RAD), a means of quickly prototyping web apps. With the framework's RAD-happy Zend_Tool component, developers can build data and process models on the fly, mapping out a web app to suit their particular needs.

The Zend Framework - free and open-source - is available by-itself or as part of the Zend Server, the company's web application server. Zend Server offers a kind of data caching back-end, for off-loading processing duties from the app itself, and as O’Phinney pointed out, this could potentially be used in tandem with Amazon EC2 as well. ®

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