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Zend Technologies has announced the latest version of its open-source framework for PHP, offering improved support for Microsoft and Novell environments.

The changes are part of what Zend called more of a business focus, which encompasses updates to help those building and plumbing web services and enterprise applications into PHP.

The PHP specialist is also due to release the latest edition of its PHP development environment, Zend Studio 7.0, which folds in changes added to the framework.

The Zend Framework 1.9 expands support for LDAP to Microsoft's ActiveDirectory and Novell's eDirectory, to provision and manage systems and authenticate users. Also added is support for message queuing, for use in connecting to Java and .NET servers and online services.

PHP has become the default programming language for web-based applications and is increasingly used in business. Microsoft worked with Zend in the past to improve the performance of PHP running on Windows, rather than see PHP applications deployed on Linux.

Also added in this iteration of the framework are improvements to make automated routing and detection easier in RESTful web services, the ability to consume RSS and Atom using a common API, and there's the ability to perform data set up and teardown unit testing using DBUnit.

"At the end of the day a lot of people are building more and more stuff with PHP, it is really critical to their business and that's where people look for things like Rest, message queuing and LDAP," director of product management Kent Mitchell said.

Zend Framework 1.9 has also been updated to PHP version 5.3 - plus 5.2.

Meanwhile, the Eclipse-based Zend Studio 7.0 features PHP 5.3, and there's point-and-click programming with the ability to specify whether you want a framework like Dojo or AJAX. Zend's IDE will create the framework without you needing to manually specify elements such as controllers and viewers.

Integration with Zend Server to run and manage PHP applications has been improved too. Zend Studio will locate a Zend Server and configure your application, streamlining deployment of this and future PHP applications you build. ®

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