Zend: PHP set for enterprise growth

CEO hails Web apps platform, predicts increased opportunities for developers

PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) is moving beyond hobbyist and academic realms and into the enterprise, the CEO of Zend Technologies stressed Tuesday during a keynote presentation at the 2008 Zend/PHP Conference (ZendCon) in Santa Clara, Calif.

Citing a list of enterprise users of the server-side scripting platform, including Kargo Mobile Technology and Shaklee, Zend CEO Harold Goldberg emphasized PHP growth. PHP has "grown up to be a mainstay enterprise language," he said.

PHP is "poised for widespread enterprise adoption," said Goldberg, whose company specializes in PHP tools.

"The community, the market, the partners, the ecosystems have never been better," he said.

Goldberg offered brief PHP user profiles. Kargo, for example, had been using Java but found it could not expand without adding a lot of hardware. The company decided to redo its entire Web site using Zend Framework and now handles 400 percent more capacity, Goldberg said.

Job growth in the enterprise also is on the horizon. In the next five years, 40 percent of PHP jobs will be in the corporate environment, said Goldberg. During the next five to ten years, most business applications will move to a browser, presenting opportunities for PHP, he said. "What we're seeing is more and more people, they're [making] the choice of PHP," said Goldberg.

A PHP developer in attendance vouched for the platform. "I've become a fan of PHP in learning it. I used to do ColdFusion and actually have pretty much now converted to PHP," said David Swim, a senior programmer analyst at a major university using PHP for applications such as e-commerce and summer housing Web sites.

PHP, Swim said, enables him to do exactly what he wants. "In ColdFusion, you are, I think, a little more constrained by using the code their way," Swim said.

Goldberg also presented a proposal for a next-generation LAMP stack, which in addition to Linux, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/PHP/Python, includes technologies such as Windows, IBM DB2, JavaScript, Microsoft SQL Server, VMware, and Dojo AJAX.

"We've gone well beyond LAMP," he said.

Goldberg also suggested renaming Silicon Valley to "Open Source Valley," since it has become home for prominent open source ventures such as SugarCRM and Zend.

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