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Brewing Java, PHP En Masse

The creator of the PHP Web-scripting engine Monday said it has inked a deal to make its technology a major force in one of Sun Microsystems' more popular Java platforms.

Israel-based Zend Technologies Ltd. said it is offering two new products that meshes its technology with the Sun Java System Web Server 6.1, formerly known as Sun ONE Web Server 6.1. One of the more pervasive open-source scripting languages, PHP is currently powering more than 10 million domains worldwide including such sites as Yahoo! and Jupitermedia, the parent company of this Web site. In fact, PHP now accounts for roughly 26 percent of all domains on the Internet.

The idea, say Zend execs, is to make the popular Web server platform into a breeding ground for not only Java, but PHP applications as well.

"This is about making PHP more secure and reliable," Zend Director of Product Marketing Brad Young told internetnews.com. "Historically PHP has been deployed on Apache systems. Now customers can tap into the Solaris platform. From Zend's perspective, it helps with the large vendor endorsement for the need for PHP and PHP products. It's worth pointing out that there are a lot of customer deployments where enterprise PHP is being requested. Now we are able to go after the same customers in such areas as financial services, media, insurance and government sectors in the Fortune 1,000."

Young said already he has one financial customer that is doing vigorous testing. In his words, the company did an audit of a business unit application on the internal environment with some hesitation, but came around as a convert.

"They said PHP is great but it is not coming anywhere near their DMZ [demilitarized zone] because they don't use a Web server that is not the Sun One Web Server for customer facing applications," Young said. "I think we convinced them to make the leap with these products."

Zend is offering two components for the Sun Java System Web Server: a PHP Enabler, which the company says uses a highly optimized FastCGI architecture to blend the reliability of PHP as CGI with the extensibility and efficiency of in-process NSAPI architecture.

The company is also offering its Zend Performance Suite, which provides code acceleration, content caching, and data compression. That way Zend says companies can improve the response time and server load ability of their Web applications.

The synergies between Java and PHP this time around are based on JSR 223, which was submitted back in June by Sun, Zend, Macromedia and Oracle.

The deal is also a boost to Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun, which said earlier this year that it wants to grow from 3 million to 10 million Java developers. Sun's Strategic Marketing, Web Services spokesperson Yvette Montiel said Zend will help its estimated 400,000 to 500,000 PHP developers be able to bring their applications faster courtesy of the popular Java Enterprise offering.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 10 for us," she said. "Companies are getting a big push from developers who are working on PHP applications and want to make it more secure from a Web server demand."

The PHP Enabler component for Sun Java System Web Server is available free of charge, without support. A package including full product support plus the Zend Performance Suite and the PHP enabler is priced starting at $775 per server. Sun said no decisions have been made yet to include the Zend products in future versions of the Java System Web Server.

The Zend products are based on its current version 4x build. The second beta version of PHP 5 would be released sometime in the next ten days. PHP czar Andi Gutmans recently said he hopes the latest version will begin to "build the necessary momentum " that will enable the developers to release new betas more often.

In related news, Zend said it is also working with Adobe to offer its Zend Studio to Adobe GoLive CS customers. The company says the combined platforms will be designed specifically for professional Web developers. The partnership between Zend and Adobe which spans several years and started with the integration of the Zend Debugger, an advanced PHP debugging solution with Adobe GoLive 6.0.

"Adobe GoLive has always been the premiere product for Web designers," Zend co-founder and CEO Doron Gerstel said in a statement. "For over two years, we have worked together to enhance GoLive with the powerful programming capabilities needed for dynamic Web development, powered by PHP. We're proud to work with Adobe to bring together the best design tools coupled with the best programming productivity tool."