Google Data Joins PHP Zend Framework

With more than 200,000 downloads in just over a year, the Zend Framework for writing Web applications in PHP has emerged as an enterprise challenger to Java and .NET.

The PHP community hopes that trend continues this week with Zend Framework 0.6, a new version of the platform that features a number of improvements over its predecessors.

Upgrades includes bug fixes and a new authentication module, but Google’s donation of its GData API  for the framework may be the crown jewel.

GData combines both Atom 1.0 and RSS 2.0 XML syndication formats to read and write data to the Web for mashups and other data manipulations. Google currently uses GData in its Google Calendar API, Blogger Data API, Google Base API, Spreadsheets API and Google Code Search API, among others.

With the GData module in place, the PHP Framework can more easily create mashups and better utilize Google components that use GData.

“Google has been working with Zend for over a year now to make this component happen,” Zend co-founder Andi Gutmans told

The GData module is not the first Web services  component added to the Zend Framework; the Framework has featured support for Amazon, Flickr and Yahoo! APIs under the Zend_Service module since version 0.1.1 .

Gutmans explained that Zend Framework 0.6 implements GData in the top level Zend_GData component and not under Zend_Service.

“The Main reason for doing that is because it’s more of a protocol than the other Zend_Service components, which are wrappers for existing services,” Gutmans said.

“Zend_GData is similar to Zend_Feed (and builds on the same code base) and can be best thought of as a bi-directional ATOM implementation. I wouldn’t be surprised if other Web sites start using this protocol at some point.”

Another reason cited by Gutmans for making GData top level is that Zend also distributes Zend_GData on a stand-alone basis and is the official PHP Google Data API.

In a recent blog posting, Gutmans referred to the 0.6 Zend Framework release as an anti-release, mostly because it was first released on a weekend.

Gutmans admitted to that he didn’t have in mind that the Zend Framework isn’t an anti-Java or anti-.NET release.

“That said, no doubt that PHP’s vast popularity is due to its ease-of-use and cross-platform support, which has somewhat taken a toll on Java and .NET,” Gutmans said. “While I think there is room for more than one language or framework in the world of Web development, I am confident that Zend Framework will make PHP even more popular than ever.”

“Since starting the project we have not only seen huge interest from the community but also from large enterprises who are working with PHP or looking to adopt it and require the best development practices that a framework provides.”

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