ZendCon kicked off on 17 October in Santa Clara, California. The surprise of the conference was the announcement of the launch of Zend Developer Cloud during Zend’s CEO Andi Gutmans’ opening keynote speech.
Zend Developer Cloud is a free, cloud based environment for developing and deploying PHP applications. It has tools to quickly set up PHP application stacks, including Zend Framework, Joomla, Drupal and WordPress. It includes a code tracing tool and debugging features. Once the application is ready, it can be deployed to any cloud provider supporting the “Zend Application Fabric”, including Amazon and Rackspace. Zend Developer Cloud also supports the ability to take snapshots of instances at any given time that can be shared with other developers. This could be useful for developer collaboration. It is currently available as a “technology preview release”, you can request an early access key here.
The keynote also featured a live demonstration and one of the tools featured during the demonstration was the new Zend Studio 9 beta. It features tight integration with the Zend Developer Cloud, allowing developers to deploy to the cloud instances from within the IDE. Other noteworthy features include Git and Github support build into the IDE which should make a lot of developers very happy. Emphasis was also placed on how the new IDE can be configured to only include modules that developers need, cutting down a lot of the bulk that is a common complaint with Eclipse IDEs.
During the week before the conference, the beta 1 release of Zend Framework was announced. ZendCon 2011 had several talks detailing the internal workings of the new framework. One of the major changes includes extensive use of dependency injection throughout to make it truly extensible. Most of the framework was rewritten to ensure consistency throughout and to harness the full capabilities of PHP 5.3. The architecture was also simplified greatly by introducing event driven programming to the framework. To find out more about ZF2, have a look at the community wiki. Take note that the API will change while still in Beta.