Zend, Microsoft Launch Updates On New PHP on Azure Partnership

Zend, a provider of PHP development solutions, and Microsoft announced a strategic partnership aimed at transforming developer productivity in the cloud starting with a joint integrated offering of Zend’s transformative Z-Ray technology with Microsoft’s Azure App Service.

Zend Technologies’ Z-Ray is an innovative new technology that gives developers deep insight into how their code is running as they are developing it—all without having to change any of their habits or workflow. It’s a toolbar that displays all the under-the-hood details of a page request, across all the PHP scripts involved in building the page. Z-Ray is injected into the response coming from your PHP app and shown right in front of you, in your browser. With Z-Ray, you can immediately understand the impact of your code changes, enabling you to both improve quality and solve issues long before your code reaches production.

The combination of Z-Ray and Azure App Service delivers productivity and insight to both PHP developers and developers of PHP-based applications such as WordPress, Drupal, Magento, and Joomla, said Andi Gutmans, CEO and co-founder of Zend.

“Microsoft selected our innovative Z-Ray technology as a key differentiator to their cloud offering,” Gutmans said. “We are very impressed to see how Microsoft is able to increase PHP developers’ productivity and enhance their user experience with the tight integration of our technology and their platform.”

Gutmans told eWEEK that Zend is focused on addressing the importance of developers to cloud providers, particularly as more and more development is moving into the cloud.

“Platform vendors are all trying to differentiate themselves in the cloud by trying to provide the best platform for the cloud developer,” he said. “Given that PHP is such a big part of the web world, there has been a lot of interest in PHP over the last year. The strategic partnership between Zend and Microsoft Azure is focused on differentiating the development and runtime experience for the cloud developer on Microsoft Azure. And the focus of this is going to be around the generic PHP developer and developers of some of the popular applications in the PHP space like WordPress, Drupal and Magento. The PHP market is very large and has sub-markets in it.”

Indeed, PHP is one of the most popular programming languages for building Web apps and Websites. Microsoft has long supported PHP on Azure, as the company early on sought to make Azure a platform for polyglot programming by supporting a variety of programming languages and environments including Java, Python, Ruby, .NET and Node.js in addition to PHP.

Moreover, Microsoft has been working with Zend on PHP-related efforts since 2001, Gutmans said.
“We’ve collaborated in the past and Microsoft has made investments in PHP over the years, recognizing the importance of PHP on the web,” he said. “Two things brought this deal about. The first was the more Microsoft invests in Azure and the cloud, the more important it is for them to be heterogeneous and deliver a lot of value and differentiation to the open source market. The natural progression for them was clear and PHP represents a pretty significant chunk of the workloads that today are running on Azure.

One of the catalysts for this partnership was some of the work we’ve been doing around Z-Ray and innovating around the developer experience and making a big impact on productivity and quality for development. They are working in the cloud and looking at ways to accelerate developer adoption. With PHP, there’s really no bigger community to target today outside of what they’re already doing with .NET.”

For his part, Bill Staples, corporate vice president of Microsoft Azure App Service, said in a statement: “We are focused on delivering the best developer experience in the cloud for PHP developers as well as anyone who builds apps using Java, .NET, node.js, Python, and other popular open source frameworks. Z-Ray is a key addition to our App Service offering and our work with Zend also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the open source community.”


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