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Zend Server 2018: PHP 7.2 Support & Framework Comparison

New Release Supports 80+ Extensions w/ Competition from Symfony, Laravel, CakePHP, & CodeIgniter

The latest release of Zend Server 2018 shipped this month with new support for PHP 7.2 on websites. The main advantage of the Zend Server 2018 package is a suite of integrated developer tools for PHP programmers. Currently, Zend Server's position as the industry-leading PHP web programming standard for software development is being challenged by other companies such as Symfony, Laravel, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, & the Yii PHP framework. Zend Server offers the ability to run PHP-FPM (FastCGI Process Manager) on Linux for some speed & hardware efficiency advantages at scale. This feature is common in many shared Linux hosting platforms running CentOS & CloudLinux with cPanel to multiple users. One of the main PHP development tools packaged with Zend Server 2018 is Z-Ray, which allows PHP programmers to debug pages in the web/mobile application construction process. Z-Ray has CMS-specific plug-ins for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, & Magento developers to assist PHP programmers in writing better modules. Zend Server 2018 includes some upgrade to the Memcached, OPcache, Page Cache, & Zend Data Cache extensions for PHP websites. The Zend Server administration also includes improved support for rolling updates of PHP packages to web servers in data centers or elastic cloud cluster architecture. Zend Server 2018 runs on top of any operating system, database, or web server software, such as with LAMP/WAMP/LEMP stack layers & version control tools.

New Release Supports 80+ Extensions w/ Competition from Symfony, Laravel, CakePHP, & CodeIgniter

Zend Server 2018: Enterprise PHP for Professional Web/Mobile Application Development

According to Datanyze, who surveys over 35 million websites with platform analytics tracking over 10,000 software scripts, Zend Server has less than a .01% market share as a web server installation base internationally. This would make Zend Server about as common or popular as the JBoss platform for running Apache Tomcat servers. This suggests that the $240 per server annual license is cost prohibitive for any solution except for custom PHP programming companies or enterprise data centers to use. However, the Zend Framework is ubiquitous in the web hosting industry and can be found as part of the server stack in many popular PaaS cloud plans for retail users. These plans will not include the Z-Ray analytics software for PHP programming. In contrast, the Zend Framework has been installed over 280 million times on web servers as a free package for PHP platform management on web servers. Shared hosting users & small businesses receive enterprise-grade PHP web server capabilities for free with the Zend Framework package, which installs in seconds.

Systems administrators can either use a complete web server stack from Zend with Z-Ray & annual licensing fees or install the free Zend Framework package for PHP support on other LAMP/WAMP/LEMP stacks when provisioning hardware. Other PHP library package distributions & development engines do not challenge the Zend Framework's popularity or installation base in the web hosting industry. These tools compete for position as the most complete platform for advanced PHP programming & software development lifecycle management. The popularity of PHP/MySQL applications in web development means that trillions of dollars in global economic activity runs on PHP solutions via cloud web servers every day. PHP code development engines like Symfony, CakePHP, & CodeIgniter need massive popular uptake in the open source programming community and in enterprise teams in corporations to challenge the brand recognition and market share leadership of the Zend Framework under Rogue Wave Software that is already well established in data centers.

Introducing Zend Server: Enterprise PHP for Web Security at Scale

Summary: Zend Server is an integrated platform for PHP software development in web/mobile applications. Fine tune the PHP extension library to application requirements at the stack level. Use packages to deploy from development to production with central management for PHP libraries & dependencies. Marketplace plugins extend Zend Server through panels. Route plugins extend Zend Server through networking tools. Performance gains with Zend Server improve hardware resource efficiency. Lifecycle management tools assist with debugging errors and monitoring live traffic through dashboard metrics. Z-Ray will track PHP, MySQL, API, & other processing calls for web/mobile applications. Specific extensions exist for WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Laravel, Symfony, etc. module/theme developers. Zend Server includes full support for elastic session web server clustering in SaaS/PaaS application deployment. Learn More.

Z-Ray Overview: A Professional PHP Programming Toolbox

Summary: Multiple debugging tools for PHP functions, MySQL queries, & APIs in web/mobile application development can be replaced with Z-Ray, giving PHP programmers a needed analytics tool for practical work. Execution & memory tracking per process helps to optimize code. Errors & warnings are tracked for PHP. Database queries are tracked, monitored, & available for analytics. All PHP functions are collated into an administration view that can be filtered, while system processing requests can be viewed & monitored in real time. App & Framework specific information from WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Symfony, etc. can be installed through plugins. Debug CMS code direct to IDE from a sandbox environment. Test responsive designs & multiple device views for application displays. Z-Ray can be used both in development & production of PHP applications. Learn More.

Top 5 Alternatives to Zend Server 2018 & Z-Ray for PHP Coders:

Zend Server & Zend Framework build around the open source licensed PHP library for web server installations by including optimized plugins, extensions, & programming utilities for professional devops teams. Although Zend is industry-leading in market share for PHP programming standards, Laravel, Symfony, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, & the Yii Framework are all feature-rich developer platform options that appeal to many coders as better or cheaper alternatives. Look for editor standards, template libraries, code examples, starter-packs, & analytics tools factored over the price for licensing & subscription fees for web server use.

Top 5 Alternatives to Zend Server 2018 & Z-Ray for PHP Coders:

  1. Laravel:

The Laravel ecosystem features Forge for building PHP web servers with disk images & snapshots. Homestead is the development environment for PHP & MySQL that works with Vagrant. Nova is the administration section for configuration settings. Cashier is a billing & ecommerce starter package for coders, while StyleCI assists with CSS requirements. Mix is a more advanced PHP site builder for layout templates. Spark provides boilerplate PHP code for common applications. Lumen is the API accelerator. Statamic is a autonomous CMS platform that is published by Laravel. Horizon is a plugin that enables Redis support in the IDE toolset.

Top 5 Alternatives to Zend Server 2018 & Z-Ray for PHP Coders:

  1. Symfony:

Symfony consists of sets of Components, Bundles, & References that extend PHP development on the platform to support specialized programming features. These include server automation, software pipeline & delivery management, templates for web pages, application code, starter-kits, CMS-specific code, & more. Symfony is used officially by the Drupal, Joomla, & Laravel projects as a PHP build tool, code template system, & software application lifecycle management platform. The Symfony distribution has the most resources and user community to challenge Zend for leadership in the PHP programming & devops tools sectors.

Top 5 Alternatives to Zend Server 2018 & Z-Ray for PHP Coders:

  1. CakePHP:

CakePHP is a PHP 7 scaffolding system that speeds up web/mobile application development as well as helping to make code smaller. This platform is favored by professionals who need to build websites quickly for business clients. Agile teams & outsourcing firms can manage code projects with multiple programmers using the collaboration tools. CakePHP appeals to professional users already familiar with working with the Zend Framework & Symfony in PHP application development. Install & use side by side with other IDEs for code.

Top 5 Alternatives to Zend Server 2018 & Z-Ray for PHP Coders:

  1. CodeIgniter:

CodeIgniter is a lean start-up working on open source foundations and hosting on GitHub for development. These platform tools will appeal to the Linux + PHP independent developers. CodeIgniter challenges the industry leaders by promising better performance and smaller file installation sizes. This is important with loading the smallest overall operating system & server stack in containers. CodeIgniter shows how smaller companies can compete in the PHP developer tools sector & force uptake through the provision of more efficient solutions.

Top 5 Alternatives to Zend Server 2018 & Z-Ray for PHP Coders:

  1. The Yii Framework:

The Yii Framework is another open source challenger that provides full stack server build solutions for PHP with a specialization in NoSQL database support. This platform will appeal to Linux & PHP developers who need light-weight extensibility for new web/mobile apps & cloud solutions. Yii is built according to MVC (Model-View-Controller) architectural patterns as an OOP-based framework. Yii can also be used for open source CMS development according to the requirements of PHP programming teams.

Summary: Use the Zend Framework for Free on any Web Server

The Zend Framework creates an industry-leading, stable, & secure PHP environment on any LAMP, WAMP, or LEMP stack. In comparison, Zend Server 2018 does not offer many additional tools over other free web server packages except for Z-Ray. PHP development platforms like Laravel, Symfony, CakePHP, CodeIgniter, & the Yii Framework challenge the functionality of Z-Ray by providing more tools, libraries, & resources to programmers. Professional PHP development companies will need to have the full suite of Zend Server tools, but otherwise business users can safely implement the free open source versions provided by the Zend Framework in web server stack provisioning & pre-installed on shared web hosting plans.

Conclusion: Using Zend Server with CentOS is one of the most popular data center solutions in shared Linux web hosting across budget hosts running cPanel.