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Zend Unveils End-to-End Solution Enabling "Mobile First" Approach to Application Development

New Suite of Offerings Enables Rapid Creation of Cloud-Connected Mobile Applications

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ZendCon 2012, Zend, the PHP Company, today unveiled an end-to-end approach to enable companies and individual developers to create the next generation of cloud-connected mobile applications. On stage today at ZendCon, the largest gathering of the PHP community, Zend CEO Andi Gutmans addressed how Zend will assist enterprises to adopt a "mobile first" approach to their application development.

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"Mobile is having a profound impact on the way companies engage their target audience," said Gutmans. "As a result, businesses are applying significant pressures on development leaders to rethink their mobile approach, and to implement a flexible set of mobile back-end services. Our goal is to deliver the best and most productive approach for development leaders to rapidly meet this requirement for the next generation of mobile applications."

Mobile is Crucial for the Enterprise

The creation of mobile apps is already a top priority for businesses. In the next three years, "mobile app development projects will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1," Forbes reports [1]. With an estimated 7.4 billion mobile devices in the world by 2015 [2], enterprises must also contend with huge internal and external user bases.

Mobile First: The New Standard for Apps

Companies must adopt a "mobile first" strategy that addresses the realities of modern enterprise app development:

  • Composite applications are the rule. Today's apps need to combine the context of an individual (including what only a mobile device knows about its user, such as geographic location), with personalized input from multiple corporate back-end systems (including corporate software that is provided as a cloud service), along with potential information from social platforms. This type of composite architecture with a server-side mobile back-end, and UI on the mobile client side), best lends itself to an API-centric cloud services architecture.
  • Interface design with mobile in mind. User Interface design must now be centered on the sensory and tactile elements of mobile devices, versus focusing on input being primarily through mouse and keyboard. However, supporting the desired client experience on multiple native device environments, from testing to deployment and management, has become increasingly challenging and complex. Many enterprises cannot afford to support the complexity of a plethora of different devices. There are huge benefits to adopting an open web standards based client side interface (Javascript or HTML5), extended to support access to the native device capabilities of a mobile device.
  • Users are an essential part of the design process. A company can't truly refine its mobile user experience until the app is in the hands of its users. It is essential for a company to deliver incremental updates in an agile, highly iterative, yet high-quality fashion. This places even further pressure on already strained relationships between developer and operations teams. Development tooling and application management capabilities that enable real-time insights and collaboration between these teams are essential. For example, when it comes to troubleshooting application issues in real time, companies need application platforms that enable both sides to be looking at the same information.

Cloud and Mobile are Interdependent

It has become clear that the back-end of mobile apps will predominantly run on the cloud due to the nature of composite applications pulling data from multiple sources, the agile development requirements of a mobile first approach, and the elasticity required to meet fluctuating demand caused by the volume of mobile devices.

"We believe the combination of open web technologies on the client (such as JavaScript and HTML5), along with PHP, the most popular language for server-side development in the cloud, can unify and create a leap forward in simplifying mobile application development," said Gutmans. "Zend is delivering the end-to-end tooling, framework components, and runtime and management capabilities to help clients build a new type of cloud–connected mobile application in a simpler and speedier way."

PHP is already being chosen extensively for cloud and mobile applications. A recent survey of over 3,000 developers [3], found that 63 percent are already deploying apps to the cloud. In addition, a recent UBM survey of enterprise technology decision makers [4] found that 60 percent of PHP applications are being developed for business-critical purposes. Rapid speed of development, ease of working in the cloud, fast ramp-up time for new developers, and performance were among the top reasons IT decision makers choose PHP over other languages.

Zend's End-to-End Mobile Application Solution

  • Drag and drop cloud service creation. Zend Studio enables developers to visually assemble complex cloud services (APIs), and connect them to client side code in a simple manner. This visual tooling is built to take advantage of Zend Server Gateway, a new component Zend is releasing in beta form, which provides mobile back-end capabilities including cloud service authentication, filtering, validation and the execution of business logic.
  • Elastic, fault tolerant cloud application platform. A new generation of Zend Server, the #1 commercial PHP application platform, provides a fault-tolerant, scalable environment for the mobile back-end. Zend Server subscribers also receive full support for Zend Server Gateway as part of their subscription. In addition, Zend Server offers visibility across development and operations teams to application performance and errors, streamlining collaboration. Zend Server is supported on many public and private cloud environments including Amazon, RackSpace, VMware, IBM and Red Hat OpenShift. 
  • Simple graphical mobile interface development. A new version of Zend Studio, the leading IDE used by PHP developers, will now include WYSIWYG capabilities that enable a developer to put together mobile application interface prototypes in hours that would have taken days to develop manually. This visual drag-and-drop approach generates standard HTML5 and jQuery Mobile output that can be easily modified and extended. In addition, Zend has tightly integrated Apache Cordova which enables access to native device capabilities and packaging apps once developed for distribution on the various app stores.

"Frustrated by the need to build and test native applications on a per platform and per device basis, many enterprises are revisiting web based, cross-platform alternatives that draw on cloud based services," said Stephen O'Grady, Principal Analyst at RedMonk. "With its mobile capable tools, Zend intends to provide enterprise PHP developers a means to develop next generation mobile applications."

More information on Zend's solutions for mobile development can be found at www.zend.com/mobile.  All three products supporting today's announcement are available immediately in beta versions, and can be downloaded from www.zend.com. Together, Zend Studio 10 http://www.zend.com/en/products/studio/studio-10-beta, Zend Sever 6 http://www.zend.com/en/products/server/server-6-beta, and Zend Server Gateway offer enterprises a turnkey solution for creating mobile apps with open technologies, using the cloud as the mobile back-end.

About Zend Technologies

Zend partners with businesses to rapidly deliver modern apps across mobile and cloud. Founded in 1999, Zend helped establish the PHP language, which today runs more than one-third of the world's Web sites. Today, Zend is the leading provider of software and services for developing, deploying and managing business-critical applications in PHP. Zend's award-winning PHP solutions including Zend Server and Zend Studio are deployed at more than 40,000 companies, including NYSE Euronext, BNP Paribas, Bell Helicopter, France Telecom and other leading brands worldwide. Learn more at www.zend.com.


[1] Forbes, "The Latest Infographics: Mobile Business Statistics for 2012," May 2012. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/markfidelman/2012/05/02/the-latest-infographics-mobile-business-statistics-for-2012/>

[2] EPM Channel, "Mobile Business Statistics for 2012," May 2012. <http://www.epmchannel.com/2012/05/11/mobile-business-statistics-for-2012/>

[3] "Zend Developer Pulse", June 2012.

[4] UBM TechWeb and Zend, "The State of PHP in the Enterprise," June 2012.

SOURCE Zend Technologies

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