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Zend To Support Mobile First, Cloud First Development


ZendCon is being staged this week in Santa Clara, and this means concrete developments are likely to impact the PHP language. At this year's conference, Zend unveiled an end-to-end approach for cloud-connected mobile application development.

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Zend CEO Andi Gutmans tell the PHP community that the "mobile first" development methodology is being championed from within, and the firm references a Forbes report which suggests that mobile app development projects will outnumber native PC projects by a ratio of 4-to-1.

"Mobile is having a profound impact on the way companies engage their target audience," said Gutmans. "As a result, businesses are applying significant pressure 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.

Composite applications are the rule, says Zend. 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), along 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.

NOTE: PHP is already being chosen extensively for cloud and mobile applications. A recent survey of over 3,000 developers found that 63 percent are already deploying apps to the cloud. In addition, a recent UBM survey of enterprise technology decision-makers found that 60 percent of PHP applications are being developed for business-critical purposes.

Interface design must now be approached with "mobile in mind" from the start, says Zend. This means that 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. OK, so the firm is trying to tell us that touch is important.

"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," said the company.

Zend is certain 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 way."


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