Hoping to spur its open source development strategies, IBM has announced a deal with Zend Technologies to create what it believes is the first integrated programming solution using the Web-based PHP language. IBM also committed to delivering at least 30 existing software projects to open source developers.
The agreement with Zend calls for the integration of two open source technologies, namely IBM's Cloudscape database and Zend's PHP development environment. The combined technologies will create Zend Core for IBM, which will serve as an "out-of-the-box" PHP development and production environment that allows corporate users to develop, deploy, and manage open source applications.
Officials from both companies also announced they will work jointly to include database integration frameworks and improved PHP Web services standards.
IBM officials hope their endorsement of PHP will serve to drum up support among developers for Cloudscape. They contend that PHP now accounts for more than 40 percent of the overall Web programming language market and about 70 percent of the Unix-based Apache Web platform market.
"As we see now where the PHP community can take 5.0 with its addition of Web services and XML support, it is one more community we want to embrace. It has been successful among professional Web site developers and the SMB market, and as we look at where SOAs and On Demand are going, this gives us one more technology that helps link solutions together," said Rod Smith, IBM vice president in charge of Internet-based emerging technologies.
Some open source developers appeared heartened by the alliance.
"We think having out-of-the-box solutions for database application development and deployment is tremendously significant. We see this partnership as a solid commitment to organizations that have built their business around PHP," said Chris Stephens, lead developer with The Selling Source.
Based on PHP 5.0, Zend Core for IBM integrates the Cloudscape Server, DB2, and adds native support for XML and Web services. This combination could help encourage corporate and third-party developers to gravitate toward the adoption of SOAs (Service-Oriented Architectures), as well as laying down a foundation for database-driven applications and services, IBM officials said.
Zend Core for IBM is expected to be available as a free download sometime during this year's second quarter from DB2 and Cloudscape product sites.
The 30 or so software projects that IBM will contribute to the open source development community will be moved to SourceForge.net. One project includes IBM's Jikes, a Java-based reference compiler that speeds development time, and another is the Life Science Identifier, which helps programmers specializing in health care to build applications for that industry, company officials said.