PHP road map revealed

Performance improvements and security expected from Thursday's 5.2 release

PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) 5.2, the latest version of the popular open source scripting language, is set to be released this Thursday, Zend Technologies Co-Founder Andi Gutmans said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Zend/PHP Conference & Expo , Gutmans said the 5.2 release would have significant performance improvements and a security extension. Also featured is better AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) backing with JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) extensions. Zend is involved in development of the core PHP platform.

"What [the security extension] really focuses on is allowing developers to write secure apps in a much easier fashion by providing tools to do so," Gutmans said.

PHP 6.0 focuses on internationalization and Unicode support. A pre-release of version 6.0 is expected in December with the general release planned for 2007.

Questioned about the differences between PHP and the also-popular Ruby on Rails platform, Gutmans said PHP is more accessible to nonprogrammers than Ruby.

Version 3.0 of Zend Platform, which is Zend's application server platform for PHP, is due out in February or March 2007. It will feature three different servers: a performance server focused on performance, an enterprise server for scalability and clusters, and an integration server dealing with integration issues.

As part of Zend's work to boost Windows-based deployments of PHP applications, Zend plans to release to the PHP community 12 patches to improve performance. Gutmans also said that Phalanger, which is the Microsoft-endorsed implementation of PHP on the .Net framework, was not a component of Tuesday's announcement of better support for PHP on Windows. "It's great that people have choice but it's not the [broad-based] PHP," Gutmans said.

Also at the Zend conference, MySQL revealed that its MySQL database will be distributed with the Zend Core PHP implementation. Additionally, a native driver linking MySQL to PHP is being developed, with optimizations for improving performance. The driver is due in 2007.

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