Zend Framework, a collection of PHP packages for building web applications, has been upgraded to version 3. The new version provides dramatic increases in performance and a microframework for middleware development, Zend said.
Version 3 has been measured to be as much as four times faster with PHP 5 -- and it's even better than that with PHP 7, the latest version of the server-side scripting language, said Rogue Wave's Matthew Weir O'Phinney, project lead for Zend Framework. (There was no PHP 6.) In fact, support for PHP 7 is a key feature of Zend Framework 3.
Version 3, which is the first major release of the framework in four years, is currently available for download. The open source framework features packages that have been installed more than 59 million times, according to Zend, which was acquired in October by Rogue Wave Software.
Another highlight of the upgrade is the inclusion of the Expressive middleware microframework. Developers can use the Expressive runtime to build interfaces for routing and templating.
"Yes, you read that correctly: Zend Framework now ships with a microframework as a parallel offering to its MVC full-stack framework," O'Phinney said. "For users new to Zend Framework who are looking for a place to dive in, we recommend Expressive, as we feel PSR-7 (PHP Standards Recommendation) middleware represents the future of PHP application development."
For MVC (Model View Controller) development, Zend is including a new version of the Zend skeleton application, which leverages the Zend MVC layer and module systems. Version 3 also offers enhancements to documentation and de-coupling. De-coupling enables reuse in a greater number of contexts, O'Phinney said. "In some cases, this has meant the creation of new packages that either split concerns or provide integration between multiple components."
Documentation, meanwhile, is now included with each component repository. Contributors can be blocked for lack of documentation and deployment of documentation is now automated.
"For newcomers to the framework, we have been working on our package architecture and attempting to make each package installable with a minimal amount of dependencies," O'Phinney said. All components now are developed independently, with their own release schedules.
The upgrade also features zend-diactoros, which is an HTTP messaging implementation, and zend-stratigility, a middleware foundation for building middleware pipelines based around the Sencha Connect middleware layer for Node.js. Additionally, Zend has included forward compatibility features to help with migration from Zend Framework 2 to version 3. Migration guides are featured as well.
Zend is stopping development of Zend Framework 1 now that Zend Framework 3 has arrived, O'Phinney said. Version 1 will reach end-of-life status on Sept. 28; only security fixes will be provided between now and then. After Sept. 28, custom bug and security fixes will be offered for enterprise users of Zend Server.