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  1. #1
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Zend, Eclipse, ZPF, and the future of PHP

    I've already read a few topics here on this subject, as well as various blogs and whatnot. But I'd like to open an "offical" conversation here @ SPF, what I consider to be the best online community of PHP developers, to discuss the PHP Colloboration Project and all that it entails.

    Some things that I predict that will ultimately take place as a result of this

    - The death of PEAR (no tears here)
    - The death (or some other type of transformation) of Zend Studio
    - Eclipse becoming the de facto IDE for PHP develoeprs
    - PHP 6 will not be fully backwards compatible, or not at all. Similar to .NET versions of ASP, VBscript, etc.
    - Traditional PHP "coders" will still use PHP 4 where application (enterprise level?) developers will use PHP 6

    These are just wild predictions of my own, mostly baseless other than tidbits of info and alot of gut-feeling. But still some questions remain

    - Will moving from PHP5 to PHP6 be easy?
    - Is ZPF from scratch, or based on something existing?
    - What does this mean for stuff like SPL, WACT, or Prado?
    - What plans does Zend really have for Zend Studio in regards to their partnership with Eclipse?
    - Will said colloboration mean the end of phpeclipse and TruStudio?

    I have a thousand other thoughts on this topic, but the stuff above is what I've managed to type into this post.

    Please share your thoughts/comments/predictions/etc.
    Last edited by beetle; Nov 16, 2005 at 16:49.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  2. #2
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    Ok, i'll bite.
    Quote Originally Posted by beetle
    The death of PEAR (no tears here)
    Its more complicated than that. The PEAR installer is more important that most people realize. The installer will continue on. Most PEAR packages will continue on. I see little or no change for PEAR.
    What does this mean for stuff like SPL, WACT, or Prado?
    WACT and Prado are distinctive enough to survive in a ZPF world.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetle
    - What does this mean for stuff like SPL, WACT, or Prado?
    The Zend PHP Framework or the PHP Collaboration Project or whatever it's called can only be a positive for PHP. It will increase the supply of frameworks and drive competition between frameworks which can only result in higher quality framworks.

    The big question mark is, will it increase demand for PHP by bringing over Java, Ruby or .NET people. The only way this can happen is if the framework is innovative enough to open people's eyes to PHP's potential. The interface needs to be good and the code needs to be rock solid.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selkirk

    WACT and Prado are distinctive enough to survive in a ZPF world.
    With PRADO we'll be looking at what parts of ZPF we can leverage into PRADO, as it's likely they'll have some good quality code we can use.

  5. #5
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Any of you guys have thoughts on the IDE side of things?

    I'm really struggling to figure out what Zend is doing, having made press releases about Zend Studio 5 and a partnership with the Eclipse Foundation within three weeks of eachother.

    I can see what Selkirk means about PEAR, but I just can't imagine it will flourish in this new environment. As a framework, I don't think PEAR has the "robustness" to survive.

    I can see the PEAR package manager or some derivation staying useful for server admins, but wouldn't it also be possible that any such system for ZPF will be built into the Zend Platform instead?
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  6. #6
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    Good predictions and there are many others regarding PHP you didn't mention but I'll address just these.

    • PEAR - dead, you're right on.

    • Zend Studio - no comment, don't use IDE's. Personally, I hated IDE's all the way back to my VB days. Gives me a headache just thinking about it.

    • Eclipse - see above.

    • PHP6 backward compatability - you're right, or wrong, or who knows. I doubt the PHP core knows.

    • PHP4 vs. PHP6 - Not sure what you mean by traditional coders but if you mean us who've been using PHP for 8 years then you're probably right. PHP6 is so far down the road and it will take years, not weeks or months, for it to be widely adopted that we'll all probably have forgotten this thread even existed. Seriously though, what will ultimately kill PHP4 is bugs (i.e. no more or lagging fixes) and lack of community support for 3rd party library builds.


    I'm still gun-shy about PHP5 after having gone through the PHP3->PHP4 problems (remember how many "minor" revisions it took to get it right?). I have a couple hundred thousand lines of production code that I simply don't want to debug for weeks or months but I imagine I'll have to someday or I'll sell that business and start a new one from scratch with PHP5/6, time will tell.

    Regards.
    Last edited by PHPCamp.com; Nov 17, 2005 at 03:39.
    I study speed waiting. I can wait an entire hour in 10 minutes.

  7. #7
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    In regards to all the partners with Zend on the PCP. If any of you have experienced arrangements like that, I've been through several partnerships with IBM, Oracle, Sony, and a bunch of others with companies I've worked at or been a consultant with, then you know they're strange beasts.

    It usually entails sharing technology, special licensing, sometimes cash and labor swapping. In the end I've seen multi-million dollar partnerships thrown onto the scrap heap because the project didn't pan out the way everybody had hoped. And many of the ones I've been a part of were only two parties. Zend has got an official gaggle of partners. Personally, I don't think the same group will be around when whatever PCP is destined to be officially arrives. There are to many agendas to coordinate.

    I would consider it more of a working group than a partnership but what the heck, it's worth a shot. I hope they're successful at something. Cheers.
    I study speed waiting. I can wait an entire hour in 10 minutes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetle
    - Traditional PHP "coders" will still use PHP 4 where application (enterprise level?) developers will use PHP 6
    I am not sure that this will happen in a near future. I think enthuasiast or traditional coders can easier adopt new technologies such as a new PHP version than enterprise developers due to business-reasons. Companies have a built-in inertia towards new versions due to instability. Just because it costs to much waiting for a new release or bugfix in the PHP-engine (and hence basing applications on unstable technologies)...

    Just my two cents...
    Jan Bolmeson, M.Sc. Engineering Physics, ZCE
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  9. #9
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madwax
    I am not sure that this will happen in a near future. I think enthuasiast or traditional coders can easier adopt new technologies such as a new PHP version than enterprise developers due to business-reasons. Companies have a built-in inertia towards new versions due to instability. Just because it costs to much waiting for a new release or bugfix in the PHP-engine (and hence basing applications on unstable technologies)...
    No, in fact, that was probably the "farthest-ahead" prediction I made.

    but, since I feel PHP6 in whatever way it comes, will not be fully backwards compatible with PHP5 and earlier, that the natural rift caused by this will push people to PHP6 or PHP4. Why not PHP5?

    Because the currently popularity of php4 is largely due to stuff like PEAR, Smarty, phpNuke/postNuke, fusebox, oscommerce, wordpress, phpBB, etc - all written in PHP4.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  10. #10
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    Hmm...

    I really don't know... I am currently responsible for a, what you could call, enterprise application written in PHP4. We are still developing new modules in PHP4 and we had the discussion on going for PHP5 a couple of months ago but we concluded that it would be to great effort to port everything to PHP5.

    Instead we decided on a middle-way-path where the application is PHP5 compatible and doesn't throw notices as long as you don't run E_STRICT. As I see it PHP5 doesn't offer anything that would make it worth changing.

    Of course, if I would begin a new development I would go for PHP5, because I know the advantages with real OOP, exceptions etc. But what point does it make for us upgrading all class-definitions, rewriting patterns etc?

    In our case we can unfortunately not afford it, and our board of directors won't buy my technical arguments as long as isn't nescessary for survival...

    As I see it, we'll stay in PHP4 in the nearest future and then probably go for PHP6 (depending on the time-schedule) at the point when our application needs a complete rewrite.
    Jan Bolmeson, M.Sc. Engineering Physics, ZCE
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  11. #11
    Web-coding NINJA! silver trophy beetle's Avatar
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    Thanks for the comments madwax. That just further fuels my theory that eventually, the rift will push people to PHP6 or PHP4.

    Those with PHP4 applications won't have the time/money/necessity to upgrade to PHP5.

    Those with PHP5 probably made the move to it in the first place for a reason and will welcome whatever new application benefits PHP6 will provide.

    I'm not saying PHP5 would be left in the dust, it's just that an inverse bell-curve would exist where php5 practitioners would represent the shallow.
    beetle a.k.a. Peter Bailey
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict mx2k's Avatar
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    the IDE will be geared mostly toward the framework similarly like Visual Studio is with Dot. Net.

    With the framework i would have to wonder if they are pushing it for php 5 or php 6. with php 6 you could hopefully roll out namespaces, uniform get/set accessor keywords/methods , and some other perks build towards enhancing an simple extensible oop framework to which it seems they are targeting.

    but you also have to wonder if they will be rushing to put out the framework to compete with asp.net 2.0, using php5. if rushed it might not be as mature as it should be causing more problems than needed.

    of course zend will try to sell zend studio still, it helps to bring in some cash flow.

    Much like MS and other companies do with IDE's zend will probably try to market Zend Studio as a higher grade IDE.

    if anything, this should help push zend studio to a higher level of an IDE to where the eclipse version will probably start off as something to get you into using the framework at first, at least till the community builds enough plugins for eclipse that it rivals zend studio in features. after that who knows?

    as for other eclispe type IDE's, people will still use them, especially if they offer features that the current free IDE's don't have.

    as for the comment about not using an IDE, they can be a pain, but at the same time if you're using an oop framework, an IDE will help reduce development time if its probably developed around that framework.

    Trying to remember a ton of methods and classes and derived methods from inherited classes can cost you time, especially when using someone else's framework. Use what makes sense and don't throw it out entirely.

    I typically use SciTE in conjuction with visual studio and other things like top style lite, code smith, along with templates and what not.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Addict timvw's Avatar
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    Meaby the next Zend Studio will be a Eclipse + Plugin? Just like trustdio, my-eclipseide, etc..

    Toss in a couple of config generators for your ZPFramework in the pay-version and you're set to make money

  14. #14
    Employed Again Viflux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beetle
    Thanks for the comments madwax. That just further fuels my theory that eventually, the rift will push people to PHP6 or PHP4.
    In my view, it's very similar to the current situation with Windows that a lot of large organizations are going through.

    We didn't (I say we, although I wasn't around at the time) upgrade to Windows XP when the opportunity first arose. When it was revisited, word was that a new version was on the way. So we postponed. It now appears that we will be fairly quick adopters of Vista, as it will replace the 1000's of W2K boxes on the network.

    The situation will be similar with PHP. PHP4 is so widespread that a lot of organizations will put off an upgrade until they deem PHP5 stable and useful enough to move to. Already there are rumblings of PHP6, and while we know it is a long way off, the tempation is there to just sit on PHP4 and make the grand jump at once.

    The decision to skip PHP5 likely means the choice between a complete rewrite in the future (when business requirements and environments change) vs. a refactoring now, and another refactoring to go from PHP5 to PHP6.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Guru BerislavLopac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viflux
    The decision to skip PHP5 likely means the choice between a complete rewrite in the future (when business requirements and environments change) vs. a refactoring now, and another refactoring to go from PHP5 to PHP6.
    In which case it's the latter option you should pursue: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articl...000000069.html

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viflux
    The decision to skip PHP5 likely means the choice between a complete rewrite in the future (when business requirements and environments change) vs. a refactoring now, and another refactoring to go from PHP5 to PHP6.
    Actually it would mean a choice between refactoring from PHP4->PHP5->PHP6 or refactoring from PHP4->PHP6. If PHP5 will only be around for a short time then the latter may be preferable.
    Christopher

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BerislavLopac
    In which case it's the latter option you should pursue: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articl...000000069.html
    I don't think rewriting from scratch really applies to upgrading to PHP5 or PHP6 but that is a great article.

    I love the reasons he gives for rewrites. They are essentially: the programmers think there are architectural problems, the programmers think there the code is inefficient, the programmers just think the code is ugly. Note that there may not be architectural problems or inefficiencies that are very serious (and all code starts to look ugly after a while), but the perception. And it has this great quote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Joel Spolsky
    It's important to remember that when you start from scratch there is absolutely no reason to believe that you are going to do a better job than you did the first time. First of all, you probably don't even have the same programming team that worked on version one, so you don't actually have "more experience". You're just going to make most of the old mistakes again, and introduce some new problems that weren't in the original version.
    Christopher


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