Zend PHP Engine Review

Offers an easy way to develop both big and small Web-ready applications at low to zero cost

What is our primary use case?

At our company, we mainly use it for development projects where we need to create a customized web application. In most cases, we use a Linux web hosting server and Zend PHP is then the engine that runs on top of our chosen Linux-based OS. In addition, we regularly make use of different PHP frameworks including Laravel and others.

How has it helped my organization?

With the PHP engine, a major benefit is that we can cut down on so many additional expenses, from the development stage to the deployment stage.

For development, there are many open-source extensions and libraries available to us, so as a web app development company we're not bogged down by proprietary technologies when designing custom applications. And for deployment, we have broader options available than when using any Java-based or .Net-based server or architecture.

There's also the fact that we can easily pick up popular PHP-based platforms like WordPress and customize them to our needs, which gives us much more time to focus on the business side of development.

Essentially, we get the best performance at very affordable costing. And we can then pass those savings forward onto our clients, which makes everyone happy.

What is most valuable?

I find Zend PHP valuable for a number of reasons. It offers good support for various types of classes, along with many open source libraries that we can readily utilize in our application development process. This gives us a lot of options when it comes to custom development solutions, without having to worry about licensing or other programming-related issues.

On top of that, the support from the community is probably the biggest advantage of using PHP since there is rarely a case when you can't find help from other professionals online.

What needs improvement?

In terms of improvement, it doesn't support concurrent processing. When we want to process anything on a concurrent basis, we have to divide it into a number of things, like a queue, or we have to run it using Cron jobs. We would like to have the capability to run any thread or process in parallel.

Other than that, most everything we need out of a programming language and web application engine are all there, either packaged as part of the core engine or available as extensions and libraries. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used Zend PHP Engine since PHP version 5.0, so for a good number of years now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of PHP itself is very good. The only problems we have encountered have had to do with incorrect configuration of the server architecture or infrastructure.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In my experience, PHP is indeed highly scalable. In one of our applications, we had to process a huge amount of traffic for video-based content which required almost a hundred AWS instances. We had configured load balancers and as soon as the traffic spiked, the application smoothly generated more instances on-demand and handled the traffic with no problems. 

We also find that PHP scales well even where there are multiple user types with different roles, all using the same app simultaneously. In this case, one user role was "artists", who were producing video content and uploading it. Then another role of "administrators", who had their own separate panel for admin and maintenance tasks. And, of course, there were the regular users who were using the application to watch videos. All in all, PHP managed fine even with all this going on with a high number of users. 

How are customer service and technical support?

As an open source development solution, we rely on support provided by the larger community of PHP professionals. So when we have technical issues with development or deployment, we often turn to the community for help or research existing solutions and discussions online. 

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before PHP, I personally used a variety of .NET framework languages. The main reasons I switched were:

  • Greater opportunities: There are endless options when it comes to custom web app development. If you can imagine it, it's almost certainly possible with PHP. 
  • Large community: If we need assistance or opinions from other experts, there's a large and diverse community ready and willing to help.
  • Cost-effectiveness: PHP is fully open source and free to use.
  • Access to ready-made solutions: When we start a new project, we're able to easily repurpose predefined classes, libraries, and even entire PHP-based platforms like WordPress. This frees us up to do more on the support side, including migration-related tasks and so on.

How was the initial setup?

Getting started with PHP is relatively straightforward and not very complex at all.

Initial setup and deployment are largely dependent on the type of project and the number of libraries required by the specific application, as well as any external frameworks we are working with. Generally, if everything is set up and configured properly, our deployments can take around four to five hours in total.

Our typical implementation strategy is that we tend to make one document beforehand with all the deployment notes. In this deployment briefing, we define all the necessary commands and all the necessary variables and configuration parameters. For example, what should be the exact version running on the server, and what should be the most compatible versions of different software components that are attached to the project. Based on that, we can start our deployment.

What about the implementation team?

I work closely with our in-house team that handles implementation and deployment. 

What was our ROI?

Our direct ROI is immediately positive, as the PHP engine is open source and free to use.

Indirectly, we have also found other benefits to investing in Zend PHP, including the wide availability of affordable PHP server hosting and the fact that our development time has been reduced thanks to the easy access to open source libraries.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Zend PHP Engine is open source technology, so there's no need for us to worry about licensing or other costs. The only costs involved are indirect, i.e. what we have to pay for server hosting and related infrastructure services. 

What other advice do I have?

I recommend Zend PHP Engine because it's currently the best solution we have for building robust and scalable websites.

Its open-source nature is definitely the main reason, among others. With PHP, there are so many possibilities to come up with your own solutions, and beyond that, you can also draw from all the existing solutions provided by the community.

I would rate Zend PHP Engine a nine out of ten. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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