Product Review: Zend Studio 4
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Web hosts regularly need to build Web applications for themselves or their clients. For this purpose, most Web hosts use PHP, an open source Web scripting language available from Zend. Zend makes other products that help you make the most of PHP. This article reviews Zend Studio 4, a powerful development environment for PHP.
Zend Technologies Inc. is a company that is committed to the development, not only of PHP but of high impact solutions to maximize your utilization of the world’s most popular server-side Web scripting language. For the last six years this Israel-based company has been a world leader in the development of PHP assisting applications and open source development.
Products produced by Zend include, among other things, the Zend Encoder, used to protect the intellectual property of your Web applications; the Zend Safeguard Suite, used to manage all of your encoding and licensing needs; the Zend WinEnabler, used to bring PHP on Windows up to the same standard as PHP on Linux; and the Zend Optimizer, used to increase the performance of PHP applications. They also bring you the application that this article focuses on, Zend Studio 4.
Zend Studio 4 can be downloaded directly from Zend at www.zend.com and weighs in at an impressive 38.4Mb. Those with a high speed connection won't feel that too much, but any users on a dial-up may be put off by this. It costs $299 for the pro version, which is aimed at serious PHP professionals and enterprises. The application does come with a full featured, 30 day free trial period, that even includes a 21 day free evaluation support period. It is compatible with PHP versions 4 and 5, and is automatically configured for whichever version of PHP you’re using at install time. It is easy to switch between the two versions of PHP at any time after installation.
Like many applications today, it can be set to automatically look for updates every time the program launches, saving you the effort of keeping up to date with one more program.
Zend also offers a Standard edition of this product for just $99 that benefits from almost all of the same features that the profession version contains. All that is missing from the standard edition are some of the remote features, the database connectivity tools, the PHP documenter that is new to release four, and the professional FTP integration. Nevertheless, the standard edition is a powerful development environment aimed at equipping those new to PHP development with the tools necessary to create high quality Web applications in a consistent and timely manner. A PHP manual is also installed when Zend Studio is installed, providing access to a high quality learning or reference tool suited to every level of developer.
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