I am currently feeling very conflicted about Zend and everything associated with it. I heard a statement the other night by a guy who was talking about CakePHP that hit the nail on the head. Paraphrasing what he said,
“There is nothing wrong with Zend Framework, but you just get this feeling with Zend that there will come the day when it’s going to become painful for you if you don’t shell out big bucks to them.”
Shades of Microsoft…. BLEAH! I am afraid the day has come. I was a big proponent of Zend. It’s difficult to eat a bit of crow and do a 180 on something you’ve taken a stand on, but when I examine things rationally, I’ve been increasingly disillusioned with Zend. There are several sticking points, elaborated below:
I own a perpetual license to version 5.2 of Zend Studio (Zend’s PHP-Centric IDE). I wanted to download it for my Mac but it is nowhere to be found; all 3rd party links point to Zend’s download site. That’s no accident–it has to be by design. “Let’s squelch every download site offering the old version so the path of least resistance will be for them to upgrade.” An email to Zend pointed me to the oldest one they have available (5.5 which I had already found and downloaded, and which my license will not unlock.) What good is a perpetual license if you can’t get the software! I should have downloaded the Mac version back in the day, but at that time I wasn’t using Mac at all. Oh well, (sour grapes), 5.2 dates back to the Tiger days, perhaps it wouldn’t even run on Leopard. Anyway, 5.2 still works just fine on my Linux box.
Zend Training? I need to be sold.
I thought maybe I should bite the bullet and do the Zend official training online, even though it would have been a very inconvenient time (4:00 AM) from Australia. I had some questions: for one, I wanted to be sure the training was updated to cover the latest version, particularly as concerns the changes made in v1.8 with the skeleton tools. My enquiry brought me an autoresponse (annoying and an utterly useless waste of my time but those are de rigeur acknowledgements), followed by a content free email from a rep promising that someone would get back to me. They never did. I googled for quite a while found virtually no testimonials, good or bad, on the Zend Training online. I would have thought if it was worth the $1K someone might have taken the time to say so. The rep later got back to me and commented that no complaints is good news, i.e. people are more likely to complain than give kudos. But I rather subscribe to the theory that if you paid $1K for something and it sucks, you feel like a chump and keep your mouth shut. It’s almost like they force every participant to sign a gag agreement that prevents them saying anything substantive or something. That really bothered me. Plus the numbers of people he let slip who have taken the training is rather smaller than I might have suspected.
Seamless Integration? Sure….. for a price
The final kicker is that they have an array of $$ products. It’s easy for you if you run on Zend Platform, using Zend Studio, etc. everything is just like the instruction says. If not, you have to translate it to your own configuration–not a big deal but takes energy. I know how software development is: developers focus on users who have setups like they have, and pay lip service to “third world” users using older hardware and software. “Hey those third world people should just get with the program.”
Regarding IDE’s, I am very confused about the whole Eclipse vs. Zend Studio thing. There seems to Zend Studio 7.0 at US$400 a pop, there is some pay hybrid product that goes with Eclipse, and then there are Zend add-ons to Eclipse (e.g. the debugger) for free. Obviously Zend is trying to lure Eclipse users to it’s PHP-centric for-profit products but all it’s done to me is confuse me.
Talk to me PLEASE!!!
I’m sitting here in Australia, far from the main stream. I beg for comments from anyone who has taken the Zend Training. Did it really kick you into another galaxy? Was it worth $1K? I’d also beg for comments from someone who is familiar with the IDE picture, and can do a comparison between Zend Studio, Zend’s hybrid product, and the 100% Open Source Eclipse. And if anyone has a version of Zend Studio installer 5.2 for Mac lying around please please leave a comment, especially if it works on Leopard!
For now, the long and short of it is I have too many questions about Zend remaining true to Open Source, and I am looking at alternatives to Zend. Zend is a for profit company, and that is OK, but if they put too many obstacles on the on-ramp they will lose big time.