Alternatives to Zend Framework

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:

Perpetual license?
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.”

IDE Confusion
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.

13 comments to Alternatives to Zend Framework

  • admin

    Well I have found out some about the IDE side of things. If you get Eclipse Galileo with PDT (PHP development tools) it all comes that way right out of the box. You can easily add javascript and Zend Debugger as a plugin. What that gives you (FREE) is Eclipse with PHP support. You also get a lot of Javaistic stuff you don’t need, like build management, which is just cloggage for PHP.

    There really isn’t a hybrid product, per se, they’ve just decided that certain features won’t be free and they’ve integrated them all nicely into a package. Apparently Zend abandoned their own IDE and incorporated the guts of Eclipse into their new version.

    I guess the for pay tool has the non PHP java stuff stripped out, a different skin, and better integration with Zend’s other tools. But for my money, and I mean that literally, the free Eclipse IDE is just FINE! And some people like netbeans even better, and from what I can tell it is also free.

  • zend frameworks are popular in a lot of places,, they are believed as one of the best framework ever..

  • admin

    maybe but I don’t adopt something just because a lot of people say its good. A lot of people have been wrong about a lot of things a lot of times and it’s because people follow the crowd and don’t bother to find for themselves. Give me concrete data.

  • woz

    1$K it is a lot of money;/

  • Hi,

    This is awesome. I have been working on codeigniter and was not convinced with the implementation of zend in CI but this seems to be cool. I am gonna give it a try ASAP.

    Good Day !!!

  • Zend Framework is an open source and is an object-oriented web application framework. There is no single development paradigm or pattern that all Zend Framework users must follow. Its easy to use and use at will framework..

  • I use zend framework, but I am nor quite happy about that, because Zend is commercial company.

    I would recommend symphony framework. It is also open source and almost as good as zend framework.

  • Zend Framework is a use-at-will framework. I don’t use this framework now. But i always wanted to try it because it was an open-source framework. Hope you are benefited from the training and nothing went wrong.
    Thanks for sharing the details.

  • This will be a really gravid imagination that you are furnishing and you pass on it away for free. I savor seeing websites that begin to see the value of rendering a prime resource for free. I truly enjoyed reading your Wiley Post. Thanks!

  • It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • thanks for the awesome blog content! subscribed!

  • Thanks for the nice lively read!
    I have been wondering about Zend myself, and your experience has given me a lot more to wonder about!

    I still don’t have a lot to compare Zend with, could you perhaps give names, I am pretty good friends with Google!

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.