The PHP ecosystem has changed dramatically in the past six years. Prior to PHP 5’s advent, we PHP developers were primarily creating our projects on an ad-hoc basis, each project differing from its predecessor; if we paid attention, each project improved on the previous - but there was no guarantee. While tools and practices existed for managing code quality and standards, they were still maturing, and not in widespread use. The idea of using PHP as the basis for a stable, enterprise-worthy application was widely scoffed as a result - despite the fact that it was powering some of the most trafficked sites on the Web.

With the advent of PHP 5, we started seeing more of a focus on solid programming practices. With a revised and reworked object model, we now had a solid foundation on which to build our re-usable objects. Tools such as PHPUnit capitalized on the object model to simplify and enable solid testing practices. These in turn led to an increased look at where code quality fit in the PHP application life cycle.

It is from this ecosystem that PHP frameworks began to arise. While several began in PHP 4, the idea took off in PHP 5, and a handful of frameworks started taking over the landscape. These frameworks aim to provide best practices to their users, and repeatable, reusable structure for the applications they build.

Among these is Zend Framework. Zend Framework’s mission, from its Web site, is simply this: Extending the art and spirit of PHP, Zend Framework is based on simplicity, object-oriented best practices, corporate-friendly licensing, and a rigorously tested agile codebase. Zend Framework is focused on building more secure, reliable, and modern Web 2.0 applications and Web services, and consuming widely available APIs.

In this book, you’ll learn how Zend Framework approaches these goals, from an author who is both well-versed in the subject as well as a capable and clear technical writer. You’ll get both thorough and understandable explanations as well as complete examples—and hopefully come away from reading with an appetite to develop your own applications using what has become the de facto standard in the industry: Zend Framework.

-- Matthew Weier O’Phinney, Project Lead, Zend Framework