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I’ve worked on several web applications recently and I’ve been using pieces of the Zend Framework for them. A while back I reviewed a number of PHP libraries and decided that for our needs, the Zend Framework was ideal. Now that I’ve used it for a few applications, I’m convinced that it has what we need and I’ve been pleased with how well it’s worked for us.
When I initially was looking for a PHP framework, it was to enhance our internal Content Management System – TopazPort. When TopazPort was initially designed over six years ago, there wasn’t a good set of libraries to build it on, so the original architect wrote everything from the ground up. But things have changed since then, and specifically it is time to update our database layer to take advantage of new features in PHP. Rather than redoing our database layer, I was certain there was an Open Source library out there that we could use. So I reviewed several frameworks, including CakePHP and CodeIgniter, and decided that Zend Framework would work nicely for us. One thing I really like about Zend is that you can take as much or as little as you want. We don’t have the resources to completely re-write our CMS to use a framework. But we do have the time to take bits and pieces over time.
But shortly after I picked Zend we put the project to update our CMS on the back burner for a while because we had some more pressing client work to do. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to get some experience with Zend on some smaller projects. So we’ve ended up using Zend for two projects we wrote from scratch and for a third project where we added significant functionality to an existing PHP web application. We’ve used a number of libraries including Zend_Db, Zend_Form, Zend_Paginator and Zend_Gdata (to connect with Picasa photo albums) and I’ve been pleased with both how well the libraries worked, and the amount of documentation and number of examples on the web (not necessarily all on the Zend site mind you).
The Zend_Gdata library was particularly useful in handling the Picasa web albums from Google. We needed to look through an album and upload some pictures to a database. The libraries worked quite nicely and saved us a lot of effort.
So I’m happy with our choice and I look forward to talking about the Zend framework and things we’ve done with it on my blog.