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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — At its developer conference today, Zend is announcing a couple of interesting new directions. The PHP framework-making company is branching out into APIs and continuous delivery.

The first new product is the web-based Apigility, which Zend says will be the easiest way to create a new, high-quality, opinionated API. “It creates a very unique experience on building out an API architecture very quickly,” said Zend cofounder Andi Gutmans in a recent chat with VentureBeat.

Stressing the value of this product for the enterprise, he also pointed out the obvious for a PHP company: “It is written in PHP, the language to extend it would be PHP. … You will have to learn PHP to use it.”

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With Apigility, you can create an API and use any services the tool itself provides. “This automates some decisions, making the coding process easier and less cumbersome,” according to a statement from Zend. The company has also chosen some best practices related to error handling, authentication, documentation, and more. And versioning is as easy as a drop-down menu and a button-click.

Better still, Apigility is an open-source project on GitHub. “As a business, the big benefit for us around open-source is … we get the community engaged and we get contributions that way,” said Gutmans. “We have a multiplying factor in developing the software that we create, and we get user requirements into what we create much more quickly.

“One of the reasons we’re doing Apigility as an open-source project is we want to make sure the broader market is choosing PHP and Zend as a way to build out their APIs. With Apigility, by doing this as open-source, we can really accelerate the distribution,” he said.

Second, Zend is announcing its Continuous Delivery Blueprint, which is based on Zend Server. The blueprint contains DevOps patterns and best practices as well as features to integrate other tools and software.

In the company’s annual developer survey, it found that 87 percent in a survey said they experienced delays in getting code changes into production due to inconsistent environments, no automation, a DevOps disconnect, and lack of visibility to production.

“We looked at what are the best practices for packaging apps, deploying them, building a production environment,” said Gutmans. “There are a number of these best practices that we’re baking into the product itself. Some are not so much in the product, but they’re in how the product integrates and enables the rest of the environment. We’re also building in some of the scripts for our customers. … We’re pre-creating [elements] that bring it all together. It’s a combination of product and ecosystem plugins that we’re creating.”

As enterprises increasingly have very real needs for speed when it comes to deploying or rolling back code changes, Gutmans said that especially for these larger organizations, DevOps personnel require streamlined, highly structured processes for getting code into production without negatively impacting quality.

“Even if you choose not to release more than once a month, you may still have a critical security flaw and you have to re-release again in two hours — and [with the blueprint,] you’re able to.

“I think you have to be able to do this in a matter of hours. You’ll always have to respond to a critical issue, and companies don’t have the luxury of taking days or weeks to do that. You have to get it out there with the confidence that it’ll work, and you need to be able to get back to a previous working version with the click of a button.”

We’re at ZendCon all day today, so stay tuned for more insights from industry leaders and the latest news from the world of PHP.

Also, our own upcoming DevBeat conference, Nov. 12-13 in San Francisco, will have a lot more on this and other developer topics. The conference is a hands-on developer event packed with master classes, presentations, Q&As, and hackathons, all aimed at boosting your code skills, security knowledge, hardware hacking, and career development. Register now.


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