WSO2 used this week's gathering of PHP programmers at the Zend/PHP Conference and Expo to announce the availability of the WSO2 Web Services Framework for PHP (WSF/PHP) 2.0. Founded by individuals with backgrounds in Apache SOAP, Apache Axis, Apache WSIF and BPEL4WS, WSO2 is a company offering open source Web services and middleware products.
The company's WSF/PHP implementation at heart is a PHP scripting language library that enables developers to create and consume both SOAP and REST Web services, according to Sanjiva Weerawarana, founder & CEO of WSO2.
PHP has proved popular in recent years and an able means to quickly Web-enable applications. Commercial PHP steward Zend has deals with no less than IBM, Oracle and Microsoft, indicating the breadth of interest in the language. PHP momentum is also supported by the Eclipse Group's move to launch a PHP integrated development environment.
With PHP's popularity and close relationship to MySQL, it makes sense for WSO2 to support PHP along with other popular scripting and development languages, said Bradley F. Shimmin, principal analyst of application infrastructure at Current Analysis.
Shimmin notes that very few programmers are proficient in all of those languages for Web services development, so it is a good marketing strategy for each of them to be supported by WSO2.
"PHP has always had a niche that it's played in," said Shimmin, who worked with the language in its earlier days. "PHP is keenly oriented toward the very lightweight, asynchronous Web applications that are taking advantage of the mashup-oriented philosophy for putting together Web services and the UI and marshalling the data that comes from those services. PHP is really adept at doing that."
Dana Gardner, principal analyst, Interarbor Solutions, agreed with Weerawarana's assessment of PHP popularity, noting the PHP and other scripting and dynamic languages are "enjoying a growth spurt." It is being driven by a combination of IT trends including SOA, rich Internet applications (RIAs), Web 2.0, and Software as a Service (SaaS), the analyst said.
"SaaS providers and users are drawn to the tools as the means to webify more apps, services and assets," Gardner said. "ISVs and cloud providers, including PaaS [Platform as a Service] providers, see these as the mechanism for mashups and interoperability. And developers are drawn to PHP and the ilk for the speed, ease and portability of the apps and services they create."
Because all of these IT trends are emerging and in some cases converging, Gardner concludes: "It's no small wonder that there is a lot of wind filling the sails of PHP use and relevance. It makes sense for WSO2 to support these players and the trends they are riding."