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What is Zend hosting?

The Zend Framework (not to be confused with Zend Technologies, the company that supports it) is a web application development framework for PHP. It is the most popular PHP framework available.

Zend is object-oriented and makes use of the Model-View-Controller architecture paradigm. The current version, Zend Framework 2, takes advantage of features available in the newer releases of the PHP programming language, such as namespaces and closures.

Key Zend Framework Principles

Fully Object Oriented

Object Orientation is a way of designing a software system such that functionality and data are tied together into logical units called "Objects."

Rather than assigning the data that represents some concrete thing to a series of independent variables, and then writing a bunch of functions that manipulate that data or use it to manipulate other data, Object Orientation combines the data that belongs to an object with the functions which that object might carry out.

An example of this might be a Blog Post object that includes both the data (post content, author, publication date, tags) and post-related functions (save, update, display). Changes to the data, and functions of the object, are both handled by the object itself, and defined in Classes which control objects of similar types.

When the PHP language was originally invented, its primary purpose was dynamic rendering of HTML pages, not full-scale web-based applications. For this reason, the early versions of PHP focused on a functional approach to programming style.

Object Orientation came fairly late to PHP, and was at first considered an "optional" feature. As the language matured into a fully-functional programming language, complete support for an Object Oriented programming style has been made available.

The Zend Framework takes full advantage of these features, and is completely Object Oriented in its design. Additionally, the programming API and app templates encourage developers building applications on top of the framework to use an Object Oriented style.

Model - View - Controller Architecture

The Model-View-Controller application pattern is an application architecture style that separates a program's code into three basic areas:

Model
Code that implements the data-design of the application and interacts with the database.

View
Code that implements the display or interface from the system to outside consumers, whether human users or other computer systems.

Controller
Code that implements application business logic and shuttles information between the View and the Model.

Zend Framework is built with the Model-View-Controller architecture in mind, making it compliant with recognized best practices. This also conforms to the pattern used in the most popular development frameworks for other programming languages, such Ruby on Rails and Django for Python.

Modular Design

The Zend Framework was designed for a high degree of modularity, allowing developers to use only those components which they need for their application.

In fact, there isn't even really a "core" framework with optional modules, as you might expect. Rather, the framework itself is a series of modules that are designed to be used independently, but can be combined to make a fully-featured application framework.

Consistent Implementation

Similar features are coded similarly throughout the framework, and the programming API uses consistent styling.

This consistency of approach is new in the second edition of Zend Framework, and makes using it much easier.

(If you had a bad experience with the original Zend Framework because of its inconsistent style and confusing array of approaches, you may want to come back and try Zend Framework 2.)

Focus on the PHP Developer Community

Zend Technologies, the primary supporters of the Zend Framework, call themselves "the PHP company," and are rightfully proud of their position within the PHP development community.

As part of their overall support for the framework, Zend Technologies supports the community of developers, contributors, and users through blogs, certifications, books, forums, and conventions.

The newest edition of the Framework was built specifically to address the needs and concerns of the existing developer base that had been using the original version of the software.

Zend Framework Hosting

The only hard-and-fast requirement of the Zend Framework is PHP 5.2.4 or higher. Additional requirements such as a modern database system depend on the needs of the application written on top of Zend.

Typically, shared hosting plans are not suitable to the needs of web-based applications built on top of Zend. More to the point, neither are they typically suitable to the businesses usually in need of such custom software.

Some hosting providers offer specific support for the Zend platform, which may make certain configuration details easier to implement, as well as ensuring enterprise-level performance.

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