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Adobe contributes AMF support to Zend Framework

by Moxie Zhang on Sep 24, 2008 |

As rich Internet application (RIA) technologies and tools, such as Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight, have been maturing, robust server-side integration is expected to become an important area for improvements. Open-source projects, like AMFPPHP, and tools, like WebORB, are targeting the integration between server logics and RIA (Flash) clients. Last week, Adobe and Zend announced collaboration efforts to contribute Action Message Format (AMF) to support the Zend framework. The result is a vendor-supported Flex and PHP integration, which will be, as Zend put it, “Party in the front, business in the back.”

According to the Adobe Flex team:

This new component of the Zend framework will allow PHP developers to build Flex applications that run in the browser using Flash Player or Adobe AIR and communicate to the server using AMF.

The proposal gives PHP developers an Adobe-sponsored AMF project, bringing AMF interoperability closer to what is available for ColdFusion and Java developers.

Interestingly, Wade Arnold, who runs the AMFPHP project, is leading the Zend framework work for Adobe.

Cal Evans of Zend shared his excitement about the new collaboration:

Since the first time I really saw and understood what Flash was and did, I've been jealous of what Flash designers could do...well, flash. Flex won't help developers like me design eye-pleasing interfaces any more than a new pencil would improve my inability to draw. However, I can now put more useful interfaces on my back-end code.

While the response from the Flex community was generally favorable, a few developers expressed less enthusiasm. For example, Rich Tretola of InsideRIA says, “Putting the two together seems like a no brainer. Fortunately, that is exactly what Adobe and Zend announced officially last week.”

Mark Piller of The Midnight Coders (creator of WebORB) also commented:

Flex and PHP integration has been available for at least two years now. Both WebORB and AMFPHP provide that integration. WebORB goes above and beyond what Zend/Adobe announced. It offers Flex remoting, data management and messaging for Flex/Flash and PHP. So please help me understand what it is that Adobe/ Zend actually introduced and did that is so new that all of a sudden PHP developers can start doing that they could not before?

Todd of Simplified Chaos concluded:

I guess that having Adobe officially supporting such a thing is a good thing, yet the response has been sort of indifferent as far as a lot of PHP people go. Nevertheless, a quality well-supported PHP AMF library is something everyone can agree is a good thing.

After completing a couple of large Flex projects, I'm starting to believe that the sweet sport for Flex and Web apps isn't just a Flex app, but using Flex components to "enhance" the richness of regular Web-based applications. It's the best of both worlds.

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