Zend Framework, better known as ZF, has brought tremendous changes in a PHP developer’s world. As opposed to the traditional website development platforms, Zend allows creation of robust PHP based solutions and web applications. Today, Zend is one of the most popular web development framework used across the globe to create interactive and powerful websites, and it’s not without good reason. There are a good number of beneficial features that aids a programmer to code better. They include:
1. Extended classes
ZF is a completely object oriented platform and consequently uses lot of OO (object oriented) concepts including interfaces and inheritance. This allows the developer to extend its components to a good extent. Further, this helps developers in implementing their own versions/variations of each individual component without hacking into the codebase. Customizations such as this bring uniqueness to each project.
2. The goodness of object orientation
When working in a Zend framework, everything needs to be seen and used as an object. However, this also has its set of disadvantages such as making the coding more complicated. However, it does provide the upper hand by making the codes reusable. However, seldom do developers repeat their code and this makes it a good choice.
3. Focus on just what you require and forget everything else
Going by the design, Zend is a simple collection of classes. In every ZF project, you would see that the Zend MVC components are being used. However, in other cases, you can just load required components. The Zend platform is quite decoupled, offering each component as an individual library, instead of being a framework as a whole. Developers working in ZF must have heard about glue framework. This actually refers to the decoupled nature of ZF and its ability to be “glued” to existing applications.
4. Does a lot many things
Zend integrates a lot of components ranging from user authentication to controlling access to resources. Similarly, it is easy to integrate RSS feeds and create forms.
5. No model implementation
This is both the reason that some developers don’t use Zend framework and some others love it. Lack of model implementation provides developers the flexibility of using any element to achieve the end result. There are no restraints holding back the already complicated implementation.
6. Integrate ZF with anything
The decoupled nature of ZF makes its suitable to integrate external libraries to be used in the platform. For example, developers planning to use Smarty as their template can simple integrate a wrapping class with Zend_View_Abstract, which in turn uses Smarty to render.
7. Standards and guidelines
Every contributor should sign a Contribute License Agreement (CLA) and each code must adhere to generalized Coding Standards. This makes every code highly qualitative, tested and readable.
8. Test driven development practice
Developers are required to write tests for their codes to make it easier to exchange codes, refactor, create input/output whitelist and think of potential use cases.
9. Documentation and Community
Due to the high complexity, ZF integrates a steep learning curve. However, documentation and an all pervasive community makes it easier for learners to understand the platform.
Finally, ZF is perhaps one of the few platforms that offer both Zend Framework Certification and PHP Certification. This will certainly motivate young and emerging developers to take up training and certification exams that will help build their portfolio.