Web & PHP gets the low-down on Zend Framework 2

The Interview: Matthew Weier O’Phinney
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Tweeting prolifically as @weierophinney, Matthew Weier O’Phinney is Chief Architect for Zend Framework and is currently heading up the development of Zend Framework 2 (ZF2). With the new version set to drop later this year, we sat down with him at IPC Spring to discuss features, traction and framework philosophy.

Q. How far through the overall beta process is ZF2?

We’re actually almost done. The betas have been Gmail-style, we’ve rolled in features with each one, so it’s not like each one has a stable API and everything. At this point, though, we’re getting to a point where we’re basically stable. We’re going to do some tweaking to how we bootstrap applications, but the MVC looks like it will look in the stable version. Between now and Beta 5, we’re looking primarily at clean-up, identifying components that don’t have maintainers and pulling those out so that we can gradually add them back in as we get more maintainers. We’re adding some API features to make it easier to get at things like URL values and request parameters, so that you’re not having to go through two or three levels of chaining objects. We’ve got great separation of concerns, but that’s also a usability issue – we want to make that easier. It’s mostly around getting things looking the way we want them for the release. That’ll be the end of June, for Beta 5, and then we hope to start the RC process not long after that, with the final stable release some time in late summer.

Q. Does ZF2 take advantage of any of the new features in PHP 5.4?

Right now, we’re still targeting PHP 5.3, the reason being that most Linux distributions and web hosting providers are still on 5.3 and will be for a few years. We’re providing a number of traits that people who are using 5.4 can consume, but we don’t consume them within the framework, even though it’d be really nice, simply because, if people are running on 5.3, it’ll break. Of course, a lot of the features that came in 5.4 can be used in your code anyway. If you wanted to use short array syntax, you could go for it. You can already use traits if you want to – we’re providing some that make things like inserting an event manager that much easier. But at this point, that’s about all we’re doing – implementing forward-compatible features. We do test on both 5.3 and 5.4, so we know it’ll work in both places, and there have been places where we’ve had to do fixes that have been 5.4-specific, simply because there are a few differences in APIs.


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