Zoe invited me to go down to IBM Hursley yesterday to deliver my talk about building Twittex from PHPNW and to also meet the Project Zero team. I had a great time, and the folks from IBM made for a very engaging and collaborative audience. It was particularly nice to meet Ant in person; he’s currently one of the better bloggers about PHP imho and as a community we sure could use more folks writing to his standard 🙂

If you haven’t heard of it before, Project Zero is a new implementation of PHP running on top of J2SE. It gives you the ability to run PHP in an environment that eventually should out-perform the Zend Engine (which will be very welcome here), plus the ability to pull in and make use of many excellent Java libraries that have no equivalent in the PHP world (like, for example, a SOAP client that isn’t a toy …)

Higher performance is important to ISVs in particular, because as you get away from non-trivial apps and get your caching strategy mature, the bottleneck moves from the database back into the amount of CPU available for the web server. Over here in the UK, servers are expensive, and hosting them even more so. There is real money to be saved by not requiring extra servers.

But my personal interest with Project Zero is evaluating it as a platform for API integration and development. Many of the products I need to integrate with are .NET based, and their APIs make a fairly rich use of SOAP. So the first thing I’m going to try with Project Zero is a little app to merge data between our ERP platform and our project management platform – two platforms that PHP’s SOAP client struggles with at best. I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

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