A recent El Reg article about trends in the PHP community caught my eye yesterday morning. The headline is about Zend’s depressing statistic that the majority of PHP developers do their development on Windows these days (which I’m assured by Marco is old news) … and that’s worth talking about at some point, but it isn’t what interested me the most.

As reported by El Reg, Zend’s survey results show that “seventy per cent use Zend’s Studio or Eclipse PHP Developer Tools, while 18 per cent use Vim.”

This isn’t a case of Zend making wild claims though, just less than full reporting by El Reg this time around. Zend’s own press release make it crystal clear that these are the results of a survey conducted across the Zend Framework developer community; most likely (but not directly attributed) the 2009 survey. That they haven’t released the breakdown for Zend Studio vs Eclipse PDT is perhaps telling, but still, the real headline should be:

In its own community, Zend is being very successful at convincing its community members to use multiple Zend products.

Zend’s “full-stack” strategy is starting to yield results, and it looks like Zend Framework might have been the missing component that held back their earlier attempts. The whole stack has been refreshed, true (Zend Studio now runs on Eclipse, Zend Core has folded into Zend Platform, which itself has the new and far-better-architected Zend Server positioned below it), but with Zend Framework, Zend are (imho) now able to appeal to the sort of developer communities who are willing to pay Zend’s prices. And Zend Framework is finally a product that third parties can make money from, making Zend a little more relevant in the daily lives of your average PHP developer. (I’m a great believer that a key component of all really successful products is that third parties can make money off it, not just the original creator / provider).

Now, if only Zend had an outreach programme for making Zend Server suited both technically and commercially for ISPs like where I work to consider adopting for their shared hosting and VPS customers …

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