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Zend Survey of 3,000 Developers Sheds Insight into PHP Development Trends

Survey Results
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Second Zend developer survey finds 63 percent of respondents are deploying apps to the cloud, while 1 in 10 expects all their apps to be cloud-based.

Zend Technologies has announced the findings of its second Zend Developer Pulse survey, in which 3,035 global developers shared insights on usage of emerging technologies and trends in PHP development practices. The survey confirmed an increase in cloud application development, indicating a growing interdependence between usage of the PHP language, faster speed of development, and deployment of applications to the cloud.

Zend Developer Pulse is a survey series that takes the pulse of a vibrant community of developers from around the world. The series is administered by Zend, a provider of solutions to build and deploy Web apps using PHP. Complete survey findings are summarized in a report now available at http://www.zend.com/en/community/zend-developer-pulse-summer-2012. 

PHP and the Cloud: A Symbiotic Relationship

The proportion of enterprise workloads in the cloud is poised to more than double in coming years, according to a recent MorganStanley report. By deploying cloud-based applications, enterprises are driving their competitive advantage, reducing time-to-market for applications as well as management and overhead of traditional infrastructure. PHP in the cloud can magnify those advantages by accelerating the development cycle.

Due to its ease of use and speed of development, PHP is increasingly becoming a cloud-application development language of choice. Sixty-one percent of developers said that they intended to develop to the public cloud in Zend’s previous Developer Pulse survey, released during Q4 2011. Corresponding with those results, in this new summer 2012 survey, more than half of developers said they are using PHP to develop apps for cloud environments. Among other reasons, they prefer PHP because it is simple to use and they can quickly develop applications using PHP. In today’s business environment, where cloud and mobile applications are evolving more rapidly than ever, this is a significant finding.

Among the key survey findings are the following: 

Most Developers are Coding for the Cloud

1 in 10 developers expect all of the apps they are currently working on to be deployed in public or private cloud environments, reflecting an increasing focus on the cloud as a cornerstone of enterprise computing. The survey also found that:

  • 63 percent of developers expect at least some of their current apps in development to be deployed in the cloud.
  • 15 percent expect more than half of their apps to be deployed in the cloud.
  • 18 percent expect to deploy between 10-50 percent of their apps in the cloud.
  • Only one quarter of respondents (26 percent) do not expect any of their apps currently in development to be cloud-based.

This data is consistent across company sizes. Like their small-business counterparts, 10 percent of developers in larger corporations (of more than 5,000 employees) said that everything they are developing is going to be deployed to either private or public cloud.

The results of the Zend Developer Pulse Survey also parallel the continued interest that Zend is seeing in phpcloud.com and the Zend Developer Cloud sandbox, which streamline development and deployment across various cloud infrastructures. 

PHP Enables Fast and Easy Development

When asked why the adoption of PHP has grown so rapidly during the past decade:

  • 72 percent of developers said PHP is easy to learn.
  • 68 percent said they can get things done faster in PHP.
  • 53 percent cited the availability of application frameworks for PHP.

These findings are consistent with the results uncovered by the recent UBM TechWeb survey of enterprise director-level and executive decision-makers, in which 88 percent of respondents found speed of development to be greater with PHP than other languages. 

Widespread Use of APIs and Cloud-Based Services

Today’s developers have a sophisticated understanding that today’s apps have APIs at their core, pulling data from multiple sources and enable collaboration within and outside of the enterprise. APIs are a fundamental component of cloud computing, and the Zend Developer Pulse survey once again found that PHP and the cloud are becoming standard components in enterprise development.

  • 72 percent of developers reported that they are using cloud-based services or APIs as a part of the applications they are designing today.
  • 24 percent of developers are using APIs aggressively for more than half of their applications in development.
  • 36 percent are using APIs in up to half their applications.
  • Only 30 percent are only moderately approaching the integration of APIs into their applications.

The survey found that PHP developers put a significant focus on maintaining their skills and coding at the latest versions. The vast majority of developers are staying up to date with the latest versions of the Open Source PHP language. 

Tools to Maintain App Quality

After exclusively asking corporate developers which development tools and processes they used, the survey uncovered that:

  • 85 percent of corporate developers are using an IDE (Integrated Development Environment).
  • 77 percent use or intend to use version control.
  • 75 percent are using at least one application framework.
  • More than 10 percent of those developers not currently using a framework intend to adopt one within the next 12 months.

Zend Framework and other popular frameworks enable developers to build secure, reliable and modern cloud applications and services, with a proven codebase and established best practices. 

An Opportunity for More Automation

Automation can save PHP development teams time and energy throughout the development cycle by reducing human error and automatically detecting application errors, among other benefits. Yet automation has a low adoption rate:

  • 42 percent of developers at large companies have automated their development process.
  • 39 percent of developers have automated their error detection and application monitoring.
  • Fewer than 30 percent use automation for unit testing, performance, system testing and server provisioning.

These areas pose opportunities for PHP development teams to adopt and reap the benefits of automation. 

Build and Deploy on Any Cloud with Zend

According to Andi Gutmans, CEO and co-founder of Zend, “Our survey underlines the fact that the PHP community and cloud computing are interdependent. PHP is increasingly being chosen for its ease of use and deployment to the cloud by PHP development organizations. Enterprises are turning to Zend to help them rapidly build and deploy those high-quality, business-critical PHP apps across public and private clouds. As such, it is not surprising that we’ve seen growth in Zend Server and in usage of the Zend Developer Cloud." 

About Zend Developer Pulse

Zend is relentlessly focused on serving the developer community, as an innovator and contributor to the PHP language, a contributor and supporter of Zend Framework, the creator of phpcloud.com, and the host of the annual ZendCon event for the PHP community. The Zend Developer Pulse™ is a survey series that takes the pulse of developers to understand their evolving technology challenges and needs and gauge their responses to Zend solutions, consulting and PHP training services. Zend is blessed to have access to and work with a global community of more than 5 million developers, enabling the company to field a survey with over 3,000 responses.

Zend is a partner to business for the rapid delivery of modern apps across mobile and cloud. It is the leading provider of software and services for developing, deploying and managing business-critical applications in PHP, which runs more than one-third of the world’s Web sites. Zend’s industry-leading PHP solutions, including Zend Server and Zend Studio, are deployed at more than 40,000 companies worldwide, providing a comprehensive solution for the entire application lifecycle. Learn more at www.zend.com.

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