AWS News Blog

Simplified PHP Development – Z-Ray in the Cloud from Zend

PHP development on AWS just got easier today. Zend Technologies (the PHP company) is now delivering Z-Ray productivity booster for PHP developers on the AWS Marketplace.

The success of a platform is based on many factors, developer productivity being one of the most important. Productivity leads to innovation and innovation leads to differentiation and (hopefully) success in the marketplace! Many of the companies that I talk to are trying to gain an advantage in their industry through their web and mobile applications. The Cloud gives them the ability to automate and provision environments quickly, but they are still looking for tools that will help their developers to work smarter and more efficiently.

Z-Ray, a key feature of the new Zend Server 7 (now available in Developer Edition on the AWS Marketplace) is a tool that can help PHP developers make this happen! Z-Ray is a breakthrough technology for getting in-context feedback on the behavior of PHP code as it is being developed. It works by injecting real-time application feedback into the developer’s browser. So if I’m working on a web page, Z-Ray’s information is displayed at the bottom, like this (all images were supplied by Zend, in case you are wondering where the cool formatting came from):

Every time I refresh a page, the data and statistics in Z-Ray are updated in real time. Z-Ray provides information about page requests, execution time and memory peaks, events, errors & warnings, SQL query execution, functions, and variables.

When I click on any of the monitored features, Z-Ray provides an expanded and more detailed view. Here’s some profiling and usage info for all of the functions used on the target page:

From this view, I can then drill down into a particular function and can even debug Zend Server apps from within Z-Ray. The local and global variables are also accessible:

Z-Ray also provides insights in to database activity:

Zend is essentially leveraging their in-depth understanding of the PHP runtime (the Zend Engine) and delivering insights to developers while they are developing. The information provided by Z-Ray helps drive up productivity and quality and eliminates friction further down the continuous delivery pipeline.

Many of the developers that I know find that writing a line of code, saving the changes, and refreshing the web site to view the changes is more efficient than configure debuggers and profilers or peeking in to log files to see what’s going on with their code. With Z-Ray, developers get the visibility they need without having to change any of their workflows or preferred tools.

With Z-Ray on AWS, you get the added benefit of being able to start with a very small developer image and transition to a full-fledged production environment that is fully-clustered and auto-scaling (AWS CloudFormation templates are available). In addition, developers using Zend Studio will be able to leverage Z-Ray to go directly to the page where the code to fix is located (Z-Ray will work with any of your favorite tools; you need not use Zend Studio).

Comit Developers is a managed service provider who leveraged the AWS Marketplace to deploy Z-Ray. They provide full service web site design, marketing, and consulting services. “Getting going on Zend Server was a snap through the AWS Marketplace, and now we’re in the process of moving more than 400 of our customers from a traditional hosted environment to Zend Server on AWS. One reason why we chose AWS is because the Marketplace makes it easy for us to select the software components specific to our customers industry and application requirements,” says Bryan “BJ” Hoffpauir, Chief Architect of Comit Developers. “Onboarding our customers and managing their instances is just so much better on AWS than how we used to do it.”

If you are a PHP developer and you build applications that make use of the AWS APIs, I’d like to invite you to take Z-Ray for a spin and see what it does for your productivity. Take advantage of the 30-day trial of Zend Server 7 and give Z-Ray a test drive today!


Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr

Jeff Barr is Chief Evangelist for AWS. He started this blog in 2004 and has been writing posts just about non-stop ever since.