For anyone who doesn’t know, Zend Core is a new solution for PHP developers as of 2008.
Prior to this all we had were solutions like XAMPP, WAMP, with a surprising number of others still pursuing the hard way. Personally, I’ve been relying on XAMPP Lite and the good people at Apache Friends to provide me with timely updates and seamless upgrade paths between versions for the better part of 3 years. I have to admit, it was hard to part, but there are clear benefits to making the transition.
As of this writing, Zend Core is currently the only official Zend certified stack:
It includes the most reliable and up-to-date version of PHP, tested PHP extensions, database drivers and other enhancements. Zend Core is bundled with Zend Framework (the leading open-source PHP framework), Apache and MySQL and IBM DB2 Express-C databases. Zend Core also support IIS web servers, Informix and Oracle databases. The complete stack is built, tested and benchmarked to ensure optimum reliability and performance for multiple platforms.
So I made the switch this month and so far have been happy with the results. The main advantage I noticed right away was increased stability.
So I am recommending it. One thing to be aware of is, while the software remains free to download, they are now pushing a paid support package and this can be confusing at first if you don’t know what you are looking for. The free version also comes with an automatic Zend Network Update system but it only works for paid customers since v2.5.0. Kinda lame but the same thing we had with XAMPP so oh well.
If I had to say one thing bad about Zend Core, it would be that I miss the handy xampp-controller.exe tool from XAMPP which would sit in the system tray and allow me to quickly start/stop/restart and check on the status of my Apache and MySQL services. In lieu of any alternative, I’ve managed to hack together my own little replacement solution which does the job:
It’s a simple solution but its lacking the status check part and the convenience of a system tray icon. It works for now but, if anyone is looking for an easy fun development project, I would be interested in seeing a decent Windows desktop application version. Scratch that! I made one myself using Visual Studio 2008 C# .NET. Check it out: