This week I attended the Zend/PHP Conference where we officially announced the addition of AMF into the Zend Framework. I thought it would helpful to give an overview of what this means to Flash developers, especially those who are not familiar with Zend.

What is Zend?
Zend is a company that develops a wide array of solutions for PHP developers. They make Zend Studio, which is an Eclipse-based IDE for doing PHP development. We also announced that we are working with Zend so developers will be able to install the Flex 3 Eclipse plug-in into Zend Studio for tight integration. The Zend Framework is a combination of an MVC framework in addition to a wide variety of utilities for doing everything from connecting to Flickr to database interaction. I just started using the Zend MVC framework for gotoAndLearn and so far I like it a lot. There is a little bit of a learning curve if you are not completely familiar with MVC concepts.

What is ZendAMF?
ZendAMF is essentially the addition of AMF support into the Zend Framework. You do not have to use the MVC framework to use the new AMF features. The workflow is very similar to the one used in AMFPHP. This is no accident, as both implementations are being done by Wade Arnold. Essentially you create a PHP class with methods that can be called directly from Flash or Flex. Take a look at my tutorials on AMFPHP for more on how to do this. I’ll let you know when the first stable release of ZendAMF hits the streets. It should only be a matter of days now.

So what about AMFPHP?
Wade will continue to run this project but using ZendAMF will be the only method that will be officially supported by both Adobe and Zend. This means that it will be thoroughly tested and potentially more reliable than AMFPHP. Again, the difficulty level of working with either is about the same. Look for a tutorial on ZendAMF very soon.