Apparently, I missed this news - even with plenty of PHP related feed in my news reader. IBM announced recently that it will support PHP through a collaboration with Zend Technologies — the folks who make the PHP parse engine.

The article talks a lot about PHP versus Java and how the two fill different needs — with PHP being aimed at small to medium sized businesses. I guess this is IBM feeling a need to defend their investment into Java, which if you ask me isn’t as strong as some people maintain. This new union with IBM would have PHP add support for Cloudscape — IBM’s embedded database system. It would also have PHP increase support for web services with better XML handling and out of the box support for popular protocols. I’m not sure exactly which direction they were planning on going with this because PHP already has XML-RPC and WDDX support and with the introduction of a tree-based XML parser — SimpleXML — in PHP5, I think that PHP is a great web service platform. Add to that the packages which are available with PEAR, and you have yourself some serious Java-ass-kicking ability.

At this point, PHP is too well established for IBM to be able to interfere negatively, but I think that we may see some changes made for the better. I for one accept our new Big Blue overlords and hope perhaps that Java and WebSphere just kind of disappear.