Zend Technologies today launched the Simple API for Cloud Application Services project, “a new open source initiative that allows developers to use common application services in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers.”
The initial goal of the project is to provide a set of programming interfaces for PHP developers to facilitate the development of applications that have basic cloud storage needs.
The project’s announcement includes a quote from Microsoft’s Doug Hauger, General Manager Windows Azure: “Microsoft is pleased to continue to work with Zend and join efforts with other contributors to this project. The Simple Cloud API is an example of Microsoft’s continued investment in the openness and interoperability of its platform. We’re excited to see how this project will foster adoption of cloud computing platforms by PHP developers and hope that many of these developers are encouraged to use Windows Azure.”
What is the Simple API for Cloud Application Services
Cloud computing platforms are new technologies and the platform vendors are innovating rapidly in their platforms to address varied customer needs. Some projects do not require the richness provided by vendor-specific APIs and can instead be built with simple APIs that provide an abstraction layer across different platforms. From a developer’s perspective, simple APIs make it easier to write code that remains the same whatever the destination platform.
This project is pragmatic. The first available implementation of the “Simple API for Cloud Application Services” is provided by Zend who will ship the “Zend Cloud” adapters that will target storage services such as:
- File storage services, to enable all kinds of files to be stored
- Document Storage services, to enable manipulation of structured data in a tabular form
- Simple queue services, to enable storage and delivery of messages.
It encourages PHP developers to explore cloud computing by writing code that leverages commonalities across different platforms’ storage services. As the developers become proficient and learn each platform, they will be further inclined to learn vendor-specific features to take advantage of richer functionality.
Microsoft’s contribution to the project
A few months ago, Microsoft started to work with Real Dolmen on a Windows Azure SDK for PHP developers. This SDK has been submitted to the Zend Framework (see “July CTP of Windows Azure for PHP Released and support in Zend Framework”) and it now forms the basis of Microsoft’s contribution to the Simple Cloud API project.
PHP developers will be able to program against Windows Azure using the Simple Cloud API to access the main features of Window Azure Storage:
For PHP developers who need to use Windows Azure specific features that are not included in the Simple Cloup API (e.g. Windows Azure storage supports transactions unlike some other cloud storage services) they will be able to combine Simple Cloud API code with Windows Azure storage specific code using the dedicated Windows Azure SDK for PHP. The goal is to allow “developers to use common application services in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers”.
The Channel9 video provides more information on this announcement:
Windows Azure is an open platform. We believe that initiatives like the Simple Cloud API will benefit adoption of cloud computing platforms by developers. The Simple Cloud API gives PHP developers more choices and for Microsoft this is a great opportunity to encourage them to use Windows Azure.
Let’s meet at www.simplecloud.org
Vijay Rajagopalan, Principal Architect, Microsoft Corp.