Zend Server – Install Impressions

First I have to mention I may not have much to say about Zend Server mostly because I am not a Zend affiliate.  That being said I am not a fanboy either.  I do notice that much of the buzz about Zend Server at this stage in the game is artificial.  This, however, is simply my experience with the beta.

So going through the installer on Windows is the regular experience.  I chose a custom install to change the path and the options installed.  I chose to install PhpMyAdmin and MySQL.  The installer also offered to install Zend Framework with the added options of including extended features of the framework and the option to incude the Dojo portion of ZF.  I left the later unchecked since I am a jQuery fan and continued on.  It told me that it detected MySQL, which it wasn’t installed.  It had been previously, and I have been trying different Windows PHP stacks so maybe it found something left behind.

Then, during the typical step of searching for Apache and recommending to use the packaged on or the existing one, it offered to configure IIS.  Since I am working on Vista Ultimate, I figured I would give the IIS integration a quick turn, since I hadn’t been successful with getting Core to work with IIS, granted I didn’t try hard.  Zend working with M$ could result in a fairly nice environment in theory.

At the end of the install it asked if I wanted to put an icon on the desktop, which I thought was wird at first, but it does make sense.  I checked ‘start working with Zend Server’ and clicked finish.  This launched a web browser that promptly told me that it couldn’t connect to http://localhost/ZendServer.  Not too much of a problem, but it would be nice for the installer to say something about weather or not IIS is running and allow you to act.  It seemed to me that I saw somewhere that on Vista IIS defaulted to port 8080.  So I started ‘inetmgr’ to verify, and sure enough the default website was installed and running on that port.  Upon changing the url to http://localhost:8080/ZendServer I was prompted to set a password.

I set my password and proceeded to the licensing section.  I want to check out the full Zend Server first, so I clicked the link ‘Click here to see how to get a license’.  It took me to Zend’s site and I clicked ‘Generate a License’ and got a brief trial license, pasted that in the form fields and clicked ‘Enter’.  The curious thing I saw was that it called it ‘Zend Server Version: 4.0’.  This leads me back to the product confusion that Zend has classically suffered from. But…

Now I am running Zend Server on IIS… how great is that!

Jumping into the management interface, I checked PHP Info for the php.ini path… and was a little dissapointed to see it installed on my C: drive, when I told it not to.  This is a common problem among windows applications.  They all seem to want to only install on C:Program Files even if you change the environment variable and/or tell the installer otherwise, so I wont rag on it too much since it is a beta installer.

The nest thing that startled me a bit is that every extension imaginable was active.  This could be good or bad.  I imagine that there were quite a fiew people that complained about having to enable extension X, and that those of us who want control are more likely to go disable things without complaining.  So I started shutting things off, which was just as easy as it was in Core.  I did find that not everyting was turned on, and many of the extensions not loaded were ones that few people would use.  I was annoyed by the screen jumping when clicking ‘Turn Off’. You won’t do it often, but it is simply missing polish.

When I was done, I clickedd the ‘Restart PHP’ button, which puzzled me a bit, since I dont think of PHP as running, but… anyway.  We also have the change from configuration to ‘Directives’ which is probably a good idea too.

The first time I went looking for the section for managing Caching, it took me a second, but it is located under the ‘Rule Management’ tab.  It makes sense after the first time.

Clicking the ‘Administration’ tab and ‘Updates’ presents you with a screen comprable to the one in Zend Core and Platform.

All in all, a relatively painless experience for a beta.  Now I want to flex the IIS/PHP muscle and see how she drives.

Zend Server – Install Impressions

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