IBM and Zend last week announced the availability of a new PHP package, called Zend Core for IBM, which brings iSeries shops an inexpensive and easy-to-use tool for building dynamic, database-driven Web applications. While it’s not the first version of the open-source, server-side scripting language for the iSeries, the new PHP implementation brings advantages, such as technical support through the newly announced Zend Network, and the choice of using either DB2/400 or the embedded Cloudscape database.

PHP is one of the most popular languages (possibly the most popular) for creating and maintaining Web sites. According to a PHP usage survey for July, more than 21 million Internet domains are currently running PHP. This is out of a total of 68 million current Internet domains in the known universe, according to the Web site watchers at Netcraft. PHP, which is closely integrated with the Apache Web server and can run as an Apache module, is most commonly deployed with Apache, which powers 70 percent of the world’s Web sites, or about 48 million domains.