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What is Zend Engine?

The Zend Engine is the open source scripting engine that interprets the PHP programming language. It was originally developed by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski while they were students at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. They later founded a company called ZendTechnologies in Ramat Gan, Israel.

The name Zend is a combination of Suraski’s and Gutmans’ forenames, Zeev and Andi.
In 1997, Gutmans and Suraski rewrote the parser of PHP-FI, originally written by Lerdorf, resulting in PHP 3. Later in 1998 they completely redesigned the parser and named it the Zend Engine. PHP 4 is based on the first version of the Zend Engine.

Zend Engine is heart of php used as a complier and runtime engine. PHP Scripts are loaded into memory and compiled into Zend opcodes. These opcodes are executed and the HTML generated is sent to the client.
Below architecture shows how php script is interpreted by Zend engine.

The contribution of Zend engine to php

  • Zend’s contribution to PHP began in 1997 when Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans started work on a rewrite of the core scripting engine of PHP. This work helped to redefine PHP as a full-featured development language.
  • Zend’s contributions continued with PHP 4 which saw the introduction of the Zend Engine, a highly optimized execution engine.
  • This enhancement allowed modules such as debuggers, performance boosters and custom loaders to dynamically extend PHP for a broader range of functionality.
  • In addition, the Zend Engine provides memory and resource management, and other standard services for the PHP language.
  • Zend continued its work on PHP and Zend engine with the introduction of Zend Engine 2. Zend Engine 2 debuted in PHP 5.0 and added a robust and extensible object model and even more performance enhancements.
  • Zend provides significant input on new directions for PHP. Items such as “namespaces”, performance in window environment, interoperability, internationalization and Unicode support are just some examples of ongoing involvement in PHP 5 and PHP 6.
  • Zend provides valuable input into the support for web services, specifically the SOAP APIs.
  • Zend is also a contributing to the PHP security response team.
  • This team is responsible for addressing security related problems in PHP.
  • The team is chartered to ensure that any reported security issues are addressed quickly and effectively.
  • Source official website of Zend.



    My name is Dawit Uta (David). I am Computer Science Professional. I am interested on research & project work, website designing and development, teaching of any programming languages at any level, helping and encouraging the students, tutoring, consulting about tech. My research areas are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DL), Internet of Things (IoT), Data Science and BigData Technologies.

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