Zend + Dojo: More Than The Sum Of The Parts

In the past several months, more and more integrations of Dojo with server frameworks have been shipping, and we couldn’t be happier about the Zend + Dojo integration that was announced yesterday.

Fundamentally the Dojo and Zend teams really “get” each other. Both are deep packages that give you an opinion about how best to do something but also all of the tools you’ll need to make it work at scale. The “use at will” term that the Zend folks use made immediate sense to us. Like Dojo, Zend doesn’t saddle you with more than you’re really going to need up-front, but at the same time, when you need something awesome which is well tested and integrated, it’s right there. No digging around on google to find a “plug in” that will get you where you want to go…both Zend and Dojo give you a full stack of great components to work with out of the box.

There have been some questions on IRC today about why Dojo and not something else, and we know that the Zend folks are committed to continuing to allow Zend to work with other frameworks as well and we fully support them in that. There seem to be lots of choices of Ajax frameworks which Zend could have integrated, but when you look at the requirements of serious products which need to ship tested solutions to really hard problems, the field whittles down very fast. In response to the needs of our users, both Zend and Dojo take seriously our responsibilities to provide integrated, high-quality, unambiguously licensed products that will let user scale both up and down. Key to this is understanding the full spectrum of use-cases, informed by past experience, and striking a balance between enterprise-ready features and close-to-the-metal primitives. The Zend Framework has a larger view of the server-side than Dojo can, and as a result there are new opportunities to optimize and improve the user experience for all classes of users through this integration. This isn’t just about including some scripts on a page, this integration is about improving user and developer experiences, and both Dojo and Zend bring a lot to the table which can compliment the other. Dojo’s strengths in progressive enhancement, packaging, localization, and accessibility all have obvious allegories in the ZF world where a complete integration can more value based on what developers are already doing. All of those features of Dojo will work better when the server-side knows how to “hint” things for the client and work with, not against, the client to deliver better experiences.

I’m perhaps most excited about the data-driven opportunities in the Zend/Dojo integration. Dojo’s data infrastructure is second-to-none, and the design of the dojo.data and dojo.rpc layers provide Zend Framework integration the ability to take advantage of systems like the incredible Dojo Grid and the client-side charting package. There’s more to look forward to, and figuring it out together with the folks at Zend is a great opportunity for the Dojo community.

Pete Higgins and I will be participating in next Tuesday’s discussion with a broader chunk of the Zend Framework world, but until then (and long after) we’ll be hanging out in the #dojo and #zftalk channels on irc.freenode.net. We’re looking forward to working more with the ZF community to build great experiences, and are hugely excited about the direction things are already taking!

One Comment

  1. Posted May 23, 2008 at 3:41 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t be happier with the partnership at this point! As you note, the synergy that can occur with having a server-side offering that speaks Dojo’s language will lead to some pretty incredible functionality for developers. When I started investigating dojo.data and saw the variety of uses it was being put to in Dojo, I immediately realized that if ZF could “speak” dojo.data, then developers immediately have the ability to create dynamic, beautiful, featureful UIs without any further work at the server-side level. This collaboration is a fantastic win for ZF and Dojo developers alike.