This chapter digs deeper into Flex RPC services, focusing on using Flex's
HTTPService class to connect to a RESTful Web Service written with PHP and the Zend framework. The Zend framework is a full-featured web framework for the PHP developer that offers a variety of APIs, from MVC support to database API wrappers to HTML templating and caching support. The main design philosophy around Zend is that it allows you to use as much or as little of it as you want. You can use the MVC libraries independently of the view templating language or database access layers.
While we're using PHP on a Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP (LAMP)-based service stack, the exact same techniques will work with your favorite open-source web framework, whether Ruby on Rails, Python's Turbo Gears (or Django), or another one. The techniques in this chapter for building a RESTful interface and interacting with Adobe Flex are even available if your platform preference is Java EE or .NET using Windows Communication Foundation Services, although these last two we'll cover in more detail in the next couple of chapters focusing on SOAP-based Web Services.
We've chosen to use the Zend framework to aid PHP development because recently Adobe has partnered with Zend Technologies to provide Action Message Format (AMF) support in the Zend framework. (You'll read more about AMF in Part IX, "Data Services.") What this means is that besides supporting RESTful, XML-RPC, ...