Profile: Andi Gutmans

Name: Andi Gutmans

Title: Co-founder and co-chief technology officer

Company: Zend Technologies

Age: 31

Industry: Other

30-second biography: Gutmans has been a lead contributor to PHP since 1997, when he and Zeev Suraski developed the foundation for PHP 3. That version was a turning point for the language, which today powers 20 million Web sites and has a following of over 4.5 million developers. In 1999, he co-founded Zend Technologies, a company that provides business-critical PHP applications. As co-CTO and head of the Advanced Technology Group, Gutmans leads product strategy and innovation, including the open-source Zend Framework project. In addition, he has fostered Zend's growth by securing four rounds of financing, aiding with key customer wins and supporting alliances with industry giants like IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.

Current project: I am working on a variety of projects to further enhance the experience of PHP developers. These include Zend Framework, which delivers a high-quality open-source framework for developing modern Web applications and Web services. Among other things, Zend Framework heavily focuses on some of the latest trends in Web development, including a special emphasis on Web services and search. An example of innovative IT use of Zend Framework is IBM's QEDWiki project, an application that allows the easy creation of enterprise mashups.

Most critical technologies for IT this year: One trend that I think is going to be critical to the IT industry in the coming years is the decentralization of IT. It is being enabled by a few factors. The first is dynamic languages like PHP, which are making it increasingly easy for lightweight developers to become productive. The second is the rise of service-oriented architecture, which is leading to the end of monolithic application architectures. Third, the shift toward Web applications that are making it extremely easy to deploy applications inside the enterprise, not requiring a central function to test, deploy and manage those applications. This change is going to allow companies to become far more productive and agile, significantly decreasing the traditional backlog of business applications IT has in its queue. It will also enable an increasing amount of such applications to leverage the organization's existing assets by integrating the SOA-enabled infrastructure.

The best thing about today's technology: It's readily available. The cost of acquisition has gone down significantly, and getting up and running usually takes little time and energy.

The worst thing about today's technology: There is too much choice. It is often very hard to decide what solutions to adopt, and the market is in constant flux. Do we really need hundreds of Linux distributions?

Technology can . . . improve our quality of life, but at the same time can enslave us.

Book most recently on your nightstand: The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder.

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