This week we cover the Zend Encoder, a program which allows for you to distribute encoded versions of your software, therefore protecting your intellectual property and making sure that your licenses are upheld. First we go over exactly what the encoder does and a little bit of how it works, and then I'll move on to cover the open source alternative(s) and finally, give our humble opinion on the product.
The Zend Encoder arises from a need for software developers to protect their intellectual property when distributing commercial software. One of PHP's past problems was that once you gave a client your source code, it most often turned out that your intellectual property (code) was lost, because the client could view and modify and (illegally) re-distribute your source code.
This is a problem that many freelance developer's as well as large development firms encounter. It made it nearly impossible to sell PHP software to more than one client. Luckily, it looks like the Zend's done an excellent job with this product, meeting what I think are the market needs. The Zend encoder is the perfect solution for anybody who wants to distribute their code commercially.