The iConnect Architecture, my current main open source project in PHP, is a collection of standards, specifications and open source components for developing multitier enterprise applications using the PHP 5 language.
iConnect is similar in many ways to J2EE architecture and provides a base framework, a complete set of services and handles many common details of application behavior for simplifying development of enterprise applications.
Most PHP platforms are monolithic and are focused towards the CMS domain of requirements. iConnect is a complete service oriented architecture for middle-tier/front-tier distributed enterprise applications under a condition of increasing load (that is to say the Internet).
An iConnect Architecture based enterprise application is tipically designed having in mind layers, tiers and non functional requirements such as scalability, manageability, availability, security, performance, etc. The result of all these specifications is complexity: iConnect is designed to manage and hide it.
The ultimate goal of iConnect is to provide a single front end, with a common platform: One Front End, One Vision. The graph explains how the various components of iConnect fit together in order to achieve the goal.
A more detailed overview of the iConnect Architecture can be found here.
The iConnect Architecture is composed by various components, in particular by a common platform (iConnect Platform), an integration layer (iConnect Integration), a business logic/application server layer (iConnect Application Server) and a presentation layer (iConnect Portal Server).
The iConnect Platform provides a complete environment for applications development on servers and desktops. It is also the foundation for the iConnect Architecture. You can think of it as J2SE for PHP.
Its main component is Carthag.
The integration layer of the architecture is provided by iConnect Integration, a growing collection of methods and components for accessing the Enterprise Information System and the mission critical Data stores. It is also the layer for components such as Merchant Plugins.
iConnect Portal Server
The iConnect Portal Server is the component where the Internet front ends are built over. Portals are composed by a set of modules, where each of them is a collection of model, blocks and pages (composed by blocks). The result is something near to the concept of portlet.