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ionCube Ltd. is a software company based in the United Kingdom.
ionCube was founded in 2002, and its first products were tools to protect the intellectual property of software developers producing software written using the PHP programming language. This included an online encoding service where PHP scripts could be uploaded and an encoded version downloaded in return, and a command line encoding tool that ran on Linux. The availability of these tools played an important role in helping PHP become accepted as suitable for mass market proprietary software development, and by using techniques of encoding bytecode rather than source code, offered a high degree of security.
Whilst the online encoding service has remained essentially unchanged since its first launch, the encoding products were soon ported to FreeBSD and Microsoft Windows, and the range of products expanded to offer additional features useful for product licensing. In July 2004 a Windows GUI was introduced, no longer requiring use of the command line for Windows users.
Identifying a gulf between the straightforward way that local applications are installed and web applications, ionCube introduced their Package Foundry product, IPF, at the end of 2004. Similar to tools such as Inno Setup for producing local installers, IPF allowed web applications to be packaged as a Windows executable installer that would deploy a web application to a remote server automatically, and with a similar ease to that of a local program.
- Official website