Sooner or later, you want to leverage Zend_Application better by creating your own resource plugins.
Can leverage above be replaced by utilize?
Leverage means to use something in such a way that a small amount has a big result, much as a lever lets you move a larger load than you would normally be able to. In terms of the statement, Zend can be made more effective with plug ins. That is to say, the plug in means that your web app gets extra functionality from Zend+plug ins than it would from Zend alone.
It is frequently used in finance to mean that a small amount of money (like a house downpayment) can be used to much greater financial effect, such as buying a house.
Utilize is certainly an widely abused word, but that doesn't mean it can't be used correctly, or should I say utilized correctly.
According to dictionary.com (my emphasis):
You can make the replacement, but it would change the meaning.
Yes, but mostly because both are terrible word choices.
Leverage as a verb is either (a) an unnecessary neologism meaning 'to use'; (b) a term for investing with borrowed money, or any economically equivalent act.
'Utilize' is simply an ugly variant of 'use'.
Your choices are between 'use', and 'employ'. I suggest that 'employ' would be better, but in any case the whole sentence is awful ('Sooner or later' + present perfect, 'use/leverage/utilize sth better'). Something better might be 'Eventuallly, you will want to better employ Zend Application, by creating your own resource plugins'.
Leverage is an unnecessary verb introduced to make statements sound more technical than they are. Some options to consider are enhance, use, exploit, utilize and employ. Leverage is a perfectly valid noun. I try to avoid the use of words like this in scientific texts as, when the message is correct, they detract from the impact that is better conveyed with simple words.
Please replace "leverage" with other words that mean what you're asking your users to do with Zend_Application, and how they will benefit from creating their own resource plugins.
Many many good English speakers feel very strongly about not using "leverage" as a verb. I'm not going to repeat what each of these articles say, but you can guess from the titles. (I actually have a whole favourites folder in my browser just for these):
5 bull$h!+ words that make me want to hurt you (obviously "leverage" is #1)
Ban the word leverage (as a verb obviously)