As lots of other coders in the PHP blogosphere, I am rejoicing for the release of the final version of the FastCGI extension from Microsoft that promises to bring enormous gains in terms of speed and stability when running PHP with IIS.
Unfortunately, when you look at the minimum requirements, you will see that only Windows 2003 server is supported. No playing around with your XP laptop or those old windows 2000 boxes that still occupy a huge chunk of the server room. My guess is that with a little tweaking you might make it work on other platforms (as you can get IIS installed on Xp home), but then support from MS would be less than forthcoming…
Another great piece of technology to make PHP usable in the MS ecosystem is an improved driver to connect to SQL Server: the standard php driver is known for not being 100% stable, with the syndrome I have most frequently seen on live servers being connections sometimes being dropped/connection attempts aborted.
The beta (tcp) version is also available from MS since October. Or at least it should: I have been trying unsuccessfully to download it for a couple of days, and always end up on a broken download server.
The platform support here is broader, starting with windows 200 sp4. Unfortunately, this extension needs the the Microsoft SQL Server Native Client to work, which is not available on any non-ms platform. The most common php platform (linux+apache+php) will thus reap no benefits from this improved driver – the source being of course closed.
All in all, some steps are being taken in the right direction. Let’s just hope than more will be in the future.