Microsoft loves PHP, at long last! (or does it?)

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.

6 thoughts on “Microsoft loves PHP, at long last! (or does it?)”

  1. Microsoft likes money, PHP has a lot of developers creating sites with LAMP, etc. As a former FoxBase/FoxPro guy, PHP is pretty easy language to pick up from that experience.

    I think Microsoft sees their web serving client base dropping as people go to PHP and then transition to Linux to run it, as PHP works so well on that platform, and when there they will likely go to MySQL or PostgreSQL. Having PHP and MSSQL on PHP better supported on their servers is a way to tell the developers you can do PHP and remain comfortable (a client) with Microsoft.

    I just hope they don’t try to force an IE requirement as they build their PHP code libraries for MS developers.

  2. The download worked fine for me. If you want the file (exe) send me an email at the address I posted with.

  3. And as soon as they conquered a major share in the webserver market they will kick PHP out by cutting proper FastCGI support.
    Then the php developers will run into problems getting their solutions deployed at customers and have to switch to .net 😉

    Call me a gloomster but I belive its their strategy

  4. @tobmaster: even though such tactics might very well be in Ms chords, here they are playing catchup to the technology most used / with most mindshare in web development.
    One more sell of an IIS server is good for Microsoft, even if it has php onboard instead of .net, because it is one linux server less.
    As soon as they start making php support flaky, the majority of web developers will turn back to their cherished LAMP stack rather than switch to .net.

  5. @giunta_getano: No the way back won’t work that easily. Because once your customers are migrated it will be much harder to get them back to another plattform. Especially when its MS.

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