I'm attending ZendCon today and giving a demo in the keynote presentation by Andi Gutmans, one of the creators of PHP, and co-founder of Zend. I am really excited to be a part of the announcement of technical collaboration between Microsoft and Zend to enhance the performance and reliability of PHP on Windows and IIS. You can read more details about the agreement in today's Press Release. There are so many good things about this project, I wanted to share my personal view on why I think this is such an exciting announcement for the broader Web community.
Both PHP and Windows Server have been growing in popularity over the past few years in the Web site and Web application market. While a CGI and ISAPI version of PHP have been available for Windows for quite a while, many developers have reported technical issues related to a lack of good integration between PHP and IIS. The truth is CGI on Windows/IIS can be horribly slow. And while the PHP engine itself is fully multi-threaded, many of the community PHP extensions are not, resulting in poor reliability of the ISAPI version. Today's announcement of FastCGI support from Microsoft for IIS is one step towards solving this integration issue.
The second, and equally exciting part of the announcement is that Zend has agreed to focus on enhancing the core PHP engine performance on Windows, and as you can see from my other blog post, we've already made excellent progress in that dimension. Zend is also setting up a Windows test lab for PHP, focused on ensuring the performance and reliability of PHP on Windows is enhanced and maintained over time as the PHP project evolves. Zend will submit these performance and reliability enhacements to the PHP community on a regular basis.
All of this is a win for the PHP community. It means developers who choose PHP as a dynamic application framework can now choose Windows as both a development and deployment platform. It means companies who develop or purchase PHP applications can continue to use their existing Windows servers to host these applications. And for the Web hosting community, it means PHP can be enabled for Windows hosting accounts, and PHP applications can be run on hosted Windows servers.
If you aren't familiar with Zend, and you're considering PHP as a Web application framework, I recommend you head on over to their Web site and check-out who they are and what they offer. Zend was founded by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski, developers who were key contributors to the origin of PHP, and very bright, talented individuals who have a long history of involvement in the Web community. As a business, Zend offers commercial packages which add advanced capabilities to PHP They also offer support packages for PHP, something most businesses find a crucial factor in choosing a development platform.
To everyone in the PHP community, especially the many contributors that make PHP great, I look forward to meeting you and working with you! If you find issues or want to give feedback on Microsoft's FastCGI component for IIS, join the IIS community and visit the IIS5.1/IIS6 FastGI forum, or the IIS7 FastCGI forum.
Conclusion and Credits
This has been a really fun project, and it is great to see it launch to the world. I imagine it is one of those things that may take a few people by surprise, hopefully a good one. ;)
This project wouldn't have been possible without a lot of dedicated and hard working people. The FastCGI feature itself only started development about 6 weeks ago and has come A LONG way in such a short period of time. Special thanks go to Rick and Wade (developers), Marchel and Cip (test), and Mike (pm) for working long hours, nights, and weekends to prepare the technical preview release now available on iis.net. I also need to thank Shawn Nandi and Anna Kinney (business development) for doing all the legwork on the agreement with Zend, and Bill Hilf for his vision and executive support. Last, I need to especially thank Andi at Zend, for their willingness to partner with Microsoft on this project.