Reflecting on PHP-Microsoft Interoperability

This morning I came across this article on Blast from the Past – One Year Ago in PHP. That brief look into the past got me to thinking about what Microsoft has done lately toward PHP interoperability. (By “lately”, I mean in the last few years.) And, I’ve been working on a presentation for TechEd in Berlin next month that will, in part, provide a brief overview of Microsoft’s efforts toward PHP interoperability and support. So, I thought I’d share a bit of that summary here…


  • Running PHP on Windows/IIS/SQL Server was not really an option. PHP itself was optimized for running on Linux, IIS was using CGI to handle PHP requests (which meant an entire PHP process spun up/torn down for each PHP request!), and access to SQL Server was mainly achieved through the php_mssql extension (which was based on deprecated DBLib technology).


  • The IIS team implemented FastCgi to handle PHP requests. In retrospect, this may have been the single biggest step toward improving PHP performance on Windows/IIS. Now, multiple PHP processes could handle PHP requests and the these processes could be recycled without being torn down.


  • The SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.0 was released. This driver was built as a thin wrapper of SQL Native Access Client (SNAC), Microsoft’s implementation of ODBC. SNAC is the state-of-the-art Win32 access to SQL Server. Engineers are constantly improving and testing SNAC code, so building a PHP driver on top of it made for a highly efficient, feature-rich driver. And, the source code for the driver was released under an open source license.
  • The IIS team also introduced the URL Rewrite Module for IIS, a highly requested feature aimed at enabling SEO-friendly URLs.



And that really just covers the highlights. I haven’t mentioned all of the community-contributed projects on, the many PHP applications that have added or are adding SQL Server support, or the work that I know is in progress but can’t talk about yet. :-(

Do we still have work to do? Absolutely. Lots of work. But I like the trajectory and the momentum. What do you think? Are we heading in the right direction? Why or why not? I’d love to hear others’ perceptions of the recent history of PHP-Microsoft interoperability and thoughts about future direction.



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1 Comment

  • Things are WAY better. The changes made hosting PHP on Windows effective. I have been able to avoid Linux hosting. Thanks for all the hard work and I look forward to the things to come.

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