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The vast number of Php programmers and Php based web applications currently available has certainly caught Microsoft’s attention. Php has always been performing like a second class citizen in the Windows realm. It’s performance in Windows have always been way under par if compared to running under Linux.

Microsoft has been working together with Zend for the last one year to come up with a new CGI engine – FastCGI. After all the testings and feedbacks from early testers, Microsoft finally released the RTM version of FastCGI. FastCGI comes native in Windows 2008 and Vista SP1. For Windows XP and 2003, the FastCGI can be downloaded freely from Microsoft.

So, if you are into Php development and would like to see Php perform better on the Windows XP or Windows 2003 platform, go on over to Microsoft and download the FastCGI RTM. You might also want to check out Mike Volodarsky’s site should you need more assistance in deploying FastCGI. He is like THE Man to ask for assistance when it comes to FastCGI. The IIS.Net web site is also another source of information available for running Php in IIS.

FastCGI is only one part of the solution for Microsoft to entice developers to use Windows as a Php platform. In order to run a production level website on Windows, a database server would also be required. The current database of choice for Php development is MySQL. Yes, MySQL runs fine in Windows. However, some may say that it is not as scalable as SQL Server to be used in an enterprise wide solution.

In order to beef up Php support in Windows, Microsoft, on October 9th released a Community Technology Preview (CTP) version of their SQL Server Driver for Php. It is basically a Php 5 Extension that allows developers to connect to SQL Servers in Windows. The CTP can be downloaded from the Microsoft SQL Server Driver for Php site. Well, some of you who’ve done Php and SQLServer before might argue that there already exists an extension for SQLServer – the MSSQL Extension. Those of you who think that should head on over to Stu on Php for a little bit of enlightening of the issues pertaining to the existing MSSQL Extension.

However, since this extension requires the availability of the MS SQL Server Native Client, you can only use it on Windows. Thus, if you have a Linux based Php solution, but still want to use SQL Server as the backend DB, you’ll need to use other available SQL Server drivers such as ODBTP and ADODb.

That’s it. The two most important component to turn more developers and solutions from Linux.Apache.MySQL.Php to Windows.IIS.SQLServer.Php. After all, surely no one wants to run their solution on WIMP right?