Miami 311: Built on Windows Azure

This is a cool use of Azure. The city of Miami tool their “311” data around potholes, trash pickup issues, recycling issues, broken sidewalks and the like and put that data in Azure. The next step is that they leveraged Bing Maps and Silverlight to visualize those issues spread on a map of the city.

The solution takes advantage of virtually unlimited storage and processing power, provides the ability to quickly address service requests and implement updates even during peak times such as hurricane season. If things change, the City can bring the solution on site or move to a physical facility, all based on  need and cost-effectiveness.

As a result, residents logging on to Miami 311 can see on average 4,500 issues in progress – not represented as a ‘list’, but located on a map in relation to other projects in their neighborhood .  A simple click on the map allows them to easily drill down to more and more specific details if they want.

In short, they have turned what used to be represented by a meaningless list of data into useful information, and created  actionable and consumable knowledge that is relevant to the citizens of Miami. For Miami, their ‘service call to the city’ becomes an interactive process they can follow – and the City has a new tool to manage and deliver outcomes.

When the city made the move to the web, they chose tools they knew and software they trust. The Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform made it easy to do, and they used both Bing mapping and Silverlight to build a user friendly front end.

According to Port25 (Miami 311: Built on Windows Azure – Port 25: The Open Source Community at Microsoft), it took two people 8 days to implement the whole system and they are going to open source their solution so that other cities can leverage it. I haven’t seen yet where and how they are going to release it but I’ll keep you posted if I find out.

Microsoft Contributing More to OSS

image I’m all excited – Microsoft has signed the Joomla! Contributor Agreement. You can read about that on the official Joomla! blog – Microsoft signs the Joomla! Contributor Agreement.

There’s a couple of fairly momentous things about that statement.

Obviously it means that Microsoft employees can contribute to Joomla!. That’s exciting all by itself as Joomla! is the second largest PHP application in the world. In fact, that’s already happened in conjunction with the signing as Ruslan Yakushev and Don Raman have already contributed code to add WinCache support to Joomla! Read all about the fantastic performance gains that you can get in Don’s post here – http://blogs.iis.net/donraman/archive/2010/03/05/performance-improvement-in-joomla-using-wincache-user-cache.aspx.

However, the thing that’s really exciting to me is that what it means is that the Microsoft legal department has signed off on writing GPL’d code under the right circumstances. That’s awesome! It’s a clear demonstration of how far Microsoft has come in it’s commitment to OSS projects. Now, I’ve got my own issues with the GPL as I think that it strips the consumer of all of their rights but that’s for a different discussion.

At this point we have a ton of great OSS work going on.

IronRuby is actually accepting contributions back.

Microsoft has contributed 20k lines of code to the Linux Kernel

There’s the CodePlex.com OSS project hosting.

In fact, there’s a list of over 400 projects that Microsoft is participating in actively at http://www.microsoft.com/opensource/directory.aspx.

And that list is not all inclusive as the SQL Server team has contributed code to a lot of different projects including PHPBB.

It’s a fun time to be working at Microsoft as we are in a transformational period finding the right balance between OSS and proprietary code, between selling stuff in boxes to finding interesting ways to monetize online beyond just ad sales and much more.

Microsoft UX Kit

image Have you ever wondered what was possible with Silverlight, WPF or any of Microsoft’s User Experience (UX) technologies? Well, Christian Thilmany has answered that question in the form of the Microsoft UX Kit.

From his blog:

Today at SXSW, of which Microsoft Silverlight is a major sponsor of the Interactive Festival,  Microsoft User Experience Kit is targeted at technical and creative leads who want to better understand the tools, technologies, and scenarios that span Microsoft’s User Experience ecosystem.  Key topics range from “Building Immersive Multi-channel Solutions using Expression Studio” to “High fidelity and high Performing Desktop Touch Applications using Windows 7” to “Web Branding and Audience Targeting using SharePoint”.  The kit’s contents can be browsed online and/or downloaded for offline use.  It includes videos, presentations, sample code, and much more. Get the kit at http://uxkit.cloudapp.net!

It’s done a lot for me in helping opening my eyes to new ideas around media publishing, audience marketing, how to leverage the 3 screen types (Desktop, TV, Mobile) and a lot more. It’s really excited my imagination.

That and there’s a ton of good code that you can download from the site as well so you can get some really god jump starts on the code.

 

Microsoft User Experience Kit launched today at SXSW

PDO Driver for SQL Server CTP

The SQL Server team had a great announcement yesterday at DrupalCon in San Francisco. They announced the availability of a PDO Driver for SQL Server to give fantastic access to SQL Server from PHP. PDO is the PHP Data Objects extension that has become the standard way to do data access in PHP 5.0 or later projects that want to have some level of database agnosticism. Drupal, for example, uses the PDO driver for all of it’s database access.

The rough architecture for the 1.1 and 2.0 SQL Server drivers is outline below.

image 

In short, they centralized a lot of the core functionality into a common layer and have fairly thin wrappers over the top of that for the native and PDO drivers. This means that both will perform equally.

The great news for anyone who has written their applications with PDO rather than native drivers for a given database is that they should be able to plug in the new SQL Server PDO driver and start testing.

To be absolutely clear, however, PDO is not a full database abstraction. It doesn’t rewrite SQL statements of abstract away concepts such as MySQL Limits and the like. If you are using database specific features like that, you will have to rewrite those bits in your project.

See the official announcement on the SQL Server team’s blog at Interoperability @ Microsoft : SQL Server Driver for PHP 2.0 CTP adds PHP’s PDO style data access for SQL Server

Creating a Simple PHP Blog in Azure

In this post, I want to walk through creating a simple Azure application that will show a few pages, leverage Blob storage, Table storage and generally get you started doing PHP on Azure development. In short, we are going to write a very simple PHP Blog engine for Azure.

To be very clear, this is not a pro blog engine and I don’t recommend using it in production. It’s a lab for you to try some things out and play with PHP on Azure development.

If you feel like cheating, all of the source code is available in the zip file at http://www.joshholmes.com/downloads/pablogengine001.zip.

0. Before you get started, you need to make sure that you have the PHP on Azure development environment setup. If you don’t, please follow the instructions at Easy Setup for PHP On Azure Development.

image

Create a Windows Azure Web Project

1. To accomplish this, click on File | New | Project.

2. In the New PHP Azure Web Project page, name the project PABlogEngine (for PHP on Azure Blog Engine).

3. Next you need to select Windows Azure Data Storage. Notice that we’re not selecting SQL Storage. We are going to be using Table and Blob Storage for this project.

4. Click Finish

Creating a Table Entity in PHP

The next step is to get a little setup stuff done. We are going to be using Entities to put into our Table.

1. Create a file called PABlogPost.php. This is going to contain our Entity that we are going to put into our Azure Table storage.

2. Fill out the PABlogPost.php as follows:

<?php
/*
 * Include the Windows Azure Table Storage helper class from the 
 * Windows Azure for PHP SDK
 */
require_once 'Microsoft/WindowsAzure/Storage/Table.php';

class PABlogPost extends Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_TableEntity
{
    /*
     * Notice the Doctrine style comments, some of which, 
     * such as $ImageType, have typing information. 
     * Anything that doesn't have a type is stored as a string. 
     */
    
    /**
     * @azure Title
     */
    public $Title;
    
    /**
     * @azure Description
     */
    public $Description;
    
    /**
     * @azure Author
     */
    public $Author;
    
    /**
     * @azure pubDate
     */
    public $pubDate;
    
    /**
     * @azure Image
     */
    public $Image;
    
    /**
     * @azure ImageUrlOriginal
     */
    public $ImageUrlOriginal;
    
    /**
     * @azure Type
     */
    public $ImageType;
    
    /**
     * @azure Size Edm.Int64
     */
    public $ImageSize;
    
    /**
     * @azure Visible Edm.Boolean
     */
    public $Visible = false;
}
?>

Setting up the utilities

The next step is to get a couple more utilities in place prior to actually writing our application. Specifically, we have two utility functions that we need to hit on and some system wide values.

1. Create a file called utility.php

2. Add the following two values to it.

$BLOG_TABLE = "blogposts";
$BLOG_POSTS_PARTITION = "posts";

We will use these whenever we are going to be accessing the table and or partition. This will let us quickly change them in one place if we ever need to.

The next thing that we need to do is have a consistent way to create our Table Storage Client as we’re using it on more than one page.

3. Add a function called createTableStorageClient as follows:

/**
 * Create Table Storage Client for table operations using account defined in ServiceConfiguration file
 *
 * @return Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_Table New storageclient for Azure Storage Table
 */ 
function createTableStorageClient()
{
  if (isset($_SERVER['USERDOMAIN']) && $_SERVER['USERDOMAIN'] == 'CIS')
  {
    $host = Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage::URL_CLOUD_TABLE;
    $accountName = azure_getconfig('AzureCloudStorageAccountName');
    $accountKey = azure_getconfig('AzureCloudStorageAccountKey');
    $usePathStyleUri = true;
    
    $retryPolicy = Microsoft_WindowsAzure_RetryPolicy::retryN(10, 250);
    
    $tableStorageClient = new Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_Table(
                              $host,
                              $accountName,
                              $accountKey,
                              $usePathStyleUri,
                              $retryPolicy
                              );
  }
  else
  {
    $tableStorageClient = new Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_Table();
  }
        
	return $tableStorageClient;
}

4. Lastly, we will need a unique identifier. I’m going to follow Maarten’s lead from the sample code that he’s produced and create a UUID with the following function.

// Generate UUID
function generateUuid($prefix = '')
{
	$chars = md5(uniqid(mt_rand(), true));
	$uuid  = substr($chars,0,8) . '-';
	$uuid .= substr($chars,8,4) . '-';
	$uuid .= substr($chars,12,4) . '-';
	$uuid .= substr($chars,16,4) . '-';
	$uuid .= substr($chars,20,12);
	return $prefix . $uuid;
}

Saving to Windows Azure Table Storage and Windows Azure Blob Storage

There are actually several steps to creating a new post. The first is gathering the information. Next is inserting the post into the table. After that, inserting any images et all into the blob storage, then updating the table if needed with that new information.

1. Create a file called CreateNewPost.php.

2. Insert any template/html code that you want to make it look decent but the primary thing that you need in this page is a form that will accept the correct data do a post back to a file called newpost.php as follows:

<form enctype="multipart/form-data" method="post" action="NewPost.php">
<input value="1048576" type="hidden" name="MAX_FILE_SIZE" />
Title:
<input name="posttitle" /><br />
Description:
<textarea rows="5" name="postdescription" type="text"></textarea><br />
Author:
<input name="postauthor" /><br />
Choose an image to upload:
<input type="file" name="imageUpload" /><br />
<br />
<input value="Create Post" type="submit" />
</form>

3. Create a new file called newpost.php

<?php
// Note that this code is NOT safe against various attacks and should be
// used for demonstrating the concepts of the application only.
// NEVER deploy to production without building correct checks!

// 1. Specify include path and include Windows Azure SDK for PHP
set_include_path( get_include_path() . PATH_SEPARATOR . $_SERVER["RoleRoot"]);
require_once 'utility.php';
require_once 'PABlogPost.php';

require_once 'Microsoft/WindowsAzure/Storage/Table.php';
require_once 'Microsoft/WindowsAzure/Storage/Blob.php';

// 2. Instantiate services and make sure table and blob container exist
$tableStorageClient = new Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_Table();
if (!$tableStorageClient->tableExists($BLOG_TABLE))
{
	$tableStorageClient->createTable($BLOG_TABLE);
}

$blobStorageClient = new Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_Blob();
if (!$blobStorageClient->containerExists($BLOG_TABLE))
{
	$blobStorageClient->createContainer($BLOG_TABLE);
	$blobStorageClient->setContainerAcl($BLOG_TABLE, Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_Blob::ACL_PUBLIC);
}

// 3. Add a record in Windows Azure Table Storage
$newpost = new PABlogPost($BLOG_POSTS_PARTITION, generateUuid());
$newpost->Title = $_POST["posttitle"]; 
$newpost->Description = $_POST["postdescription"]; 
$newpost->Author = $_POST["postauthor"]; 
$newpost->Image = $_FILES['imageUpload']['name'];
$newpost->ImageType = $_FILES['imageUpload']['type'];
$newpost->ImageSize = $_FILES['imageUpload']['size'];
$newpost->UrlOriginal = '';
$newpost = $tableStorageClient->insertEntity($BLOG_TABLE, $newpost);

// 4. Upload the image to blob storage
$blob = $blobStorageClient->putBlob($BLOG_TABLE, $newpost->getRowKey(), $_FILES['imageUpload']['tmp_name']);

// 5. Update the post to reflect the new image URL in the table
$newpost->ImageUrlOriginal = $blob->Url;
$newpost= $tableStorageClient->updateEntity($BLOG_TABLE, $newpost);

?>
<h1>New Post up!</h1>
    
<p>
	Your post has been created. Navigate to
	<!-- 6. Show the results -->
	<a href="post.php?id=<?php echo $newpost->getRowKey(); ?>"><?php echo $newpost->Title; ?></a>
	to see your new post.
</p>

Reading from Windows Azure Table Storage

We are almost done. The last thing that we need to do is to show the results for a specific post and to modify the index.php to show all of the posts.

1. Create a new file called post.php. We already referred to this page in the newpost.php file.

2. Fill out this post.php as follows:

<?php
set_include_path( get_include_path() . PATH_SEPARATOR . $_SERVER["RoleRoot"]);
require_once 'utility.php';
require_once 'PABlogPost.php';
// 1. Include the table storage information

require_once 'Microsoft/WindowsAzure/Storage/Table.php'; // 2. Instantiate services $tableStorageClient = new Microsoft_WindowsAzure_Storage_Table(); // 3. Fetch post details $Id = $_REQUEST['id']; $post = $tableStorageClient->retrieveEntityById($BLOG_TABLE, $BLOG_POSTS_PARTITION, $Id); ?> <h1><?php echo $post->Title; ?></h1> <table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2"> <tr> <td rowspan="2"> <img src="<?php echo $post->ImageUrlOriginal; ?>" alt="<?php echo $post->Title; ?>" /> </td> <td> <?php echo ' - Title: <b>' . $post->Title . "</b><br/>"; echo ' - Description: ' . $post->Description . "<br/>"; echo ' - Author: ' . $post->Author . "<br/>"; echo ' - Author: ' . $post->Author . "<br/>"; echo ' - pubDate ' - $post->pubDate . "<br/>"; ?> </td> </tr> </table> <a href='/'>Home</a>

There’s a couple of things to notice about this code.

First, notice that we’re not talking to blob storage in the PHP code. All we are doing is putting in a link to the blob with the $post->ImageUrlOriginal. This is because the blob storage is giving us a restful endpoint that we need.

Another thing to notice is that it’s not doing any checks for exceptions. You will want to do that in your code.

3. The last thing that we need to do is the index.php. Fill it out as follows:

<?php
set_include_path(get_include_path() . PATH_SEPARATOR . $_SERVER["RoleRoot"] . "\\approot\\");

require_once 'utility.php';
require_once 'PABlogPost.php';
/**
 * Refer PHP Azure SDK library files for Azure Storage Services Operations
 */
require_once 'Microsoft/WindowsAzure/Storage.php';
require_once 'Microsoft/WindowsAzure/Storage/Table.php';

$tableStorageClient = createTableStorageClient();

if ($tableStorageClient->tableExists($BLOG_TABLE))
{
	/**
	 * Performing queries. Notice that we are not using a filter. 
	 */
	$posts = $tableStorageClient->retrieveEntities(
		$BLOG_TABLE,
		'',
		'PABlogPost'
	);

	echo "Blog posts:<br />";
	foreach ($posts as $post)
	{
		echo '<p>';
		echo '<b><a href="post.php?id=' . $post->getRowKey() . 
			'">' .$post->Title . '</a></b>';
		echo ' - Description: ' . $post->Description . "<br/>";
		echo ' - Author: ' . $post->Author . "<br/>";
		echo ' - Author: ' . $post->Author . "<br/>";
		echo '</p>';
	}
}
?>

imageConclusion

At this point, we have a very rudimentary blog written in PHP on the Azure platform that is using Table Storage and Blob Storage for all of it’s data. Couple of key points to hit on are that this is not using a traditional database.

I will very likely continue to enhance this little toy application over time as I try showing off more and more things in PHP on Azure.

Again, all of the source code is available in the zip file at http://www.joshholmes.com/downloads/pablogengine001.zip.

*Update* Someone was having issues with this one and emailed me. The error that they were getting was:

Fatal error: Uncaught exception ‘Microsoft_Http_Transport_Exception’ with message ‘cURL error occured during request for http://127.0.0.1:10002/devstoreaccount1/Tables?NextTableName=test: 7 – couldn’t connect to host’

Turns out that they had not started the Development Storage service so there was nothing for cURL to connect to in the first place. To start it, start the Development Fabric (the computation engine). Once the Development Fabric is up and running, you will need to right click on the Dev Fabric icon in the system tray and select Start Development Storage Service.

clip_image001

At this point you should be good to go.

BTW – if you actually play with this code, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it either in email at josh (dot) holmes (at) microsoft (dot) com or in the comments below.

Easy Setup for PHP On Azure Development

I just got back from the JumpIn Camp in fantastic Zurich, Switzerland. I’ll blog about that whole experience shortly. In the meantime, however, I thought I’d get some resources out here that would have been useful last week. 🙂 Specifically in this post, I thought I’d tackle the Windows Azure 4 Eclipse tooling setup.

There are two major things that we need to do. First is to get the Windows Azure SDK installed. The reality is that this is all that you *really* need to do Windows Azure development and testing. However, we want to do our PHP development with the Eclipse toolset for Azure. This gives us debugging support and a lot of great helpers.

Installing the Windows Azure 1.1 February 2010 SDK

First, we need to get the requirements for the Windows Azure 1.1 February SDK itself installed.

To get started, we need to have Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 or later. Really, I recommend that you go with Windows 7 if you have to upgrade.

Enabling ASP.NET and CGI in Windows Features The next thing that you need is to enable IIS with ASP.NET and CGI support. This is easier than it might seem. In the Control Panel, find “Turn Windows Features on or off”. On Vista, you might have to open Add/Remove Programs to find that option. Here, you need to navigate down the tree and find Internet Information Services | World Wide Web Service | Application Development Features and enable ASP.NET and CGI. That will auto select the other dependencies such as .NET Extensibility and ISAPI Extensions and Filters.

Once you complete that, you need to install some version of SQL Server 2005 or later. The one that I recommend, if you don’t have SQL Server already installed is Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Express.

Those are all of requirements the Windows Azure 1.1 February 2010 SDK. At this point we can download and install it.

Installing Eclipse with the Windows Azure for Eclipse tooling

The next step is to install Eclipse itself. Eclipse is written in Java so you will need the Java JRE 5 or later. 5 is no longer supported so I recommend that you go with Java JRE Standard Edition Version 6.

Once that’s installed, it’s a simple matter of downloading the PDT 2.1 All In Ones / Eclipse PHP Package and unzipping it into a folder. The PDT version of Eclipse comes with a lot of tools for PHP including perspectives for PHP, the Zend debugger, XDebug, syntax highlighting and more. The Windows Azure 4 Eclipse tooling builds on this.

Now, you need to install the Windows Azure 4 Eclipse tooling. To do that, open Eclipse and select Help | Install New Software. Click “Add” and put in Windows Azure For Eclipse for the title and http://www.windowsazure4e.org/update for the location. In the tree below, select all three pieces and follow the rest of the wizard.

image

This installs the Windows Azure for PHP SDK and a lot of tooling inside of Eclipse to get you set up.

At this point, you are technically ready to go but I recommend doing a few more things.

Quick Tips to Make Things Smoother

There are a number of little things that we discovered throughout the week that will make things easier for you.

PHP Version Conflicts

The first thing to do is to check to see if you’re going to have any conflicts between the version of PHP on your disk and the version of PHP that comes with the Eclipse tooling. The conflict is that even if both versions are PHP 5.2.13, the version that Eclipse uses is the thread-safe version and the one that everyone else in the world uses is the non-thread-safe version because most people don’t do threading in PHP anyways (I know you do Liz Smith but you’re not most people…). This happens if you’ve used the PHP Installer or the Web Platform Installer to get PHP on your box because both of them put PHP in the %Path% which is the right thing to do. The issue comes in when the Azure DevFabric starts PHP-CGI.exe from your Azure install but that executable looks in the path for it’s dependencies. It finds the non-thread-safe libraries and throws an exception. Oops.

*update* I had a much better idea than the below – check out my new post on resolving the PHP Version conflicts at Resolving PHP Version Conflicts While Developing For Azure”

There are a couple of fixes that you could leverage, none of which are ideal. One is to just install the thread-safe version on your box. There are two issues here. First is that you are now using the thread-safe version of PHP on your own box and it might not be that one in the cloud. The second issue is that you are using your php.ini file from the c:\Program Files (x86)\PHP\ folder. This is not really an issue if you remember this fact and make sure that you deploy that PHP.ini file and set of extensions that you want to deploy.

The other fix, the one that I’ve chosen to do most of the time, is to simply rename the PHP directory on my disk (typically at c:\Program Files\PHP or c:\Program Files (x86)\PHP) when I’m doing Azure development and rename it back when I want to do local development. This is a little bit of a pain sometimes but it’s easier to find these issues than the subtle ones that could be introduced by the other technique.

Resolving the mystery 500 Error

Unfortunately, there’s not a great way to divine what is causing the 500 error in some cases. The one that I see most often is the PHP version conflict. Others include database connection errors, file permissions issues, uncaught exceptions and the like. There are two ways to handle this.

The first is to make heavy use of the logging facilities to write out to the dev fabric manager’s UI the exception.

The second way is to attach either the Zend debugger or XDebug to the Dev Fabric and step through the issue. The way to do that is to

Zend Debugger and Windows Azure DevFabric Storage

Changing the Zend Debugging PortThe first thing is that the Windows Azure DevFabric Storage uses port 10000. This is not a bad thing except that the Zend Debugger, by default, also uses port 10000. The end result is if you launch Eclipse and then try to start the development fabric storage engine, you’ll get a conflict.

Specifically, the error is from the Development Storage engine – “The process cannot access the file because it is being used by another process”. This is a bizarre error that doesn’t actually give you correct information. The way to fix this is in Eclipse, go to Windows | Preferences, find the Zend Debugger settings and edit the port.

Download Windows Azure for PHP Contrib Project

There are a couple of things that are not in the Windows Azure for PHP SDK. A couple of specific examples are Azure Drives, editing the PHP.ini and more. That’s all found in the Windows Azure for PHP Contrib project by Maarten Balliauw. Fun story on this is that at JumpIn Camp Maarten looked over at me and asked me if there was a way to mount Azure drives in PHP. I said that I didn’t think so. 20 minutes later, he called me over to show me that he had gotten it working. He spent another 20 minutes cleaning it up and committed his patch to the Windows Azure for PHP Contrib

Creating a Hello World Azure Application with Eclipse

Select Windows Azure Web Project This has walked you through the setup of the Windows Azure 4 Eclipse tooling and now you’re ready to get started with your first Azure application to test the install and all.

To test the install, click File | New | Project. In the New Project Wizard, expand the tree to find PHP | Windows Azure Web Project.

Click Next.

PHP Azure Project WizardIn the PHP Azure Project, name the project Hello World and select the Windows Azure Data Storage option.

Click Finish.

This will create the project and give you some starter code that you can work with. To do that, select the project in the PHP Explorer and select from the menu Windows Azure | Run in Development Fabric. This will package the application and then launch it in the DevFabric. If it’s not running, it will give you the user access control admin permissions screen twice, once for the DevFabric Compute and once for the DevFabric Storage.

PHP InfoNext will launch the browser and navigate to your application running in the DevFabric. The simple Hello World show PHPInfo().

Soon, I’ll post about writing a slightly more complex application.

Please use the comments on this post to let me know if you were successful or not in getting the PHPInfo() to show…

PHP On Azure Resources

I’m at JumpIn Camp in Zurich and we’ve been diving deep into PHP on Azure. One of the things that we’ve done is talk about a ton of resources that are available out there on the web to learn more about PHP on Azure. To that end, I thought I’d collect a few of them here on my blog.

In the morning, I talked at a high level about what Azure is, how the various roles work and how to run PHP on Azure. My deck that I used was the first half of the same deck that I used on the PHP On Azure World Tour.

Another great starting point and set of resources is Maarten Balliauw’s Blog itself. He’s been helping out here at JumpIn Camp from a technical perspective on Azure and running PHP on Windows in the first place. He did the next part of the session diving deep into the PHP on Azure SDK.

You’ll notice some overlap between our desk because we’re largely talking about the same SDK and leveraging the same code examples.

Maarten’s first deck that he used to talk about Blog, Queue and Table storage is:

The second one that Maarten used to talk about SQL Azure is:

Maarten also did a demo of an app called ImageCloud leverages both a Web and Worker role to do front end uploading of an image and backend processing of that image. That code can be found at ImageCloud Azure Demo Application.

For some great resources on architecture guidance, take a look at Windows Azure Architecture Guidance. This is put out by the Patterns and Practices group at Microsoft.

 

Another great resource is Benchmarking and Guidance for Windows Azure. This was created and launched by the Extreme Computing Group (aka XCG).

 

More resources:

Microsoft Windows Azure Interop

Microsoft Interop Bridges

Windows Azure 4 Eclipse

PHP Azure SDK

Windows Azure MySQL PHP Solution Accelerator

 

I’ll be adding to these resources over the course of the week so check back for lots more.

Making PHP faster on IIS

I’ve been doing quite a bit of work with PHP on the Microsoft stack recently. That includes my work with PHP on Azure and moving my blog to WordPress. I’ll be honest though and say that I’m simply standing on the shoulders of giants. The PHP on IIS team, including Ruslan Yakushev, the Web Application Gallery team, including Faith Allington, Crystal Hoyer and Mai-lan Tomsen Bukovec (all three of whom I wish would start blogging), the Microsoft Web marketing team (who happen to be extremely technical and are a credit to marketers everywhere), including Mark Brown, the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center (OSTC).

An example of this is that when I spoke at WordCamp Ireland, I talked about the amazing improvements in FastCGI over the past few years, the Web Application Gallery and Web Platform Installer (WebPI), URL Redirect, WinCache and many other things that Microsoft is doing to embrace open source technologies. My slides are below:

Now you can hear about these improvements from Ruslan Yakushev and Mark Brown themselves talking about these improvements, specifically the ones related to performance, with the good folks over at PHP Architect on a webcast…

For all the details, check out the web cast at Making PHP faster on IIS!