I met Joost back at WordCamp Ireland back in March. That was a fun time. He and I talked about just about everything from being fathers to deep technical bits comparing various types of caching mechanisms. He even helped me with a number of SEO tips on my web site. Not sure if you’ve noticed but I’m turning up in a lot more searches thanks to him – he knows his stuff. Don’t believe me? Think just for a moment about how competitive this field is and then do a search for WordPress SEO in your favorite search engine and tell me what you think then… 😉
I haven’t actually met Frederick yet but he comes with just a touch of credibility himself being the CTO of Mashable. He’s also the maintainer of the W3 Total Cache plugin. I’m a little jealous of him at the moment though as he’s been based in Florence, Italy for the past year or so… Must be rough.
One thing I will say though is that it’s becoming imperative that I get one of those spankin cartoon avatars.
The show was good but it *flew* by. Before I knew it, the WebMasterRadio dude was IMing us that we had 2 minutes left. All I could think about at points was that I hadn’t even mentioned the SEO toolkit, Windows Live Writer, URL Rewrite and a ton of other stuff that I wanted to get to. Oh well, we talked about a bunch of stuff. Maybe I can convince them there’s enough interesting content to do another show at some point.
So, what I did have time to talk about was a bunch of stuff. We started off with a little bit about me – (which is always a little embarrassing and I hate doing it but it is what it is).
Joost started off by talking about how I ended up on the show in the first place. About a month ago, Zach Owens and some other guys from Redmond launched a site called http://wordpress.visitmix.com which talks about running WordPress on Windows and how great of an experience that can be. Not only that but there’s another micro-site that just went up at http://www.microsoft.com/web/wordpress. On both of these sites you can find links to the Web Platform Installer, the SQL Server plug-in for WordPress (in beta right now), plug-ins written by Microsoft for WordPress such as Windows Azure Storage for WordPress which allows us to store our files on Azure Storage for all of our media.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this site (JoshHolmes.com) is actually a WordPress blog as well. I switched over from dasBlog a few months back. dasBlog served me well but it was getting time to move on and WordPress was at the top of the list. Joost was actually the one that convinced me to migrate to WordPress. It didn’t take a tremendous amount of work to do it either. I used DasBlogML to suck out all of the content and then I imported it into WordPress, converted my theme over and was happy.
In addition to WordPress specific things stuff going on at Microsoft, there’s been a lot of support for PHP in general that has gone into IIS, SQL Server and many more of the Microsoft platforms. WinCache, for example, is a great caching tool for PHP on IIS. Just turning it on will result in a 3x or so improvement in performance in PHP on IIS. RuslanY has a great post on getting WinCache support into WordPress. And if you want to see how well it’s working, check out this module that shows you WinCache stats in WordPress. It was written by Kanwaljeet Singla who is the engineer behing FastCGI and WinCache. Cool stuff.
We also talked a little about JumpIn Camp and what happened there. phpBB getting into the Web Application Gallery and adding SQL Server support was one of the huge things that came out of that.
We also chatted about SQL Server a little. Frederick asked me about, to frame it in context for those that are not database or back end nuts, why this was important. It was a good question. In short, there’s a couple of really good reasons why someone would care. The first is that if one is at a company that already has SQL Server, it’s going to make a lot more sense to stand up your WordPress blog on SQL Server rather than introducing a new database engine and more administration to the existing infrastructure. A second great reason is that SQL Server has a ton of fantastic features that WordPress module authors could leverage such as Spatial Data or the fantastic analytics and reporting services that it offers. I teased Joost a little on the podcast about writing a module about that, but I think he knows as well as I do that I was serious as a heart attack that it would be an awesome set of modules. I’m hoping that Joost and others will take that challenge and run with it. If you do, let me know – I’ll be happy to help with whatever technical know-how that you need.
Then we turned to PHP on Azure. This happens to be a passion of mine and I talk about it a lot… I probably rambled a little on it talking about the differences between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) and what specifically Azure offers. If I was redoing the conversation, I would have cut a little on this conversation in favor of some of the things I didn’t mention such as URL rewrite… Oh well – I’ll do that here.
After that we went back to talking about the plug-ins that we found on http://www.microsoft.com/web/wordpress. There’s a handful of really good ones out there. One that struck Joost’s fancy is the Bing Maps plug in. Using WordPress short code and this plug in, it’s really simple to throw in a Bing Map on your blog.
Somewhere in here we were given the 2 minute warning.
All I had time left to talk about was the Toughest Developer Puzzle Ever.
I had a blast on the podcast and hope to be a repeat guest at some point.