by billhilf on October 31, 2006 08:30am

Today I had the opportunity to attend and present at the Zend/PHP Conference and Expo in San Jose.  I was here to announce a technical collaboration between Zend and Microsoft that will improve the performance of PHP on Windows Server (and down the road Longhorn Server).  You can read the specific details of the collaboration here.

As part of my presentation, we performed a demo showing a before and after scenario.  We first showed PHP running on Windows Server before the enhancements- then again after.  On the latter, I’m pleased to say that we consistently achieved 100% performance gains and on some applications a 150% improvement.   All treats, no tricks…that’s right 100-150%.   

So what are we doing exactly?

    • Core PHP and IIS Collaboration. Zend and Microsoft are working to develop PHP performance improvements to increase the performance of PHP on Windows.  Microsoft will work with engineers from Zend and the PHP community to identify and implement improvements for PHP on IIS6 (part of Windows Server 2003) and IIS7 (Windows Server ‘Longhorn’ 32 bit and 64 bit editions). These improvements will be submitted under the PHP license to the PHP community.  Additionally, Microsoft will develop and release an IIS add-on component (FastCGI) that will serve as the interface between PHP and the IIS webserver. This FastCGI component will be made freely available from Microsoft for users of Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server ‘Longhorn.’
    • Continuous Testing & Engineering. Zend will establish a Windows testing lab and conduct regular tests and performance improvements to maintain high performance of PHP on Windows as Zend, PHP and Microsoft technologies evolve. This lab will be comprised of a cluster of Windows Server boxes (both 32-bit and 64-bit) and a testing framework which will be used to run tests prior to major releases of PHP. The results of these tests will be used by the engineers to identify and fix bugs.
    • Community Participation. Zend and Microsoft will continue to actively participate in the community to answer questions and, in general, help out.

PHP, being the third most popular development language today, is an important addition to the options available to developers who want to leverage the Windows Server platform, and the overall Microsoft ecosystem. According to Zend’s internal statistics, the majority of PHP developers already use Windows as their application development platform – over 70%.  Improving their experience with running PHP applications on Windows for production is a natural next step.

In the end, we believe the real winners in this technical collaboration are PHP developers who now have viable options when thinking about platform of choice for their PHP applications.  Of course, that means our mutual customers benefit from PHP applications as well as the choice of technologies that best suit their needs. To make sure this not only happens today, but going forward, both Microsoft and Zend will be active participants in the PHP community to ensure open communications and a continually improving experience for PHP developers in Microsoft environments.

As I have said before, interoperability does not happen by accident.  This announcement is the result of a lot of hard work by people from both Microsoft and Zend.  I personally want to thank Andi Gutmans, CTO and co-founder of Zend Technologies.  Andi and I have been in discussions for a long while now and I’m very happy to see the great results from a conversation started long ago.  We have been working with Zend over the past 6 months to put all of the pieces in place.  From the technical work on FastCGI to helping Zend create an engineering lab to improve PHP as it develops over time.   This is the first step in an ongoing relationship.

And for those of you in North America, Happy Halloween!