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by Peter Galli on May 29, 2009 10:32am
Microsoft Malaysia is helping sponsor a competition, known as LAMP2WIN, designed to help ensure that PHP applications run well on both Windows and open source platforms.
The competition, themed ‘World of Interoperability,' is being organized by PHP.net.my and involves migrating PHP applications from the Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP (LAMP) stack to the Windows platform.
All 20 applications selected were developed for LAMP, with either partial or no support for the Windows platform.
LAMP2WIN contestants will be assigned one of 20 Open Source applications on a round-robin basis across five different categories - blog, forum, eCommerce, wiki and CMS/portal.
Each of the more than 40 contestants will be given a hosted space that supports PHP, IIS and SQL Server, and they will then be able to upload and operationalize their migrated applications to this space at any time during the competition.
These uploaded and operational entries will be viewed and judged by both the public and the official judges. Contestants are also encouraged to blog about their experience while performing the migration, which will help the judges understand the development processes taken.
PHP.net.my founder Ahmad Amran was recently quoted in MIS Asia saying that "as PHP specialists, we realise and utilise the powerful capabilities of PHP, but the shortcomings of some open-source applications available only on certain platforms set off a light bulb in our heads. Why limit ourselves to only one platform when the ecosystem is derived of so many other platforms?"
"This is why we are calling all Malaysian PHP developers to showcase their skills through LAMP2WIN to demonstrate the relevance of interoperability. The underlying idea of the competition is not about selecting the best application, but to contribute back to the Malaysian software ecosystem by providing choice to the people," Amran said.
LAMP2WIN follows a similar competition earlier this year in Japan, designed to get competitive LAMP engineers to increase the volume of technical information around PHP/IIS and application compatibility. The competition was titled "Install Maniax 2008".
A total of 100 engineers were chosen to compete and seeded with Dell server hardware and the Windows Web Server 2008 operating system. They were then required to deploy Windows Server/IIS and make the Web Server accessible from the Internet. They also had to run popular PHP/Perl applications on IIS and publish technical documentation on how to configure those applications to run on IIS.
A total of 71 applications out of the targeted 75 were ported onto IIS, of which 47 were newly ported to IIS, and related new "how to" documents were published to the Internet. Some 24 applications were also ported onto IIS based on existing "how to" documents.
by hjanssen on May 27, 2009 07:29pm
Last week I got the perfect excuse to get out of the Planning and Budget process that we are going through right now, attending PHP|Tek, which was a welcome escape as planning and budgeting in any company is usually enough fun to make a grown man cry!
So last week I went to PHP|Tek in Chicago to speak and meet folk from the PHP community. As always, I greatly enjoy meeting the people who write and use PHP, and I have been to and spoken with enough of the speakers at past events that I know a lot of the core people by first name.
Kind of funny that we now have gotten to the point inside of Microsoft that we are almost old hats at Open Source conferences
There were two days prior to the conference where a group of core PHP developers and community people talked about the state - past, present and future - of PHP. It was super cool to be invited to that one!
Unfortunately I was only able to join one of those two days: amazing that flying from Seattle to Chicago takes the better part of a day!
The discussions there where very wide ranging, from whether there will be a PHP 5.4, what 6.0 will bring, which bugs are current show stoppers, where PDO is going, etc. etc.
For me PHP|Tek remains a very nice ‘community' conference, where the focus is on the community of PHP and not the business/vendors of PHP.
These kinds of conferences are the best way to network, and it would take too long to talk about all the people I spoke to. But Elizabeth Smith and I talked about us writing documentation for php.net (I have been wanting to write the ‘how to build PHP for Windows' part) so hopefully look for more documentation written by Microsoft for php.net soon.
As always I talked to a lot of the usual suspects: Scott MacVicar, Andrei Zmievski, Derick Rethans, Sebastian Bergmann, Chris Shiflett, Cal Evans and others.
Oh, and if you are really bored, check out the latest May issue of php architect, which has a bunch of really cool articles about PHP and Windows. Some of them were even co-written by me, which gives you an idea how far php | architect has sunk to have people write articles for them
I just checked out the Website, and the May issue is not posted yet. But everybody who attended PHP|Tek got a copy of that issue in their goodies bag.
I always enjoy giving sessions and the session I did give at PHP|Tek was ‘PHP 5.3 The best PHP on Windows Yet' , and I got some really good feedback. I think I had about 40+ people in my session. People are always surprised to see Microsoft's involvement with PHP and what we have done with the community so far.
It is a talk I have given before. It starts with describing what the organization I belong to (the Microsoft Open Source Technology Center) does and how we work inside of Microsoft. After that I go into some detail about why PHP 5.3 is the best PHP on Windows.
Did you know that, for example, with PHP releases prior to 5.3, the code was build with libraries that were more than 10 years old and for which nobody really had any idea where the source code went? So it was built - linked rather - with object files that were more than 10 years old.
It makes it really hard to fix/improve stuff that you do not have the source code for
Well, pretty much all the issues of the past are now gone. I will make sure I write a blog about what truly went into PHP 5.3 for Windows soon, if the budgeting and planning process doesn't kill me before that point. In the meantime, here is a link to phpfreaks where, a few weeks ago, I posted a bunch of what we have been doing.
One really interesting thing is that there were a lot of Microsoft people at this conference, specifically from the DPE (Developer Platform Evangelism) side of Microsoft.
These are the people who are very much field and customer focused. From my conversations with them, they enjoyed the conference and were glad to get the opportunity to speak with a lot of the OS crowd. It is amazing how much we all have in common once we talk about technology.
Thanks to the people who put on the conference: of course Marco Tabini, the man behind PHP|Tek, but especially Elizabeth Naramore, who is the unsung hero that is the real driver behind keeping PHP|Tek running smoothly!
by Peter Galli on May 20, 2009 03:05pm
Tony Hey, the corporate vice president of Microsoft Research's External Research group, used the Open Repositories Conference to announce today the public availability of Zentity and the second version of the Article Authoring Add-in for Word 2007, both of which will be released as open source.
Zentity, previously called Research-Output Repository Platform and code-named Famulus, is a platform that allows institutions to store all of their digital scholarship: papers, lecture, presentations, videos-anything that might be collected by the university as part of the digital output of their researchers and scholars.
Over the past nine months two betas for this have been released, which refreshed the user interfaces and added new controls, and complement the services provided in the package.
The second version of the Article Authoring Add-in for Word 2007 includes new functionality, including the ability to upload directly into a repository - Microsoft's or those of others - via the SWORD [Simple Web Operation for Repository Deposit] protocol.
Support for authoring Object Reuse and Exchange resource maps within the Word environment has also been added, as well as the ability to perform literature searches and to import the bibliographic information in Word with one click, which makes it very simple to quickly add citations into a paper.
A key element of the Microsoft External Research vision is to support the scholarly communications lifecycle with software and services so that data and information flow in a coordinated and seamless fashion.
With regard to the plan to open source these tools, Lee Dirks, the director of the Education and Scholarly Communication team, said that "first and foremost, we're releasing the binaries, but soon thereafter, we'll release both of these as open source. Once they are available, our big push over the next 12 to 18 months will be to build a worldwide community around these assets."
You can find a lot more information on these announcements here.
These moves also follow the March release by Microsoft and the Creative Commons of an add-in for Microsoft Word 2007 that enables authors to easily insert scientific hyperlinks or ontologies as semantic annotations to their documents and research papers.
Microsoft is also making the source code available for the Creative Commons Add-in for Word 2007 free of charge to open source communities on CodePlex through the OSI-approved Microsoft Public License, which lets developers tailor it for specific industries using domain-specific language.
by Peter Galli on May 18, 2009 03:30pm
Microsoft and Black Duck Software this morning announced an agreement under which projects from CodePlex will be fed automatically into Black Duck's open source KnowledgeBase repository, and which will also will be searchable through Koders.com, a search engine for open source and other downloadable code.
This means that those customers who use the Black Duck KnowledgeBase to leverage, manage and detect the use of open source components in software application development projects, will now get comprehensive coverage of CodePlex-hosted projects, many of which are Windows .NET based.
Developers will also now be able to use Black Duck's Koders.com search search engine for CodePlex projects. While not all of the 9,000 CodePlex projects will be searchable in Koders as of today, most are expected to be by the end of June.
You can read the news release here.
Given that Black Duck's KnowledgeBase is a useful resource for development managers tasked with managing open source code in mixed-source development environments, the addition of CodePlex projects makes this a more powerful development resource, said Sam Ramji, Microsoft's Senior Director of Platform Strategy.
Black Duck, which is a Microsoft Visual Studio Industry and Windows Embedded Partner, scours the Internet, collecting open source and other downloadable code into its KnowledgeBase, a searchable repository of more than 200,000 open source projects collected from more than 4,100 Internet sites. More than 40,000 new projects have been added to the KnowledgeBase since January 2009.
As CodePlex is one of the fastest-growing open source hosting sites, this agreement will make it easier and faster for Black Duck to manage the steady stream of new projects on the site, said Peter Vescuso, Black Duck's Executive Vice president of marketing and business development.
CodePlex currently hosts 9,000 projects and adds about 100 new ones each week. "By teaming with Microsoft, we are assured of comprehensive, ongoing coverage of CodePlex projects in the KnowledgeBase," Vescuso said.
by Peter Galli on May 12, 2009 07:29pm
Vijay Rajagopalan, a Principal Architect here at Microsoft, is at TechEd India, where he will demo later this week a new set of interoperability projects related to PHP.
These projects include the PHP SDK for Windows Azure, an open source effort for which Microsoft has provided funding, with development by RealDolmen, whose goal is to provide high-level abstractions that enable PHP developers to interoperate readily with Windows Azure.
The PHP SDK for Windows Azure focuses on REST and provides PHP classes for Windows Azure blobs, tables and queue, helper classes for HTTP transport, AuthN/AuthZ, REST and error management, as well as manageability, instrumentation and logging support.
Rajagopalan will also announce the launch of a series of projects that offer samples and a toolkit that enable PHP developers to include Silverlight controls, Microsoft Virtual Earth maps and IE Webslices and Accelerators in PHP web applications; as well as automatically generated a simple "Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD)" PHP application from a table in SQL Server.
These projects, for which Microsoft has provided funding and which are available on Codeplex under a BSD license, are yet another proofpoint of the company's commitment to interoperability, and developers will be happy to know that the first batch of these have already been developed by Accenture.
Read Rajagopalan's full blog here for all the details.
The Azure Services Platform has been designed to be open, standards-based and interoperable, and its support for XML, REST and SOAP standards means that any of the Azure services can be called from other platforms and programming languages.
Microsoft has provided funding for two other SDKs that support third party programming languages: Java SDK for Microsoft .NET Services and Ruby SDK for Microsoft .NET Services so as to facilitate interoperability between the Azure Services Platform and non-Microsoft languages and technologies.
The inclusion of FastCGI in Windows Azure's hosting environment was announced at MIX 2009, and the protocol enables developers to run web applications on Windows Azure that were written using third party programming languages, including PHP. This opens up new options for PHP developers to deploy their applications.
A Technology Preview of the PHP SDK for Windows Azure will be released under a BSD license, while a functionally complete version of the SDK, which will support tables and queues, should be available for download by this fall of 2009, but the team is calling on developers to provide feature requests, test the toolkit, and join the user forum.
So, stay tuned, as there's a whole lot more to come!
by Peter Galli on May 12, 2009 12:24pm
The Stonehenge incubator project is approaching its first milestone: deploying the first set of samples and making them work together.
This is a really exciting development and continues to deliver on the project's primary goal: to provide practical applications that span languages and platforms and demonstrate how to achieve interoperability.
Multiple implementations of the Stonehenge Stocktrader sample application, including .NET, Java, PHP, Python and Ruby, have been committed to the repository. You can check the code here.
From a simplified architecture point of view, the Stonehenge Stocktrader application is built as follows:
The work thus far has focused on the .NET, PHP, and Java interoperability scenarios, and the three Stocktrader implementations have been deployed in multiple configurations.
A series of tests were then run, mixing and matching the layers from the three implementations, playing with the configurations and leveraging the Web Services standards, including WS-Security, to provide message integrity and security.
A detailed "interoperability walkthrough" explaining all the different configurations has been posted here, while the full blog post by Kamaljit Bath, a Principal Program Manager in the Interoperability Technical Strategy Team at Microsoft, can be found here.
"Microsoft is pleased with its participation and the progress so far, and this new outcome from the Stonehenge project is very encouraging. With the implementation of the WS-* Standards, we get the benefit of distributed applications and platforms. We recognized that it is not always easy to achieve these goals, but I really feel this type of practical guidance will be helpful for these types of scenarios," said Bath.
The team is also actively soliciting comments and feedback, and encouraging both developers and users to participate in the project to ensure that the project continues to move in a direction that meets real people's needs
by Garrett Serack on May 11, 2009 11:52am
I've been working for many months with Pierre Joye - well, really many people in the PHP community - on getting PHP to run faster on Windows.
Pierre has been working rapidly on upgrading libraries (Pierre pioneered the work to get PHP and its hoard of dependent libraries updated and properly compiling on Windows), replacing old POSIX-emulation code with native calls, patching bugs, and about a million other things, all of which had a huge impact on performance and stability of PHP on Windows.
For my part, I've been spending my time behind the scenes by feeding information to Pierre that he needs, testing, analyzing, and finally by constructing a new build process that enables us to take advantage of some pretty sweet optimization technology in Visual Studio.
Starting today, you can find snapshot builds of PHP 5.3 that are built using my optimized build process on the windows.php.net site.
A few notes:
Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I'll be explaining how this build process works, and making available the tools that make it all possible.
Only the non-thread-safe version is available, so you need to use FastCGI with IIS in order to use it.
Since this is a radically different build than the ones that had been traditionally used to create the Windows PHP binaries, you should download the binaries and test with them, but you probably should avoid using them in production just yet.
If you have any feedback about the builds, leave me a comment, or email me.
by Peter Galli on May 06, 2009 02:03pm
Microsoft will announce on May 7 an initiative to help government agencies and developers publish and interact with their data in Windows Azure, the company's cloud computing platform.
One of these is the Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI), a cloud-based approach to housing public government data in Windows Azure, making it accessible in a programmatic manner via open standard protocols and application programming interfaces.
This initiative helps to provide government with tools focused on increasing responsiveness and access to critical services, streamlined processes and services.
For their part, Microsoft and its partners have developed a robust enterprise architecture approach that enables agencies to meet the technology requirements of government mandates with a familiar set of tools - built on an enterprise-ready, scalable, and easily-managed software-powered architecture.
So, in short, the goal of ODGI is to reduce the cost of publishing government data, and simplifying data access by leveraging cloud computing and open standards.
More information on Microsoft's Open Government Data Initiative can be found here.
To see an implementation of a data service in Windows Azure, using a sample of publicly available government data, visit this reference beta site.
These moves are part of Microsoft's ongoing open government efforts aimed at helping government organizations meet goals of transparency, participation and collaboration, particularly as an ever increasing amount of data becomes necessary and available.
As such, new methods need to be opened up to allow interaction with that data, and Microsoft's OGDI is designed to help public sector entities meet these goals.
This software, which underscores the importance of programmatic access to government data rather than having to download it, will give developers the ability to write programs that access data via Web-friendly programming methods without having to download or host the data; and let them write applications using any technology via open standards.
It also provides easier access to a broad array of government datasets, enabling the building of new and unique applications, while governments will be able to automatically refresh data without having to buy and maintain servers.
Cloud computing is the ideal platform for government data, and the technology is finally available to make it happen, says John Miri, Senior Fellow at the Center for Digital Government.
"The qualities that government looks for in an information management platform - things like flexibility, scalability, security, performance, and cost efficiency - are all better in a cloud model. As we see demands for government to become more transparent, collaborative, and interactive, a shift like this in technology architecture just has to happen, " he says.
For governments to become truly open, citizen access to public data in standards-based and interoperable ways is essential at all levels of government.
Given that most federal, state, local and education entities implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), they can meet open government goals of oversight, transparency and accountability through cloud and on-premises solutions such as Microsoft Stimulus360, which helps public sector agencies track, measure, and share information about federal stimulus programs through graphical dashboards and maps.
by Peter Galli on May 04, 2009 06:08pm
As Microsoft continues to engage in active dialogues with a variety of communities, including academic institutions, Sam Ramji - Microsoft's Senior Director of Platform Strategy - talked to a group of Computer Science students at Michigan State University (MSU) on Friday May 1.
Given that Friday was the last day of school for students, the good attendance at the talk underscores the level of interest in hearing about Microsoft's Open Source strategy.
Ramji was invited to give an address as part of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering's Spring Colloquium Series, where he talked about the evolution of Microsoft's Open Source strategy and what an increasingly diversified technology landscape means for future software engineers.
Ramji told the students and academics that the company firmly believes that Microsoft, Open Source companies and developers, computer science students and others, all play an important role in the overall future of information technology.
He also talked about how Microsoft sees heterogeneity as a reality for the business world, and building technology and partnerships to embrace this reality is a part of a companywide commitment to greater openness and transparency.
Ramji also spotlighted some innovative Open Source projects the company is supporting at universities across the world, including PlugBlog, which is focused on Windows Live Writer and is being developed by students from Croatia.
The primary goal of the project is to help developers and companies that run blogging services integrate with Live Writer by providing them documentation, samples, screencasts and Visual Studio templates. The project is also focusing on developing a set of Live Writer plug-ins as well as documentation to enable developers to build plug-ins more easily.
He also talked about the KDE Education Apps, an Open Source project from undergraduate students from computer science, computer information systems and design courses at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil.
This project takes a small initial group of education applications and ports them to run on the Windows version of KDE.
The third project he talked about was OpenMP to MPI, a development framework for writing distributed memory applications, and works very well for developing High Performance Computing (HPC) applications for Windows HPC Server 2008.
Typically, though, developers have had to choose between writing for a single system SMP environment, which is what OpenMP was designed for, or writing for a distributed computing cluster environment , where MPI is the standard.
This project, which is taking place in India, translates OpenMP code to be deployable using MPI, so that application developers can develop using OpenMP but deploy in a cluster environment if they choose to.
Ramji also stressed how Microsoft works in partnership with the worldwide academic community and is committed to utilizing the power of Microsoft software and technologies to help inspire, encourage innovation and expand opportunities for students and educators in a heterogeneous technology world.
He also mentioned the Open Source Technology Center, Microsoft's open source technology research and development organization, which supports and promotes the creation of regional programs, such as the Interoperability Labs in the Philippines, Germany and Brazil.
But, while students were interested in hearing more about how to establish a Microsoft-sponsored Open Source project at MSU, what was clear from their questions was their concern about finding employment in the current tough economic environment.
During, and after his talk, Ramji talked to worried Computer Science students about what Microsoft looks for when recruiting new staff, how to craft a compelling resume, and what the benefits are for working at the company.