At the Intersection of PHP and Microsoft
June 7, 2012 update: The Microsoft Windows Azure team has released a new Windows Azure SDK for PHP. This release is part of an effort to keep PHP client libraries up to date with new Windows Azure features and to make PHP a first-class citizen in Windows Azure. The latest client libraries are on GitHub: https://github.com/WindowsAzure/azure-sdk-for-php. While the SDK hosted on CodePlex will continue to work for the foreseeable future, it is strongly recommended that new PHP/Windows Azure application use the SDK hosted on GitHub.
The work done by Maarten Balliauw and other contributors in building the SDK hosted on CodePlex was critical in unifying the PHP developer experience for Windows Azure. The Windows Azure team is grateful to these contributors for their pioneering work and looks forward to their continued support (and yours!) in adding to the new SDK on GitHub.
The Windows Azure Team
The Interoperability Team at Microsoft announced today that the production-ready 3.0 version of the Windows Azure SDK is now available. You can read about the details of the release here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/interoperability/archive/2011/05/26/new-sdk-shows-how-to-leverage-the-scalability-of-windows-azure-with-php.aspx, but I wanted to share what I consider the highlights of the release in this post.
First, this release has a new Service Management API that makes it easy to scale PHP applications in Windows Azure. To showcase this API, the Interop team built and deployed an application called “Deal of the Day”, which allows you to actually win stuff..you can play here: http://dealoftheday.cloudapp.net/ (U.S. only). But, the main point of the application is to show developers how to scale a PHP application in Windows Azure, so the code is available on Github here: http://bit.ly/iPddwx. To learn more about new features, check out Maarten Balliauw’s beta release announcement. (Be sure to note the one breaking change he lists: Table storage entities now return DateTime objects instead of strings for Edm.DateTime properties.)
Second, it’s exciting to see real PHP applications leveraging the Azure platform in production. One example is Hotelpeeps, a Facebook application that leverages the Azure platform to help you find great hotel rates. And (what I think is equally exiting), we are starting to see community contributions to the SDK. The code is available on CodePlex here, http://phpazure.codeplex.com/releases/view/64047 (note that it is also available as a PEAR package).
Lastly (and this isn’t part of the official release announcement), I took some time to play with the SDK while it was still in beta. I looked at some ASP.NET application tutorials on the TechNet Wiki and wondered how easy it would be to implement the same functionality using PHP and the Windows Azure SDK for PHP. The result of my investigation produced three beginner-level tutorials:
If you read/use those tutorials, please edit/improve them…it’s a wiki!
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It needs one more thing before you can really use it which is access to the servicebus. Is that on the roadmap?
Adding service bus functionality to the Windows Azure SDK for PHP is something that is on the Interoperability team's radar (although I don't have a timeline). In the meantime, you might want to check out (if you haven't already) the AppFabric SDK for PHP Developers: dotnetservicesphp.codeplex.com. It supports service bus message buffer.