May, 2010

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Taking advantage of Windows Azure Storage from PHP: example with a WordPress plugin

    • 3 Comments

    Continuing our efforts on improving interoperability between PHP and Microsoft technologies, we have created an example showcasing a new plugin for WordPress that allows WordPress developers to take advantage of the storage capacity of Windows Azure. This plugin enables WordPress to use Windows Azure Storage Service to host media for a WordPress-powered blog.

    The plugin, developed by Microsoft, is now available as an open source project from the WordPress repository: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/windows-azure-storage/

    About Windows Azure Storage and Content Delivery Network (CDN)

    Windows Azure Storage enables applications to store and manipulate large objects and files in the cloud via blobs, manipulate service state via tables, and provide reliable delivery of messages using queues. You can read more about Windows Azure Storage here.

    If you want to manage your media (images or any file offered for download) in a consistent way and share them across multiple websites then you might want to consider using Windows Azure Storage blobs. Windows Azure includes a service called Windows Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) which offers developers a solution for delivering high-bandwidth content. Windows Azure CDN has currently 18 locations globally (United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and South America). Windows Azure CDN caches your Windows Azure blobs at strategically placed locations to provide maximum bandwidth for delivering your content to users. The benefit of using a CDN is better performance and experience for users who are farther from the source of the content stored in the Windows Azure Storage blobs. You can read more on the Windows Azure Team Blog and on MSDN

    Windows Azure Storage from PHP with a WordPress plug-in.

    The Windows Azure Storage plugin for WordPress allows developers running their own instance of WordPress to take advantage of the Windows Azure Storage services, including the Content Delivery Network (CDN) feature. It provides a consistent storage mechanism for WordPress Media in a scale-out architecture where the individual web servers don’t share a disk. Note that this scenario goes beyond WordPress and could also be very compelling any other web application where there’s a need to load balance across a number of web servers without shared disk.

    The plugin is a regular WordPress plugin developed in PHP, and can be deployed on any WordPress instance (running on Windows or Linux - requires at least version 2.8.0 and tested up to version 2.8.4). The plugin uses the Windows Azure SDK for PHP to handle the interactions with Windows Azure.

    Once the plugin is installed you’ll see it in the WordPress plugins management interface.

    Once the plugin is activated and configured, which simply consists of setting your Windows Azure account information and a few options, you can use it directly through the blog post editor:

    To include an image in the post, just click on the “Azure” icon. The following screen will pop up:

    From here you simply pick the image you want to include.

    When the plugin is installed, you can choose to have all media managed through the WordPress Media Management interface or during imports to also go to Windows Azure blob storage. Then it shows up in the regular list of media elements and not just under the Azure button.

    Once you have published the post you can see that your image lives on Windows Azure Storage, although your WordPress applications can be hosted anywhere else.

    Give it a try!

    The plugin is now available from the WordPress repository: http://plugins.svn.wordpress.org/windows-azure-storage/. Register for your Windows Azure account (try for free till July 31, 2010 with the Introductory Special), install the plugin, and get started!

    Feel free to share feedback!

    Additional links

    -- Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Sr. Technical Evangelist, @openatmicrosoft

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    Two open source projects to facilitate interoperability with Outlook .pst data files

    • 3 Comments

    Microsoft today announced the availability of two new open source projects that complement technical documentation recently released for Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (.pst). From the press release:

    Combined, the documentation and tools advance interoperability with data stored in .pst files, reflecting customer requests for greater access to data stored and shared in digital formats generated by Microsoft Outlook and for enhanced data portability.”

    The two open source projects, available on Codeplex.com under the Apache 2.0 license are the following:

    • The PST Data Structure View Tool (http://pstviewtool.codeplex.com/) is a graphical tool allowing the developers to browse the internal data structures of a PST file. The primary goal of this tool is to assist people who are learning .pst format and help them to better understand the documentation.
    • The PST File Format SDK (http://pstsdk.codeplex.com/) is a cross platform C++ library for reading .pst files that can be incorporated into solutions that run on top of the .pst file format. The capability to write data to .pst files is part of the roadmap will be added to the SDK.

    To get more details about how these two projects came to life and understand what type of scenarios they enable, watch this video with Daniel Ko, development manager in the Outlook team.

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    If you’re specifically interested about potential scenarios enabled by the SDK, watch this segment of the video:

     

    -- Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Sr. Technical Evangelist, @openatmicrosoft

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    phpBB: Available for the Microsoft Web Platform

    • 2 Comments

    From the Microsoft Web Platform Team Blog:

    “ Today Microsoft is announcing that the Windows Web Application Gallery and Web Platform Installer (Web PI) now supports the download of the new phpBB release, which supports Windows, IIS and SQL Server. logo_phpbb_thumb_1

    Version 3.0.7-PL1 of phpBB takes advantage of a number of features for PHP applications on the Microsoft Web Platform with Windows, IIS and SQL Server including:

    • SQL Server Driver for PHP 1.1, provides key interoperability for PHP applications to use SQL Server for data storage. Released under the OSI approved MS-PL license and available on CodePlex.
    • WinCache Extension for PHP 1.0.1, provides increased performance for PHP applications on Windows and IIS. Released under the BSD license, is available from the PHP Extension Community Library (PECL) website. “

    More on the Microsoft Web Platform Team Blog: Announcing phpBB: Available for the Microsoft Web Platform.

  • Interoperability @ Microsoft

    New version of the Command-Line Tools for PHP to Deploy Applications on Windows Azure

    • 0 Comments

    clip_image002Today at Tek-X during the “Tips & Tricks to get the most of PHP with IIS, and the Windows Azure Cloud” session, Microsoft showcased the new version of the Windows Azure Command-line Tool for PHP available for download under an open source BSD license at: http://azurephptools.codeplex.com/.

    AzurePlusPHP_3

    Announced in March 2010, the Windows Azure Command-line Tool for PHP enables developers to easily package and deploy new or existing PHP applications to Windows Azure using a simple command-line tool without an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Developers have an option of deploying to the Development Fabric (a sort of local cloud for development and test) or directly to the Windows Azure Cloud. The new version of the Windows Azure Command-line Tool for PHP supports both Web and Worker service roles allowing developers the freedom to customize their applications to their needs (Web roles are the internet facing applications, and Worker roles are for background tasks).

    This project initially was started as the result of feedback we received from PHP developers who are using various IDEs (or none), who told us that a command-line tool would be a great addition to the Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse project.

    To get familiar with the tools you can read this post New command-line tool for PHP to deploy applications on Windows Azure or watch this video on Channel9 where I presented the new features and demo how to deploy a PHP application (using WordPress with SQL Server Build) to Windows Azure:

    This demo is actually an abstract of the “Welcome to the Cloud: Windows Azure Command-line tools for PHP” webcast I presented last Friday as part of the PHP Architect webcast series. The entire recording will be available soon at: http://www.phparch.com/. Stay tuned!

    As always, if you have feedback, questions, or wishes, please join us on the project site: http://azurephptools.codeplex.com/.

    Additional links:

    · Running WordPress on Windows with SQL Server: http://wordpress.visitmix.com/

    Sumit Chawla, Technical PM/Architect, Microsoft Interoperability Strategy Team

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