The SQL Server JumpIn! Camp, was scheduled from Nov 16th thru 19th at an excellent facility not too far from Microsoft's main campus with the purpose of bringing key PHP developers and SQL Server engineers together with the goal of supporting SQL Server and SQL Azure, with the last day reserved for Windows Azure and IIS. We extended our invitations to several projects/communities and were very happy and honored that most of them accepted.
With so many talented developers planning to attend, we were ready to put the finishing touches on the details to make it an awesome experience for all.
We planned an intense schedule of a lot of hard work for each day followed by fun entertaining activities!
17 developers representing 10 PHP projects from several countries rubbed shoulders with Microsoft developers to build Windows, IIS, SQL Server, and Azure Platform support into their applications. In addition, when the situation demanded it, we called in the relevant SQL / IIS experts to provide the expertise for the participants.
The stated goal of this camp was to "listen and educate". That is, listen to and learn from the PHP community and educate them about our technologies, SQL Server, SQL Azure, Windows Azure & IIS, and help them understand how they can leverage them best in the applications. And, I’m happy to say, we did just that.
By all measures, we consider this camp a major success! This sentiment is reflected by all the participants! While the blogs haven't started to roll in yet, tune in to twitter with the #jumpincamp hash tag and see it for yourself.
We kicked it off with a nice chat with Ted Kummert and Nigel Ellis where several topics were discussed including the fact that the decision to create a SQL Server PHP driver by Microsoft was made in the same room! Nigel provided some excellent insights into how SQL Server evolved from a nascent product to an enterprise class product and it's evolution to SQL Azure.
After a brief visit to the Microsoft Company Store and Visitor Center, we headed back to the Willows Lodge, ready to crank out some code. Our event manager, Gloria, had a nice surprise for all – we all got together and created our own rhythm and beat!
With our hands all warmed up, we started off the coding sessions with a gusto that was a pleasure to watch. There are lot of details with nuggets of information that I think will be useful to all, I'll save those for follow up blogs. I'll just summarize that we used several tools provided by Microsoft to quickly migrate to SQL Server. We had several checkpoints along the way and it was incredible to see the momentum building up.
A testament to the intense focus and effort from all the participants is evidenced by the following facts. Of the 10 projects at the camp:
In addition, we got excellent feedback on how we can improve our product, drivers and tools to make it more attractive to the PHP community.
Probably the most valuable part of the camp came from Microsoft developers working side-by-side with PHP developers. Not only did it demonstrate that Microsoft and the open source community can work well together and make good stuff happen, I think this was an incredible two-way learning experience. We now have a much clearer understanding about what we need to do to better support PHP applications on Windows/IIS/SQL Server and the Azure platform. The PHP participants now have a better understanding of how SQL Server works and how PHP applications can best utilize its capabilities, and understand how we are trying to add value to their applications.
There are just too many to note them all here, it will kind of sound like a Hollywood award winner's speech. Kudos goes to all the PHP participants and the Microsoft developers & the marketing team – without their energy, expertise and enthusiastic participation, this camp wouldn’t have been as successful. Not only did we get a lot done, but we had a lot of fun doing it!
I'd also like to thank Microsoft management for supporting this event, and also the employers of the PHP participants to free them up to attend this camp!
As I have more time to reflect on this camp in the coming weeks and months, I know I will have more thoughts to share…and probably more questions too. For now, you can look forward to Windows, IIS, and SQL Server support in several great PHP applications with many more to come over the next few months.
And you can be sure that we will take a serious look at the feedback we’ve received and all we have learned … we have lots of work to do in sharing this feedback with our colleagues and in prioritizing the work we have to do.
Once again, thanks to everyone who participated in this camp. I hope this is the beginning of a strong relationship and I look forward to working together with all of you again.
Ashay Chaudhary Program Manager, PHP – SQL Connectivity