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New PHP Tools for Windows Azure

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Microsoft has announced a new tool, Windows Azure Companion, updates to Windows Azure Tools for Eclipse for PHP and Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP, and version 2.0 of Windows Azure SDK for PHP at Open Source India conference which took place during September 19-21, all tools targeted at PHP developers and web administrators interested in deploying applications on Windows Azure.

Only Windows Azure Companion is a completely new tool, the other being updates or a new version of a previous tool/SDK. Windows Azure Companion can be used to install PHP platform components (PHP runtime, extensions) or PHP web applications on Azure.

Windows Azure Companion uses an Atom feed as configuration file, containing the names and URLs of the components needed to run the desired web applications. Vijay Rajagopalan, Principal Architect for Microsoft’s Interoperability Strategy, said that Companion is an early version targeting PHP but it can be extended to deploy “any open source component or application that runs on Windows Azure.” Rajagopalan does not explain what to do to install non-PHP web applications on Azure, but it looks like that can be done using the Companion and editing the feed.

Windows Azure for Eclipse for PHP September CTP updates the Eclipse plug-in to support the latest enhancements in Windows Azure SDK 1.2 released in June 2010, preparing the way for the final release in November. The new features are:

  • Host PHP application on http endpoint using SSL certificate
  • Code Templates of Windows Azure in PHP editor 
  • Windows Azure Diagnostics support
  • Integration of Open Source AppFabric SDK for PHP Developers
  • Executing PHP script in a Worker Role support
  • Support for Multiple Web Roles and Worker Roles
  • Integration of SQL CRUD Application Wizard for PHP
  • Improvements on Project conversion
  • Manage Application Deployment
  • Expose php.ini & PHP Folder in Web Role
  • Support of Windows Azure Drive for PHP developers
  • Use the Account Name for Storage Explorer
  • WorkRole for MySQL to run MySQL database on Windows Azure

Windows Azure Command-line Tools for PHP enables administrators to package and deploy PHP applications on Azure using a command line interface. The September CTP adds support for Web and Worker Roles. This tool does not cover all the deployment scenarios, which can be addressed with the Companion.

Windows Azure SDK for PHP enables developers to leverage Azure services – blobs, tables, queues – for their applications. Some of the new features in v.2.0 are:

  • PHP classes for Windows Azure Blobs, Tables & Queues (for CRUD operations)
  • Helper Classes for HTTP transport, AuthN/AuthZ, REST & Error Management
  • Manageability, Instrumentation & Logging support
  • Support for storing PHP sessions in Azure Table Storage

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