Slides and Questions from PHP on Windows Webcast

On April 9, Mark Brown and I did a PHP|Architect webcast “PHP Performance On Windows”. The slides from the presentation have been published at the following link:

PHP Performance on Windows – slides

There were a number of question at the end of the webcast that we did not get to answer due to lack of time. This blog post provides answers to those questions.

Q: Why is php_mssql.dll removed from php 5.3.2?
A: The reason why it was removed was because of an incompatible driver. The last SDK supported by Microsoft was not compatible anymore with VC6. Anyway, php_mssql.dll is not recommended to be used with SQL Server because there is a SQL Driver for PHP that is officially supported by Microsoft. You can get more information about the driver at Working with Microsoft SQL Server driver (php_sqlsrv.dll) for PHP on Windows.

Q: How can we have .htaccess file features work on IIS? Is there an alternative?
A: There are several options. If you just want Apache mod_rewrite rules to work on IIS, then you can import them from a .htaccess file. If you want complete support for all .htaccess features then you can try Helicon Ape from HeliconTech. Regarding PHP specific features in .htaccess file – for PHP 5.2 you could use htscanner PECL extension. In PHP 5.3 there is a new feature for per directory PHP configuration and .user.ini files.

Q: Do you have any numbers to compare iis performance with other web servers(apache, nginx, lighttpd)?
A: No, we do not have any numbers that can be shared. It’s difficult to come up with an objective test that compares web server technologies – there are too many variables and interpretations of the results and even if Microsoft ever produced such numbers they would probably cause a lot of controversy over the objectivity of those tests.

Q: Do you plan to implement wincache library for Zend Framework(Zend_Cache)?
A: WinCache team does not have plans for that, but there is already a PHP developer who is working on implementing this:

Q: We have discussed here sugar CRM. Is Microsoft planning to do enhancement in sugar CRM functionality?
A: Microsoft works well with Sugar CRM development team and Sugar CRM add enhancements to their future versions to support new features from Microsoft, such as WinCache user and session cache for example. Microsoft, however does not contribute any code and does not work directly on any enhancements to Sugar CRM.

Q: Is Microsoft planning to develop any dll which can make PHP code to Intermediate language?
A: Assuming that the question is about .NET intermediate language – no, there are no plans for this.

Q: Would there be any tool in Microsoft development tool kit for PHP?
A: There are several projects in Microsoft that provide development tools and instructions for enabling interoperability between PHP and other Microsoft technologies. You can find more details about those projects here:

Q: Is WinCache shared data accessible for CLI? Script A launches Script B, C and D … ?
A: Yes, you can access the shared data from CLI as long as you set wincache.enablecli = 1 in php.ini and all the CLI processes have the same parent process.

Q: Are the statistics results of WinCache the same in 5.2.13 as in 5.3?
A: If the question is about wincache.php statistics script then yes – the data presented by that script is the same regardless of the PHP version.

Q: Are there any security concerns with having wincache store session data in shared memory?
A: If you use different IIS application pools for different web sites (which is the recommended configuration), then WinCache ensures that those web sites can not access each other’s cache data. All caches, not just the session cache are not shared across IIS application pools.

Q: Is it safe to write to the user cache assuming data disappears from the system after the cache times out? Is the content of the user cache in wincache 1.1 written to disk at all?
A: Normally the data in the user cache is deleted from the cache after the time to live interval, but the deletion happens on the main request processing thread. This means that if there are no requests to process, the entries in the cache may stay longer than the TTL. WinCache does not write user cache content to disk, but if memory pagefile is enabled on the server, then it may happen that the memory content will be stored by OS in a pagefile. If a maching (not just a process) crashes when user cache content is in the pagefile, then the content may be present on disk.

Q: Is the sqlsrv driver going to be compatible with PDO?
A: SQL Driver for PHP 2.0 will include PDO support.

Q: Is there any documentation on securely configuring php/FastCGI in a shared application pool environment on IIS6 so that websites?
A: Check the article about setting up PHP on IIS6 and look for the section called “Impersonation and file system access”. If this is not what you are looking for – let me know.

Q: When are we going to see PHP 5.3 in the WPI?
A: Web PI team is planning to add support for PHP 5.3 in near future. Most probably it will be possible to select which version of PHP to install from Web PI. This is because there are some PHP applications in Web PI that will never support PHP 5.3.

Thanks to all who has attended the webcast and asked interesting questions!

2 thoughts on “Slides and Questions from PHP on Windows Webcast”

  1. Hi, I have a question about the webinar. Why should we use non thread safe PHP with FastCGI? I have been using thread-safe PHP with FastCGI in many years without any problem.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. The thread-safe version of PHP will work fine with FastCGI. The reason we recommend to use non-thread-safe build is because it all the thread safety checks are not necessary when using FastCGI. The non-thread-safe build does not have any of those thread safety checks and hence runs faster.

    The important thing to note also is that the WinCache extension for PHP works only with non-thread-safe build of PHP.

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