Last month, three phpBB developers spent a few days at Jump In! Developers’ Camp in Feusisberg, Switzerland. The event was organised by Microsoft for developers of a variety of open source PHP applications. We met with Microsoft engineers to learn more about SQL Server, the Web Platform Installer, Windows Azure and a few other technologies. In a beautiful setting we had time to work on a number of phpBB projects relating to those technologies and we had many insightful conversations with both Microsoft employees and other participants of the event. If you need video proof, Microsoft has provided it.
(link via Yuriy Zaytsev on Twitter)
Henry Sudhof (kellanved), Chris Smith (ToonArmy / cs278), and me (Nils Adermann / naderman) appear in order beginning around the one minute mark.
One result of this conference was a test release, phpBB 3.0.7-PL1 with MSSQL Server Driver for PHP. This includes a patch largely contributed by Chris Pucci of Microsoft adding a phpBB database abstraction layer for their SQL Server Driver for PHP. Apart from many improvements over existing methods of using Microsoft SQL Server from PHP it also enables phpBB to use SQL Azure, a relational database running on their cloud platform.
Resulting from the first test release we put together while in Switzerland, phpBB is now included in Microsoft’s Web Application Gallery. This makes phpBB available for easy installation through the Web Platform Installer. The Web Platform Installer is meant to simplify the installation of web applications like phpBB on Windows by automatically installing dependencies like a database and PHP.
During the event we also got phpBB running on the Windows Azure Platform, which provides the means to run PHP web applications in the cloud. The IIS web server is used to serve content from Windows Azure, so we also worked on adding IIS versions of some of the Apache web server specific files we provide. In combination with SQL Azure this kind of cloud setup should allow you to scale to a very large number of users. More information on how to set phpBB up on Azure will be provided at a later time. The MOD for storing Avatars in Azure blob storage which Henry wrote during the camp will also be published then. Chris also worked on a WinCache backend for phpBB’s cache abstraction.
The Web Platform Team also blogged about the results of phpBB’s participation in the camp.