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Brian Swan's Blog:
What SQL Server 2012 Means for PHP Developers
March 13, 2012 @ 11:46:47

Brian Swan (of Microsoft) has a new post to his blog talking about what SQL Server 2012 means for PHP developers - what the latest version of this MS database has to offer and how to get a basic install up and working in your environment.

Last week, Microsoft held a virtual conference to announce the availability of SQL Server 2012. The conference included a number of events (speakers, videos, training activities, etc.) that focused on the new functionality available in this release. Now that most of the fanfare has died down a bit, I'd like to take a look at what some of that new functionality means for PHP developers. Combined with the release of the Microsoft Driver for SQL Server for PHP, I think the SQL Server 2012 release makes some big improvements in developing PHP/SQL Server applications.

He includes instructions on getting the latest version set up with the SQL Server Express LocalDB (and command line tools). He mentions only a few of the new things this latest version has to offer - easier pagination with OFFSET/FETCH NEXT, client-side cursors and other things like "AlwaysOn Connectivity" and the PDO::ATTR_EMULATE_PREPARES constant.

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Ariz Jacinto's Blog:
Compiling PHP with MSSQL Server's Native ODBC Driver for Linux as a PDO Driver
January 10, 2012 @ 12:34:26

Ariz Jacinto has written up a new post with the commands you'll need to get PHP up and runnign with MSSQL Server's native ODBC driver working on linux (accessible through PDO).

Last month, MS announced the preview release of SQL Server ODBC Driver for Linux, a 64-bit binary driver for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. This is good news for companies using heterogenous platforms e.g. LAMP stack running a PHP application that connects to both MySQL and MSSQL Server. Meaning, these companies no longer have to use third-party drivers such as FreeTDS that MS doesn't support. Then a few days ago, MS released version 1 of the driver. I immediately downloaded the driver and recompiled PHP with it as a PDO (PHP Data Object) ODBC driver.

His process has five steps to it, including one for making a test script (code included) and another with a few gotchas/performance considerations to keep an eye out for when using the driver.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
The SQL Server ODBC Driver for Linux is Available!
November 29, 2011 @ 08:39:35

As Brian Swan has mentioned in his latest blog post, the ODBC database driver for SQL Server on Linux has been released. This is a huge step forward for directly connecting linux-based systems (and programming languages) to this popular Microsoft product.

The first beta release of the SQL Server ODBC Driver for Linux is available for download! As announced in October, the "Multiplatform Team" (a.k.a. the "MPlat Team") has released a preview version of a driver that will provide first-class access to SQL Server from applications running on Linux operating systems. The team is looking for feedback on this release to incorporate into their production-ready release, so try it out and let us know what you think.

He links to a few resources about the release - more details, a link to download the driver and the official documentation.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
Using SQL Azure to Store PHP Session Data
October 21, 2011 @ 08:32:46

In a recent post to his blog Brian Swan takes a look at working with sessions in PHP and, specifically, how to save them to Azure along with all of their data.

In my last post, I looked at the session handling functionality that is built into the Windows Azure SDK for PHP, which uses Azure Tables or Azure Blobs for storing session data. As I wrote that post, I wondered how easy it would be to use SQL Azure to store session data, especially since using a database to store session data is a common and familiar practice when building distributed PHP applications. As I found out, using SQL Azure to store session data was relatively easy (as I'll show in this post), but I did run into a couple of small hurdles that might be worth taking note of.

He uses PHP's own session_set_save_handler to point to his custom Azure handling class with the needed methods (like write, close and destroy). He breaks it out into three simple steps, some with a bit of code attached:

  • Create the database, table, and stored procedure
  • Add the SqlAzureSessionHandler class to your project
  • Instantiate SqlAzureSessionHandler before calling session functions as you normally would

The code for the Azure handling class can be downloaded here.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
Version 3.0 (beta) of the SQL Server Drivers for PHP Released!
September 29, 2011 @ 08:06:03

Brian Swan has a new post to his MSDN blog today about the release of the latest version (3.0 beta) of the SQL Server drivers for PHP. This new release includes three improvements - buffered queries, support for LocalDB and support for high availability/disaster recovery.

A Community Technology Preview (a beta release) of v3.0 of the SQL Server Drivers for PHP was released today (see the announcement on the team blog). You can download it here: Download v3.0 of the SQL Server Drivers for PHP. [...] It's important to note that the latter two features are dependent on the next version of SQL Server (code named "Denali"). A preview of Denali can be downloaded for free here (see notes later in this article about the installation process): Download SQL Server Denali CTP 3.

He gives brief summaries (some with example code) of what these three new features have to offer those using SQL Server in their applications. The "buffered queries" allows you to bring your entire result set into memory, making it simpler to interact with as rows/columns. The LocalDB support gives developers a quick way to have a database without the hassle of a server - just connect right to the SQL Server database file. The high availability feature has been included for a while but has a new name in the upcoming release - SQL Server Always On.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
PHP Driver for SQL Server - Request for Feature Feedback
July 15, 2011 @ 10:22:49

Brian Swan is asking for user feedback about the future of the Microsoft's SQL Server driver for PHP based on a post in the team's blog.

I want to make sure that his request gets in front of lots of eyes, so I'm re-posting his request here (below). Jonathan included some links in his post so you can learn more about what the team is considering for the next release of the driver, but he didn't elaborate on "Buffered Queries".

They suggest a few features and ask for choices on which would be the most important to you as a developer - Always On support, SQL Server Serverless Express support, Buffered queries and LOB streaming support in PDO_SQLSRV. To give feedback, send an email to the address mentioned in the post or on twitter/their forums.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
SQL Server JumpIn! Camp Wrap Up
June 27, 2011 @ 12:28:18

Brian Swan (of Microsoft) has posted his wrapup of the recent Jump In! Camp they held around integration of SQL Server functionality into several popular PHP projects like the Zend Framework and PEAR.

During each day of the camp, PHP developers worked side-by-side with Microsoft developers to add SQL Server and SQL Azure support to their projects, but nearly everyone put in many extra hours late at night (and even early morning!) to add support for other Microsoft technologies (such as IIS, Web Platform Installer, and Windows Azure).

He includes some pictures taken of the progress board for the various projects and the wishlist that developers in attendance requested of the Microsoft team.

I can't say thanks enough to all the participants for being 100% invested in the camp and for going the extra mile to investigate how their projects might be able to integrate Microsoft technologies beyond SQL Server and SQL Azure. I know that the entire SQL Server team echoes my thanks.
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Zend Developer Zone:
Jump In Camp - Who is here and what are they doing?
June 22, 2011 @ 11:14:15

On the Zend Developer Zone Cal Evans has a new post looking at an event Microsoft is holding this week, the SQL Server Jump In! Camp, and who's there and what's going on:

This is a different kind of Camp, the focus is on writing code, not necessarily learning new techniques. That is not to say that there isn't learning, showcasing and demoing going on, but it is obviously not the focus of the week.

Projects that are represented at the camp include PEAR, Frapi, CakePHP, Zend Framework, VoceComm and Agavi. One of the main focuses of the week-long event is to get SQL server support introduced into each of the projects and to have it ready to ship by the end of the week. Some projects have already released their SQL server support.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
SQL Server Driver for PHP Connection Options Encrypt & Failover_Partner
March 11, 2011 @ 08:41:11

Brian Swan has posted two more in his "SQL Server Driver for PHP" series looking at some of the connection options that are available. In these two new articles he looks at the Failover_Partner and Encrypt options.

Database mirroring is primarily a software solution for increasing database availability. [...] When a PHP application connects to the primary server, the Failover_Partner connection option specifies the name of the server to which the application should connect if the primary server is not available.

[...] These two options, Encrypt and TrustServerCertificate, are often used together. The Encrypt option is used to specify whether or not the connection to the server is encrypted (the default is false). The TrustServerCertificate option is used to indicate whether the certificate on the SQL Server instance should be trusted (the default is false).

In both there's code examples showing the connection strings and what kinds of parameters you can pass to them. He also gives a few examples of scenarios when they might be useful.

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Brian Swan's Blog:
SQL Server Driver for PHP Connection Options CharacterSet
February 28, 2011 @ 12:15:33

Brian Swan has posted another in his series looking at connection options for the SQL Server driver for PHP. In his latest he looks at the "CharacterSet" setting, an easy way to define which encoding the remote database is using.

One thing that helped me understand the CharacterSet option was to realize that its name is a bit misleading (although it seems to be inline with other uses of CharacterSet or charset). It is used to specify the encoding of data that is being sent to the server, not the character set. With that in mind, the possible values for the option begin to make sense: SQLSRV_ENC_CHAR, SQLSRV_ENC_BINARY, and UTF-8.

He looks at each of these three options in more detail - SQLSRV_ENC_CHAR being the default, SQLSRV_ENC_BINARY when binary data is needed and UTF-8 when, obviously, you need UTF-8 data transfer between the client and server.

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