Spotlight Microsoft : Q & AInsight into our recent work with Microsoft to develop the WordPress on SQL Server Patch.

We recently worked with Microsoft to develop the WordPress on SQL Server Patch. We spoke with Zach Owens, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, to get insight into what this patch means for Microsoft and for the open source community. We discussed everything from the development of the patch, to how Microsoft sees the patch positively impacting the WordPress user experience.

What was the driving force behind this patchʼs development?

A few years ago Microsoft dedicated to making PHP run great on Windows and SQL Server. This has culminated in ongoing investments in PHP Core for Windows, IIS improvements like FastCGI and the PHP Driver for SQL Server. Being a PHP developer, I was really excited to see Microsoft taking this approach with PHP. Now that PHP runs great on Windows and SQL Server the next step is getting PHP apps running great on our platform. The work with OmniTI has been an important step in getting WordPress on SQL Server and SQL Azure. I go into a bit more detail in an article entitled, "WordPress: Why the BLEEP is Microsoft doing this?!?!"

How has the WordPress community responded to the patch?

Weʼve seen a good amount of comments on ranging from really supportive to anti-Microsoft—which is all healthy dialogue. I think the jury is still out on the long-term acceptance of SQL Server support within the WordPress community but weʼre hopeful that people will find it a good addition to WordPress.

What does this allow for that wasnʼt previously attainable?

Fundamentally, this patch allows WordPress to run on top of a SQL Server or SQL Azure database. Lots of organizations love running SQL Server because itʼs powerful and easy to use. With this patch thereʼs a whole new ecosystem of customers open to the WordPress developer community.

Are there any big advantages to running a WordPress site on Microsoft technology?

Youʼre asking a Microsoft guy, so of course the answer is yes! Actually, I have a background developing for LAMP so I think my perspective is pretty well informed. There are a lot of organizations that are comfortable running Microsoft infrastructure, so at a very basic level, now that PHP runs well on Windows and SQL Server, the deployment options for PHP and WordPress developers is hugely expanded. SQL Server has a bunch of really cool features WordPress plugin developers can take advantage of, like Spatial, Reporting Services or the Microsoft Sync Framework.

Why was OmniTI a good fit to work on this project?

This whole project has very much been a joint effort and their insight into how the PHP community works and current technical trends has been invaluable. They lived up to their years of experience and reputation in the industry and have been great to work with. Getting honest and informed opinions on the right approach is easier said than done but they delivered big-time.

How do you plan to work with OmniTI to contribute back to open source projects not only with code that benefits Microsoft but for example with WordPress, docs, blog articles, and tests?

We understand the importance of community when it comes to the success of a project. We are working together right now to develop a set of Selenium test cases that weʼd love to see make it back into the WordPress Test Suite. We are actively publishing articles on

Zach Skyles Owens, Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft

Zach Skyles Owens is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on SQL Azure and SQL Server. Before working for Microsoft he led teams building web applications and business intelligence systems on non-Microsoft technologies including Oracle, MySQL, Java and PHP.

OmniTI Helps Microsoft and Wordpress

Patch features:

  • Supports multiple DB connection drivers, including PDO
  • Supports WordPress core functionality including upgrading and importing
  • Maintains WordPress MySQL optimizations
  • Provides flexible structure to add support for other databases
  • Includes selenium testsuite for WordPress