Symfony, the popular open source web application framework for PHP developers, is now even easier to use on Windows Azure thanks to Benjamin Eberlei’s Azure Distribution Bundle project. You can find the source code and documentation on the project’s GitHub repo.
Symfony is a model-view-controller (MVC) framework that takes advantage of other open-source projects including Doctrine (ORM and database abstraction layer), PHP Data Objects (PDO), the PHPUnit unit testing framework, Twig template engine, and others. It eliminates common repetitive coding tasks so that PHP developers can build robust web apps quickly.
Symfony and Windows Azure are a powerful combination for building highly scalable PHP applications and services, and the Azure Distribution Bundle is a free set of tools, code, and documentation that makes it very easy to work with Symfony on Windows Azure. It includes functionality for streamlining the development experience, as well as tools to simplify deployment to Windows Azure.
Features that help streamline the Symfony development experience for Windows Azure include changes to allow use of the Symfony Sandbox on Windows Azure, functionality for distributed session management, and a REST API that gives Symfony developers access to Windows Azure services using the tools they already know best. On the deployment side, the Azure Distribution Bundle adds some new commands that are specific to Windows Azure to Symfony’s PHP app/console that make it easier to deploy Symfony applications to Windows Azure:
- windowsazure:init – initializes scaffolding for a Symfony application to be deployed on Windows Azure
- windowsazure:package – packages the Symfony application for deployment on Windows Azure
Benjamin Eberlei, lead developer on the project, has posted a quick-start video that shows how to install and work with the Azure Distribution Bundle. His video takes you through prerequisites, installation, and deployment of a simple sample application that takes advantage of the SQL Database Federations sharding capability built into the SQL Database feature of Windows Azure:
Whether you’re a Symfony developer already, or a PHP developer looking to get started on Windows Azure, you’ll find the Azure Distribution Bundle to be easy to use and flexible enough for a wide variety of applications and architectures. Download the package today – it includes all of the documentation and scaffolding you’ll need to get started. If you have ideas for making Symfony development on Windows Azure even easier, you can join the project and make contributions to the source code, or you can provide feedback through the project site or right here.
Symfony and Doctrine are often used in combination, as shown in the sample application mentioned above. For more information about working with Doctrine on Windows Azure, see the blog post Doctrine supports SQL Database Federations for massive scalability on Windows Azure.
Symfony and Doctrine have a rich history in the open source and PHP communities, and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with these communities to make Windows Azure a big part of the Symfony/Doctrine story going forward!
Senior Technical Evangelist
Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.