Windows Azure Websites, Web Roles, and VMs: When to use which?

The June 7th update to Windows Azure introduced two new services (Windows Azure Websites and persistent VMs) that beg the question “When should I use a Windows Azure Website vs. a Web Role vs. a VM?” That’s exactly the question I’ll try to help you answer in this post. (I say “help you answer” because…


Handling PHP Sessions in Windows Azure

One of the challenges in building a distributed web application is in handling sessions. When you have multiple instances of an application running and session data is written to local files (as is the default behavior for the session handling functions in PHP) a user session can be lost when a session is started on…


Using Custom PHP Extensions in Windows Azure Web Sites

I’m happy to announce that with the most recent update to Windows Azure Web Sites, you can now easily enable custom PHP extensions. If you have read any of my previous posts on how to configure PHP in Windows Azure Web Sites (Windows Azure Web Sites: A PHP Perspective and Configuring PHP in Windows Azure…


Windows Azure Websites: A PHP Perspective

The spring update to Windows Azure was big. Of all the updates, one of the most interesting is the addition of Windows Azure Websites. Essentially, Windows Azure now supports the ability to quickly and easily deploy ASP.NET, Node.js and PHP web-sites to a highly scalable cloud environment that allows you to start small (and for…


Packaging a Custom PHP Installation for Windows Azure

One feature of the scaffolds that are in the Windows Azure SDK for PHP is that all rely on the Web Platform Installer to install PHP when a project is deployed. This is great until I want my application deployed with my locally customized installation of PHP. Not only might I have custom settings, but…


Pie in the Sky (May 16th, 2014)

Back from TechEd, where there were a lot of announcements from Microsoft about working with various open source things. There were so many sessions, it was impossible to attend all of them. Good thing they put the videos online. Cloud Deploy and customize FreeBSD VMs on Azure: And here you thought Azure VMs were only…

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Atom.io for Markdown editing

A while back, Atom.io replaced Sublime Text as my go-to editor of choice for most things (I still use Visual Studio for .NET, but I work at Microsoft so that’s expected I guess.) Since I work on the documentation team, a lot of what I use Atom for is Markdown authoring. Some folks on my…

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Configuring PHP in Windows Azure Websites with .user.ini Files

I wrote a post a few weeks ago (Windows Azure Websites: A PHP Perspective) in which I suggested using the ini_set function to change PHP configuration settings in Windows Azure Websites. While that approach works, I briefly want to point out in this post that you can use a .user.ini file to configure PHP in…


Ruby web sites and Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control

Recently I was trying to figure out how to allow users to login to a Ruby (Sinatra) web site using an identity service such as Facebook, Google, Yahoo, etc. I ended up using Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service (ACS) since it has built-in support for: Facebook Google Yahoo Windows Live ID WS-Federation Identity Providers…

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PHP 5.4 available in Windows Azure Web Sites

I’m happy to share that PHP 5.4 is now available in Windows Azure Web Sites! You have always been able to install a custom PHP runtime in Web Sites, but now you can have PHP 5.4 available with the click of a button. And, you can customize the runtime (add/enable extensions, modify configuration settings). Details…