Advice for Website Redesign

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dstoltz
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Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:24 am

I have an older website done in Classic ASP, and many pages hit a Microsoft SQL server for database functionality.

We are starting to move forward with the planning for the redesign, and I wanted to get opinions on moving forward with changing the ASP to PHP, and keeping the MS SQL database. I know PHP can be used with MS SQL, but I don't know if there are any "gotch'as", or things to be aware of.

Yes, we could use MySQL, but I'm much more familiar with MS SQL, and know how to support it from an administrative and development standpoint.

The server will be Windows Server 2012 (I don't have a choice with this), and I would either run WAMP on it for PHP functionality, or just install PHP....I like the ease of WAMP for enabling certain PHP features, so I'm leaning towards that...but again, opinions please!

Thanks for any thoughts and advice!

landi
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Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:17 pm

Hi,
I've used classic ASP and I found PHP much richer, and less prone to unexpected changes (i.e. it doesn't suddenly become .NET).

I've only worked a little with MSsql and i was ok, but I prefer Oracle, again in terms of richness. However, MSsql is richer than mysql, IHMO, so 'downgrading' to mysql may be frustrating. PHP is meant to work fine with all of these db, but I haven't tried MSsql. PHP Data Objects (PDO) is an abstraction layer that might help.

I've had a few difficulties getting a good PHP environment on windows, but if you have support, then it should be possible (and I wasn't using Apache - it might work better with Apache/WAMP). On one project in a Windows environment, it turned out easier to get support for a single linux server with a 'works out of the box' PHP than it did to get PHP working with an 'out the box' Windows server. It's a funny ole world...

It's very quick to install PHP to see if it will work in your environment and a few hours of playing should tell you how easy it is to connect to your database.

Make sure your PHP server has got all the error handling turned on (so that syntax errors are shown rather than just a 'blank' output), and invest in a good IDE. I've used (and mostly liked) the various MS IDEs for VB, ASP and .NET, and I've found PHPstorm to be a rich PHP environment. I think there is a trial download, or at least a cheap 'personal' edition. There's also plenty of others, but I tried PHPEd for a few years (which you might be tempted by because it's windows), but I found it poor when doing code completion - it never seemed to understand my class structure.

Just my 2 cents
-A

dstoltz
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Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:30 am

Thanks Landi - great info....I haven't used any PHP IDE's - I just use Dreamweaver CC, which does a pretty good job with intelli-code for variables, objects, etc...so I haven't needed to stray.

I'll do a little more research with PHP on a Windows server...it seems a shame to have IIS7 available, and not use it...but I don't know .net well enough for this project, and I'm *trying* to move away from ASP, although ASP would be fully supported under IIS7.

Again, thanks -

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