You may have heard that Microsoft is sponsoring the MODxpo conference next month. We consider this a noteworthy event for any Open Source project and certainly for MODx. Reactions range from confusion and disbelief to thinking we've sold out, but pretty much everyone asks why Microsoft would be interested in MODx.
In October 2006 Microsoft made a strategic investment in a partnership with Zend to make sure PHP runs well on IIS. (It worked.) Zend's CEO, Andi Gutmans, summed up that deal:
Microsoft saw that PHP doesn't have to be their enemy. Approximately 75 percent of all professional PHP developers develop on Windows. A few deploy on Windows. So we have a significant investment to make PHP a first-class citizen on the Windows platform. Some of the development with Windows includes Windows enhancements to PHP code base, FastCGI implementation for Internet Information Services (IIS), stability, and performance testing lab for PHP/Windows. This is all an ongoing effort.
The Microsoft team I've been fortunate to meet with have really changed my perception of the world's largest software company. They're continuing the groundbreaking work started in 2006, and are reaching out to projects like MODx.
After months of talking with Microsoft, including some very interesting meetings at SxSW this year, they stepped up and generously became our sponsor for the MODxpo. This sponsorship allowed us to slash the ticket price, and to offer below-cost rates for students. (You'd be shocked at how expensive hotel catering and AV rentals are...) And for that we're very thankful.
From my perspective, if we can get MODx running natively in on top of a Windows PHP stack, then it's a huge win for the MODx community. Most Microsoft shops tend to be at best hesitant to introduce another database like MySQL into their IT operations. Just because MySQL comes free of licensing costs doesn't mean there are no maintenance, monitoring and upgrade expenses. However, when MODx runs on a full Microsoft stack—and that means adding Microsoft SQL Server to the current IIS/Windows Server mix—it'd be much harder to dismiss it outright due to the DB platform alone.
This really could open the doors for a lot of MODx business for our developer community. My number one goal is to grow the MODx ecosystem and to make sure MODx developers worldwide have a growing base of business opportunities. Microsoft sure adds significantly to this end.
So we look forward to a future where we not only grow MODx in the traditional LAMP-stack world, but also on the Microsoft platform. Josh Holmes from Microsoft (out of the Open Source world, no less) will be doing a presentation on running MODx in a Windows Environment.
On behalf of the entire MODx team and community I'd like to express our sincere gratitude to Microsoft for believing in us and for sponsoring the MODxpo. We look forward to seeing what the MODx + Microsoft future brings.