Ballmer Loves Web Developers

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer professes his love for Web developers.

Microsoft CEO reiterated his love for developers-Web developers, that is.

During a keynote address at Microsoft's MIX 08 conference here on March 6, Ballmer stood up and bellowed his appreciation for Web developers.

The keynote, set up as a fireside chat between Ballmer and appointed interviewer Guy Kawasaki, managing director of Garage Technology Ventures. However, when Kawasaki opened the keynote up to questions from the audience, one questioner asked Ballmer what he thought of Web developers. In a demonstration reminiscent of a football pep rally, Ballmer stood up and yelled: "Web developers, Web developers, Web developers!"

The display was a replay of a famous one Ballmer did at a 2001 conference where he professed his love for "developers, developers, developers!" Video clips of that 2001 Ballmer chant has been a staple on the Web.

Meanwhile, Ballmer also discussed the plight of Web developers as it applies to Microsoft's interest in acquiring Yahoo. Asked what would happen to the large number of PHP applications in force at Yahoo, Ballmer said, "We will have to make some final integration plans; we shouldn't have two of everything." Yet, specifically regarding the PHP applications, Ballmer added: "A lot of them will be running. Over time a lot of applications on the net are going to be replaced."

But, "for the foreseeable future," should Microsoft acquire Yahoo, "We will be a PHP shop as well as an ASP.Net shop."

PHP is one of the most widely used languages for developing Web applications. Although in a Ziff Davis Enterprise survey of developers, Microsoft's ASP.Net actually fared better than PHP as a language developers said they plan to begin using for new development over the next 18 months.

Ballmer also noted that PHP runs well on Windows, particularly Windows Server 2008. Indeed, Microsoft and Zend Technologies announced an agreement on March 4 to ensure that high-performance PHP Web applications can be deployed on Microsoft's Windows Server 2008. Microsoft and Zend have worked together on Zend Core, Zend's certified and supported version of PHP. Zend Core and PHP are now certified for Windows Server 2008.

The March 4 announcement is the latest in a series of collaborations between Zend and Microsoft aimed at delivering high performance and reliability for PHP applications running on the Windows Server platform, the companies said. Several of these enhancements have been contributed back to the PHP community.

Late last year, Microsoft announced delivery of its FastCGI component for Microsoft Internet Information Services, an interface between PHP and the IIS Web server that delivered substantial reliability and performance benefits for PHP applications running on Windows.

Zend and Microsoft also support Cardspace, Microsoft's digital identity framework, which is integrated into Zend Framework, the leading PHP open-source framework for building modern Web applications and Web services. In addition, Microsoft has undertaken more than a dozen projects to ensure that the most popular PHP applications run on Windows, including Mambo, WordPress and Coppermine, among others.

Meanwhile, a very relaxed and enthused Ballmer said: "I'm pretty jazzed about Silverlight 2 and IE [Internet Explorer] 8."

Explaining Microsoft's strategy with Silverlight, Ballmer said: "I think as the PC and the Internet have grown up we found that for people who develop and design applications and user interfaces there's been this fork in the road," meaning that developers had to either develop applications that would run either on the desktop or on the browser.

But, "over time we've wanted to bring those two things together," Ballmer said.

"That's at the heart and soul of what we're trying to do with Silverlight, .Net, and WPF [Windows Presentation Foundation]," Ballmer said.

Silverlight is a cross-platform, cross-browser plug-in that enables Web developers to create Web applications with features like animation, vector graphics, and audio-video playback, among other things. Microsoft announced a beta release of Silverlight 2 at MIX on March 5.