Things have been a little quiet around the Peachpie project for a few weeks, but there is a good reason for that; we were invited to attend one of the biggest IT conventions in the world: Microsoft Build. Here are our thoughts about it.
Bigger, better, Build
True to Microsoft’s strategy in the last 4 years, the Build conference was one of superlatives. This year, it took place in Seattle, WA, on the premises of the Washington State Convention Center. Five floors or 440,000 square feet (41,000 square meters) filled with Microsoft marketing materials, the latest technology and – obviously – developers and press. The magnitude, the sheer size of it all, was quite impressive, but what really stood out was the quality of organization.
Let’s not talk about the keynotes or breakout sessions we visited, because you can view them all online. Instead, we would like to focus on the overall themes of the conference and what trends Build seems to be setting for the future, as well as what these mean for Peachpie.
VR and AR are the future
One of the main themes of Build were various applications of virtual or augmented reality. We got to try out Microsoft’s HoloLens in several different usecases by multiple application developers and while this technology is probably not in a state where it will find widespread usage just yet, it certainly gave us a good glimpse into the future.
Another recurring theme is the ubiquitous notion that .NET will be everywhere. Any device, any operating system. Microsoft is really trying to integrate everywhere and to be extensible by just about anything. What does this mean for Peachpie? For one, the project aligns well with Microsoft’s inclusive strategy of late, as it can give access to Microsoft technologies to PHP devs. In addition, since .NET Core is a true multi-platform technology, Peachpie will allow PHP to access previously unthinkable areas, such as IoT, wearables or mobile apps and game development.
It was great to see that our vision to bridge the gap between PHP and .NET coincides with the course that Microsoft has decided to take a few years ago.
Meeting with legends
Over the course of Build we got to meet and chat with pretty much a Who’s Who of the .NET world. We shared thoughts with and got opinions of Rich Lander, Beth Massi and Immo Landwerth, as well as Karel Zikmund from the CoreFX team. During a side event at the famous Seattle Space Needle, we also met with the legendary Mark Michaelis with whom we had a lengthy discussion. He was quite fascinated with the possibility of running WordPress on .NET and was kind enough to take us to the Facebook office the next day to meet with the former Microsoft legend Eric Lippert. Eric, too, was quite thrilled with the idea of Peachpie and introduced us to several colleagues working on HHVM and Hack, so the results of our meeting remain to be seen in the future. In any case, the support and interest from Microsoft is definitely much appreciated and a solid reward for our hard work on Peachpie.
What’s next for Peachpie
Build definitely reinforced some of our ideas and gave us inspiration for new ones. The next steps on our roadmap are to finish our work on WordPress to be able to compile and run a completely unmodified clone on .NET Core. We will also set up automatic testing for WordPress and all future frameworks Peachpie will support, so that it will become easy to see upon the first glance what the build status is.
We will also focus on creating a more flashy demo of Peachpie – a game in PHP running on your phone. After that we will continue implementing functionalities needed by the various popular PHP frameworks so that Peachpie can become a more globally compatible platform.