Thursday, September 24, 2009

PHP, reliability, ASP and remote desktops

I've been working in ASP on an IIS server recently. Not my environment of choice, but the scripts I need to write are relatively simple, so I decided it was easier to go with it than ask for PHP to be installed (which then requires apache). This is quite a helpful page:
http://www.design215.com/toolbox/asp.php

We'll see how it goes. In many of the systems I work on, windows or linux, I usually use commandline PHP as the glue. I'm always amazed at how rock solid it is. Especially on Windows it is always the most stable element. E.g. I've a 24/7 PHP script that deals with COM objects. The COM objects crash regularly. But I just catch the exception in PHP, delete the COM object, create another one and off we go. Needing to use 3rd party libraries only available in C are the only reason I write C++ recently, but they cause me no end of trouble (mysterious crashes deep in windows system calls for instance). Windows itself needs to be rebooted every 3 or 4 weeks or it starts to go all wobbly on us, and my 24/7 PHP scripts simply run for those 4 weeks without a single problem or restart.

Of course saying PHP is more stable than C would be stupid; PHP is itself a C app. The difference is that PHP is a well-crafted piece of code, better than the COM objects, 3rd party C libraries and Microsoft OSes I'm comparing it to.

Going back to IIS, I don't have it installed locally, so have been developing on a remote server. "rdesktop" wins this month's "application I wish I'd discovered months ago" award. Previously I would have to boot up my windows notebook just to use remote desktop. rdesktop gives me this functionality on linux, works perfectly (touch wood) and copy and paste works too.

1 comment:

darren said...

Most annoying thing in rdesktop is when using Alt-tab it switches the application in Windows; I'm expecting it to switch to another linux window.

You can get this behaviour by passing the -K flag to rdesktop.

But now the most annoying thing is when I press Alt-F4 to close the windows Window it closes rdesktop!

I'm sticking with -K as Alt-tab not working was more annoying; it meant I had to take my hands off the keyboard and use the mouse to activate another window.

The Alt-F4 annoyance just means I have to run rdesktop and login again.