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Product Review: Cognitier's Messaging Peer for PHP

Easily invoke a .NET application from a Linux web server

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Price: $299


PHP is a widely used language among .NET developers. For developers who need to invoke a .NET application from a Linux web server, Messaging Peer for PHP from Cognitier helps you to achieve this functionality very easily. The product is mainly to be used as a companion for SimpleIPC, which I reviewed previously here.

The main purpose of Messaging Peer for PHP is to enable a hosted Linux server to delegate work to a .NET application, which can reside on your home computer. For example, you can invoke Microsoft Office applications from a Linux server. The product also allows developers to have the hosted Linux server perform only the simplest functions, while the more significant work happens on the Windows machine—where the code can be written in .NET. Or a developer might want to deliver output from Windows applications on Linux websites.

Developers may also need to perform functions that require administrative access on the machine. For this purpose, there is no need to have the Windows machine hosted or publicly accessible as long as your Windows machine has a normal Internet connection. So the Windows machine could be your home computer running Windows 7, Vista, or XP.

Messaging Peer for PHP is highly secured, as nothing will be connecting to your home computer. However, it requires Internet connectivity, but the home computer will not be accessed by the application residing on the Linux server, nor does the home computer require a static IP address. Messaging Peer for PHP is a service that runs on a Windows machine and is configured to be a partner to a PHP application hosted on a separate server. Figure 1 shows the configuration screen for Messaging Peer for PHP.

Figure 1: Configuration screen for Messaging Peer for PHP
Figure 1: Configuration screen for Messaging Peer for PHP

Messaging Peer for PHP can provide significant cost savings for developers because it enables them to benefit from the lower costs of hosting a PHP application on a shared Linux server rather than having a dedicated hosted Windows machine.

Cognitier provides comprehensive documentation in PDF format, which developers can use to master the functionalities provided by Messaging Peer for PHP. The vendor also provides excellent support via e-mail. I'd like to see Cognitier offer the documentation in HTML Help format so that developers can easily jump to relevant topics without scrolling. Video tutorials that provide instruction on using the product's features would be another helpful addition.

As I mentioned, Messaging Peer for PHP is a free add-on to SimpleIPC. However, it is also available with SimpleIPC Express with a few features turned off.

Advanced developers who need to incorporate PHP functionality into their .NET applications should find the product very useful. I don't recommend the product for beginners, however, as they might find it difficult to learn the usage and functionality.

Anand Narayanaswamy ( [email protected]) is a Microsoft MVP who works as an independent consultant based in Trivandrum, India. He is the author of Community Server Quickly (Packt Publishing) and runs and

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