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<Xitami on Microsoft WindowsInstallation of extensions on Windows>
Last updated: Sun, 01 Apr 2007

Building from source

This chapter teaches how to compile PHP from sources on windows, using Microsoft's tools. To compile PHP with cygwin, please refer to Chapter 4.


To compile and build PHP you need a Microsoft Development Environment. Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 is recommended, though Visual C++ .NET versions will also work. Since PHP 5 the free Microsoft .NET toolchain is also supported (you need to install Windows Platform SDK, Visual C++ Toolkit and .NET Framework SDK).

To extract the downloaded files you will also need a ZIP extraction utility. Windows XP and newer already include this functionality built-in.

Before you get started, you have to download:

  • the win32 buildtools from the PHP site at /extra/win32build.zip.

  • the source code for the DNS name resolver used by PHP from /extra/bindlib_w32.zip. This is a replacement for the resolv.lib library included in win32build.zip.

  • If you plan to compile PHP as a Apache module you will also need the Apache sources.

Finally, you are going to need the source to PHP itself. You can get the latest development version using anonymous CVS, a snapshot or the most recent released source tarball.

Putting it all together

After downloading the required packages you have to extract them in a proper place:

  • Create a working directory where all files end up after extracting, e.g: C:\work.

  • Create the directory win32build under your working directory (C:\work) and unzip win32build.zip into it.

  • Create the directory bindlib_w32 under your working directory (C:\work) and unzip bindlib_w32.zip into it.

  • Extract the downloaded PHP source code into your working directory (C:\work).

  • Build the libraries you are going to need (or download the binaries if available) and place the headers and libs in the C:\work\win32build\include and C:\work\win32build\lib directories, respectively.

  • If you don't have cygwin installed with bison and flex, you also need to make the C:\work\win32build\bin directory available in the PATH, so that thoses tools can be found by the configure script.

Following this steps your directory structure looks like this:
|  |
|  +--bindlib_w32
|  |  |
|  |  +--arpa
|  |  |
|  |  +--conf
|  |  |
|  |  +--...
|  |
|  +--php-5.x.x
|  |  |
|  |  +--build
|  |  |
|  |  +--...
|  |  |
|  |  +--win32
|  |  |
|  |  +--...
|  |
|  +--win32build
|  |  |
|  |  +--bin
|  |  |
|  |  +--include
|  |  |
|  |  +--lib

If you aren't using Cygwin, you must also create the directories C:\usr\local\lib and then copy bison.simple from C:\work\win32build\bin to C:\usr\local\lib.

Note: If you want to use PEAR and the comfortable command line installer, the CLI-SAPI is mandatory. For more information about PEAR and the installer read the documentation at the PEAR website.

Build resolv.lib

You must build the resolv.lib library. Decide whether you want to have debug symbols available (bindlib - Win32 Debug) or not (bindlib - Win32 Release), but please remember the choice you made, because the debug build will only link with PHP when it is also built in debug mode. Build the appropriate configuration:

  • For GUI users, launch VC++, by double-clicking in C:\work\bindlib_w32\bindlib.dsw. Then select Build=>Rebuild All.

  • For command line users, make sure that you either have the C++ environment variables registered, or have run vcvars.bat, and then execute one of the following commands:

    • msdev bindlib.dsp /MAKE "bindlib - Win32 Debug"

    • msdev bindlib.dsp /MAKE "bindlib - Win32 Release"

At this point, you should have a usable resolv.lib in either your C:\work\bindlib_w32\Debug or Release subdirectories. Copy this file into your C:\work\win32build\lib directory over the file by the same name found in there.

Building PHP using the new build system [PHP >=5 only]

This chapter explains how to compile PHP >=5 using the new build system, which is CLI-based and very similar with the main PHP's Unix build system.

Note: This build system isn't available in PHP 4. Please refer to the Section called Building PHP using DSW files [PHP 4] instead.

Before starting, be sure you have read the Section called Putting it all together and you have built all needed libraries, like Libxml or ICU (needed for PHP >= 6).

First you should open a Visual Studio Command Prompt, which should be available under the Start menu. A regular Command Prompt window shouldn't work, as probably it doesn't have the necessary environment variables set. Then type something like cd C:\work\php-5.x.x to enter in the PHP source dir. Now you are ready to start configuring PHP.

The second step is running the buildconf batch file to make the configure script, by scanning the folder for config.w32 files. By default this command will also search in the following directories: pecl; ..\pecl; pecl\rpc; ..\pecl\rpc. Since PHP 5.1.0, you can change this behaviour by using the --add-modules-dir argument (e.g. cscript /nologo win32/build/buildconf.js --add-modules-dir=../php-gtk2 --add-modules-dir=../pecl).

The third step is configuring. To view the list of the available configuration options type cscript /nologo configure.js --help. After choosing the options that you will enable/disable, type something like: cscript /nologo configure.js --disable-foo --enable-fun-ext. Using --enable-foo=shared will attempt to build the 'foo' extension as a shared, dynamically loadable module.

The last step is compiling. To achieve this just issue the command nmake. The generated files (e.g. .exe and .dll) will be placed in either Release_TS or Debug_TS directories (if built with Thread safety), or in the Release or Debug directories otherwise.

Optionally you may also run PHP's test suite, by typing nmake test. If you want to run just a specific test, you may use the 'TESTS' variable (e.g. nmake /D TESTS=ext/sqlite/tests test - will only run sqlite's tests). To delete the files that were created during the compilation, you can use the nmake clean command.

A very useful configure option to build snapshots is --enable-snapshot-build, which add a new compiling mode (nmake build-snap). This tries to build every extension available (as shared, by default), but it will ignore build errors in individual extensions or SAPI.

Building PHP using DSW files [PHP 4]

Compiling PHP using the DSW files isn't supported as of PHP 5, as a much more flexible system was made available. Anyway, you can still use them, but keep in mind that they are not maintained very often, so you can have compiling problems. To compile PHP 4 for windows, this is the only available way though.

Configure MVC ++

The first step is to configure MVC++ to prepare for compiling. Launch Microsoft Visual C++, and from the menu select Tools => Options. In the dialog, select the directories tab. Sequentially change the dropdown to Executables, Includes, and Library files. Your entries should look like this:

  • Executable files: C:\work\win32build\bin, Cygwin users: C:\cygwin\bin

  • Include files: C:\work\win32build\include

  • Library files: C:\work\win32build\lib


The best way to get started is to build the CGI version:

  • For GUI users, launch VC++, and then select File => Open Workspace and select C:\work\php-4.x.x\win32\php4ts.dsw. Then select Build=>Set Active Configuration and select the desired configuration, either php4ts - Win32 Debug_TS or php4ts - Win32 Release_TS. Finally select Build=>Rebuild All.

  • For command line users, make sure that you either have the C++ environment variables registered, or have run vcvars.bat, and then execute one of the following commands from the C:\work\php-4.x.x\win32 directory:

    • msdev php4ts.dsp /MAKE "php4ts - Win32 Debug_TS"

    • msdev php4ts.dsp /MAKE "php4ts - Win32 Release_TS"

    • At this point, you should have a usable php.exe in either your C:\work\php-4.x.x\Debug_TS or Release_TS subdirectories.

It is possible to do minor customization to the build process by editing the main/config.win32.h file. For example you can change the default location of php.ini, the built-in extensions, and the default location for your extensions.

Next you may want to build the CLI version which is designed to use PHP from the command line. The steps are the same as for building the CGI version, except you have to select the php4ts_cli - Win32 Debug_TS or php4ts_cli - Win32 Release_TS project file. After a successful compiling run you will find the php.exe in either the directory Release_TS\cli\ or Debug_TS\cli\.

In order to build the SAPI module (php4isapi.dll) for integrating PHP with Microsoft IIS, set your active configuration to php4isapi-whatever-config and build the desired dll.

<Xitami on Microsoft WindowsInstallation of extensions on Windows>
Last updated: Sun, 01 Apr 2007