There are many reasons to use PHP on a Windows system, but the most common is that you want to develop web applications on your Windows desktop machine without the hassle of telnetting into the central Unix server. This is very easy to do, as PHP is extremely cross-platform friendly, and installation and configuration are becoming easier all the time.
What can be confusing at first is the number of various configurations and choices available. There are many variants of the Windows operating system, and many web servers are available for those operating systems. PHP itself can run as either a dynamic link library (DLL) or a CGI script. It's easy to get confused or to misconfigure your system. This chapter explains how to install, configure, and make the best use of PHP on Windows systems. We also show how to take advantage of the features unique to the Windows platform connecting to databases with ODBC and controlling Microsoft Office applications through COM.