Microsoft this week began offering a software development kit intended to boost interoperability between PHP applications and Microsoft's business intelligence and reporting software. Developers can use the toolkit to build applications that run on top of Microsoft's SQL Server Reporting Services, leveraging business intelligence and reporting.

Reports can be built and integrated with enterprise web applications, thus providing greater access to information using graphically rendered data and rich content, a Microsoft representative said.

"Wouldn't it be awesome if PHP developers building reporting applications could use the wider range of ready-to-use tools and services to create, deploy, and manage their reports?" said Claudio Caldato, senior program manager for the interoperability strategy team at Microsoft, in a blog post. "Today, the SQL Server Reporting Services SDK for PHP turns that scenario into a simple reality enabling PHP developers to easily create reports and integrate them in their web applications."

The SDK works with the free SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Services edition, featuring the SQL Server 2008 database and graphical administration tools and Reporting Services server components. Featuring an API to interoperate with SQL Server Reporting Services, the SDK is available on Microsoft's Codeplex site for open source projects.

The API offers methods to perform operations including listing reports within a PHP application, providing custom parameters from a PHP web form and managing and rendering reports within a PHP application. SOAP is used as the underlying communication mechanism in the API.