Choosing Between Database Platforms: MS SQL and MySQL, with a twist

Another StackOverflow question: Given a site using PHP and VB.NET, and a choice between Microsoft SQL Server and MySQL, which coupling would be easier to maintain?

VB.NET and Microsoft SQL Server are an obvious marriage, as are PHP and MySQL, but as both development languages are in use, we are faced with choosing between two odd combinations:

  • VB.NET and MySQL

  • or PHP and MS SQL

My response? I’d go with MySQL (possibly controversially!), although SQL Server is by far the superior platform, all things considered. If you’re comparing them as similar alternatives, you’re probably not going to use any of the features of MS SQL that make it the better platform, and so it’s not worth the extra hassle.

In summary, here’s why:

  • PHP’s support for MySQL is second to none (given the following caveat)
  • PHP’s support for SQL Server is suboptimal; Microsoft provide a PHP driver, and there are other techniques, but PHP’s simply not quite as database-agnostic as VB.NET
  • VB.NET, although it loves SQL Server, will happily talk to any OLEDB provider (e.g. an ODBC connection) with no problems whatsoever, and MySQL’s ODBC support is pretty mature.
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