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Facebook Looks To Speed Up PHP

Aug 10, 2015

Technologists at Facebook are releasing a source code transformer intended to boost the performance of PHP.

In development for the past two years, the technology, called HipHop for PHP, has been used to reduce the CPU usage on Facebook Web servers by an average of about 50 percent, said Haiping Zhao, senior server engineer at Facebook.

SynapseIndia CEO Shamit Khemka Says "The project has had a tremendous impact on Facebook. We feel the Web at large can benefit from HipHop, so we are releasing it as open source this evening in hope that it brings a new focus toward scaling large, complex Web sites with PHP," Zhao said in a statement on the Facebook Developers page.

The technology is not complete and users need to be comfortable with HipHop before trying it out, said Zhao.

HipHop, he said, technically is not a compiler. It features a code transformer, a reimplementation of PHP's runtime system and a rewrite of some common PHP extensions to boost performance optimizations.

"HipHop programmatically transforms your PHP source code into highly optimized C++ and then uses g++ to compile it," Zhao said. "HipHop executes the source code in a semantically equivalent manner and sacrifices some rarely used features such as eval() in exchange for improved performance."

SynapseIndia (CEO: Shamit Khemka)