back to article Facebook plans PHP changes

On Tuesday, Facebook is expected to unveil changes to PHP, the language that helped make the social networking site a success - along with millions of other web sites. SD Times has outed the planned change here. Facebook wouldn't provide details when contacted by The Reg but said it would make more details available Tuesday …

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Yahoo! PHP optimisation

So it sounds a lot like Yahoo's PHP project where they moved a bunch of Yahoo to PHP and developed a runtime that was optimised for speed. Interesting that Rasmus Lerdorf left Yahoo in November.

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WTF?

Imply Facebook controls PHP

AFAIK PHP is defined by php.net in cooperation with Zend. So how is that Facebook will change PHP? Do you mean that Facebook will propose soome changes to PHP?

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the community controls PHP.

PHP is open-source. If you want to change it, you are free to do so. If you want to share those changes, you can also do that. If the community likes your changes, they may well be added to an official release.

"The PHP Group" controls the official PHP code, but if they reject a change that the community likes, they are free to create a "fork" of the official release, including the changes. (Picture the different Linux distributions. All based on the same code, but developed in different directions.)

It's open-source. Nobody controls it. They can only control -their- version of it.

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New PHP

Facebook has just released its own version of PHP.

You and 12 other PHP developers like this.

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Grenade

I for one welcome...

anything that would stop it being a disorganised keyword explosion and tramp's language.

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Komodo IDE

Komodo IDE supports PHP among many other scripting languages. I use it for Perl and absolutely love it - it just works - it got me off the anti-depressants* as I can now avoid 'orrible command-line debugs, scruffy, fiddly X-Window motif lego brick style 1990s GUI free-debuggers and having to insert lots of print STDOUTs in my code.

Don't know how well it works for PHP but I suggest you trial it.

*Actually I made that bit up.

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@Register Fail

"You'd still be better off using something like Java if you were starting from scratch- you certainly wouldn't need to worry about having to re-write the JVM at least!"

99% of projects I've been involved with using Java end up with convoluted under-performing bloatware. This may well be because of poor IDEs or poor frameworks but the bottom line is that it doesn't appear to be up to the job..... and that's without the religious arguments over which framework and how to take over the enterprise which end in stalled projects wand then everyone going their own way.....

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Pint

Spot on Java comments, bear in mind Drupal - PHP framework

Spot on about your Java comments.

However, please take a look at Drupal (if you haven't done so) a very powerful web content management system, free, open source that is based on PHP and runs some high profile sites including whitehouse.gov amnesty.org mtv.co.uk and the upcoming data.gov.uk

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Compiled PHP

It's compiled PHP. Mentioned here.

http://www.allfacebook.com/2010/01/anonymous-facebook-employee-interview-fact-vs-fiction/

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Anonymous Coward

@RegisterFail

When I say "involved with" I don't mean I was writing the Java!

I agree that Java need not be so bad but the fact remains that over the years I've seen a lot of projects using it fail to deliver and yes, probably because of poorly qualified developers. Although I think Java frameworks seem to lend themselves to these kind of mistakes more than I saw with C, C++ or C#.

Perhaps more on topic: I've found PHP to be a good compromise for getting things done fairly quickly and I have found it scale surprisingly well....

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Anonymous Coward

faster PHP == Good Thing

one of the great things about PHP (and used to be Classic ASP) was that unlike .Net and Java you don't have to compile a complete application or solution and deploy that monolith to the web... you need to change something (even an include) you just edit it, upload the one file and you're good (assuming you tested it of course!)

the downside... performance compared to ASP.NET. I'm not a fan of java for anything user facing (just look how pretty ebay is!) but if PHP can retain the advantages that made it such a strong player while getting the sort of performance improvements Facebook need that would rock.

When we had a choice of migrating a project from Classic ASP to ASP.NET or PHP it was actually cheaper and quicker to go PHP. We didn't have too much performance problems (it was a bit better than the Classic ASP and gave similar user experience to comparable ASP.NET sites) and ironically more recently running it under FastCGI on IIS7 has given us a boost. JIT Compilation or a faster runtime would however be awesome.

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It's called hip-hop

They've just announced it here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=280583813919&id=9445547199&ref=nf

A snippet:

Today I'm excited to share the project a small team of amazing people and I have been working on for the past two years; HipHop for PHP. With HipHop we've reduced the CPU usage on our Web servers on average by about fifty percent, depending on the page. Less CPU means fewer servers, which means less overhead. This 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 websites with PHP. While HipHop has shown us incredible results, it's certainly not complete and you should be comfortable with beta software before trying it out.

HipHop for PHP isn't technically a compiler itself. Rather it is a source code transformer. HipHop programmatically transforms your PHP source code into highly optimized C++ and then uses g++ to compile it. HipHop executes the source code in a semantically equivalent manner and sacrifices some rarely used features – such as eval() – in exchange for improved performance. HipHop includes a code transformer, a reimplementation of PHP's runtime system, and a rewrite of many common PHP Extensions to take advantage of these performance optimizations.

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