Facebook Looks to Speed up PHP

Over the past two years, Facebook’s “HipHop for PHP” has reduced CPU usage on the company’s Web servers by an average of 50 percent. “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,” wrote Haiping Zhao, senior server engineer at Facebook.

He explains, “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.”

In short, the tool gives developers the programming advantages of PHP with the performance advantages of C++.

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