Facebook Souped Up with Hyper-PHP, a Compiled PHP-based Language

By HTMLGoodies Staff

Facebook is coming of age with its use of a "souped up" version of PHP dubbed Hyper-PHP, which is a completely rewritten version of the PHP runtime. Hyper-PHP turns PHP from a scripted language into a compiled language, which could dramatically increase the site's speed.

As we mentioned in our news article from January 12th, Facebook has basically created this "new version" of PHP from scratch, however a recent blog from Alex Handy indicated that Facebook may actually be going to release a compiler for PHP rather than a new PHP runtime.

According to Handy, the core PHP team made a visit to the Facebook headquarters last week to view the details of the new compiler, after signing a non-disclosure agreement. As mentioned by an anonymouse Facebook employee in January, the PHP project is the result of a single employeee, stating "this guy right now is single-handedly rewriting, essentially, the entire site," which took approximately two years to complete.

Zend, the creator of the currently used Zend Engine Virtual Machine, will likely not be thrilled with this announcment, which is said to be officially released by the social networking giant tomorrow, as the Facebook announcement is basically making a statement that the Zend VM is just not fast enough for a large scale enterprise website.

Facebook's HyperPHP could potentially speed up the site by reducing the CPU usage on their servers by 80%, which will speed the site's page loading time and make the end-user experience more pleasant, which means more users, more pageviews, more clicks, and more revenue.

It will be interesting to view Facebook's announcement, as they are expected to make it an open source release, which will certainly cause some excitement within the developer community.

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