In the new post to his blog Pádraic Brady starts a series looking at building PHP extensions "the easy way" using the Zehpir language, a derivative of PHP.
When I first heard about the Phalcon framework for PHP, my immediate reaction was to doubt the sanity of its developers. Part of that reaction is something most of us would share: we are not C programmers and that strange alien language sometimes terrifies us. [...] Now, with no padded cell yet in evidence, the Phalcon people decided to do something truly insane. They created an intermediate programming language called Zephir, easily learned by any PHP programmer, that makes creating and maintaining the PHP extensions you do create ridiculously easy.
Zephir is a "bridge" making it easier to create the C code required to build a PHP extension but with the more familiar format we're used to as PHP developers. He includes a simple "Hello World" example and talks about some of the differences between it and PHP. He also briefly talks about some of the things Zephir can't do right now and how it relates to the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) and what advantages it might have over it.