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Liip Blog:
New Relic extension for HHVM updated to latest version
January 20, 2015 @ 10:04:14

In his latest post to the Liip blog Christian Stocker points out that the New Relic extension for HHVM has been updated for the latest versions of HHVM to work a bit more seamlessly.

Since HHVM 3.4 it's theoretically possible to have your own external profiler for function level profiling (like xhprof or xdebug) without having to recompile HHVM itself. Unfortunately it wasn't perfect (or I couldn't make it running), but there's a patch in the master branch now (the upcoming 3.6), which seems to solve that problem. So I worked a little bit on my extension in the last few days and I adjusted a lot of things and improved some other stuff.

He talks about the improvements New Relic has made on their functionality and some slowness that still exists in the "hotprofiler". He points out, however, that if you just want overall statistics and not specific, method level ones, you don't really even need to use it. He offers a word of caution when using his extension and when it may fall back to "userland level profiling" instead.

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Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2015/01/19/new-relic-extension-for-hhvm-updated-to-latest-version.html

HHVM Blog:
Wikipedia on HHVM
January 07, 2015 @ 11:47:20

In a new post to the HHVM blog, Brett Simmers looks at the recent announcement from Wikipedia and how they made the switch to HHVM and the impact it made.

If you've been watching our GitHub wiki, following us on Twitter, or reading the wikitech-l mailing list, you've probably known for a while that Wikipedia has been transitioning to HHVM. This has been a long process involving lots of work from many different people, and as of a few weeks ago, all non-cached API and web traffic is being served by HHVM. This blog post from the Wikimedia Foundation contains some details about the switch, as does their page about HHVM.

Brett spends the rest of the post talking about his time working with the Wikimedia foundation and some of the hurdles they had to tackle along the way. This included things outside of PHP too like an issue with their Lua extension and compile changes in the installed PCRE version (no JIT). He also shares some of the statistics (in graph form) of the results of the move to HHVM from normal PHP5 - an impressive drop of around 7 seconds, median save time. He also includes a graph showing the server loads and the resulting (very impressive) drop from the move.

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hhvm wikipedia statistics wikimedia switch php5

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/7205/wikipedia-on-hhvm

Facebook Code Blog:
Announcing the Hack Transpiler
November 12, 2014 @ 12:11:47

On the Facebook Hack blog there's an announcement about a new tool they've created to "reverse engineer" Hack code and turn it back into normal PHP - the Hack Transpiler. There's also more information in the Facebook announcement:

Today, we're proud to announce a first, experimental release of h2tp, or the "HH (Hack) Transpiler," a tool which allows projects that have converted from PHP to Hack to still make releases that target the PHP language.

Since the launch of Hack, many community members have asked us how to manage forward compatibility. Hack is backwards-compatible with PHP - if you're running PHP on HHVM, Hack code will seamlessly integrate with it. But the inverse is not true.

The announcement talks about the things that make Hack, well, Hack and how it's not just a simple find and replace to convert it back into PHP. Their "h2tp" tool also converts things like collections and short lambda expressions back into structured PHP. To illustrate, they include some before and after code, showing the addition and substitution of PHP for the Hack shorthand operators. The post also covers some of the hurdles they faced during the implementation of the "h2tp" tool, including error handling.

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facebook hack tool covert language h2tp hhvm language

Link: https://code.facebook.com/posts/398235553660954/announcing-the-hack-transpiler/

HHVM Blog:
The Journey of a Thousand Bytecodes
October 06, 2014 @ 12:49:38

In the latest post to the HHVM (HipHop VM) blog Sara Golemon recounts the journey of a thousand bytecodes and the process that it takes to decompose a PHP file and optimize it for execution in the HHVM environment.

Compilers are fun. They take nice, human readable languages like PHP or Hack and turn them into lean, mean, CPU executin' turing machines. Some of these are simple enough a CS student can write one up in a weekend, some are the products of decades of fine tuning and careful architecting. Somewhere in that proud tradition stands HHVM; In fact it's several compilers stacked in an ever-growing chain of logic manipulation and abstractions. This article will attempt to take the reader through the HHVM compilation process from PHP-script to x86 machine code, one step at a time.

The process is broken down into six different steps, each with a description and some code examples where relevant:

  • Lexing the PHP to get its tokens
  • Parsing the token results into an AST (and optimizing it along the way)
  • Compilation to Bytecode
  • HHBBC Optimization
  • Intermediate Representation
  • Virtual Assembly
  • Emitting machine code
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hhvm bytecode process hiphop compile decode optimize

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/6323/the-journey-of-a-thousand-bytecodes

Voices of the ElePHPant:
Interview with Sara Golemon
September 18, 2014 @ 10:55:48

The Voices of the ElePHPant podcast has posted its latest episode, another interview with a PHP community member. This time they talk with Sara Golemon, a developer at Facebook that works on HHVM and Hack.

They talk about some of the current work being done with the HHVM and Hack projects, including parity with normal PHP and performance changes. They also talk some about Sara's favorite feature the team has worked on (xhp) and where the idea for it came from. Cal also has Sara define Hack and describe what it can and can't do.

You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page player or by downloading the mp3 directly. If you enjoy the interview be sure to subscribe to their feed to get the latest episodes as they're released.

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Link: http://voicesoftheelephpant.com/2014/09/16/interview-with-sara-golemon

HHVM Blog:
HHVM Long Term Support
September 03, 2014 @ 10:50:20

The HHVM (HipHop VM from Facebook) has released an update on their blog today discussing some of the long term support they plan to provide for the project and what kinds of things it will involve.

HHVM is known for its very intense and quick development pace: currently we ship to GitHub the exact same code we use to run the Facebook site within minutes of every commit, and we release a full version every 8 weeks. That is great and at the same time scary if you are trying to build a business or infrastructure around it. The HHVM team at Facebook understands that in order to reach every corner of the PHP landscape our users need to have some sort of commitment, in order to plan their deployments accordingly and to know how upstream will react to security and stability fixes in already released versions, for example.

Starting with HHVM v3.3, they'll be supporting two major versions at all times. They provide a table of versions and dates to give you an idea of when the support coverage period is and when they'll end. There's also some discussions about the packaged released for the various linux distributions and what kinds of updates might be included in the long-term support (LTS) updates.

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hhvm support hiphop virtualmachine schedule longterm version

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/6083/hhvm-long-term-support

Allan MacGregor:
Exploring Hack Building a MicroFramework
August 11, 2014 @ 09:09:13

Allan MacGregor has started a new series of posts to his site where he creates a microframework in Hack, the language created by Facebook to compliment their HHVM (Hip-Hip Virtual Machine) project. He sees it as a "learn by doing" kind of thing and wanted to share his results.

I honestly believe the best way to learn something is to get your hands dirty and make mistakes; so instead of writing dozens of post on the many new features of Hack and why they are awesome (in theory) let's build something useful. So to get started I've decided to build a micro-framework using HACK and HHVM, building a simple microframework should be a challenging enough task to illustrate some of the more interesting features of the language and at the same time it has an achievable goal so we don't end on a never ending development cycle.

His framework, one he calls "Slash", will mostly be about creating RESTful applications but it could, in theory, be for any kind of web application. He also mentions some of the other great microframeworks out there already that are well-developed and have good communities behind them (including Slim and Silex. This is just the first part of the series and introduces some of the "why" around his goal. In the next part of the series he'll get into the structure and routing with some actual framework code.

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hack microframework facebook hhvm language slash

Link: http://coderoncode.com/2014/08/06/exploring-hack-part1.html

Kinsta.com:
Real-World WordPress Benchmarks with PHP5.5 PHP5.6 PHP-NG and HHVM
July 30, 2014 @ 12:26:51

The Kinsta.com blog has a new post with the results of some benchmarking they've done around WordPress comparing PHP 5.5, PHP 5.6 (PHPNG) and HHVM in response time (well, time taken for the request).

If you remember we wrote an article a good couple of months ago when WordPress 3.9 came out that HHVM was fully supported beginning with that release, and we were all happy about it. The initial benchmark results showed HHVM to be far more superior than the Zend engine that's currently powering all PHP builds.

[...] Obviously you have to compromise based on your (or rather your sites') needs but is it worth it? How much of a performance gain can you expect by switching to HHVM? [...] Today I finally took the time to set up a test environment and do some tests to compare a couple of different builds with a fresh out of the box WordPress install and one that has a bunch of content added plus runs WooCommerce!

The testing was all done locally on virtual machines (using Vagrant setups) and two different kinds of test WordPress installations. They share the results in the post, showing the differences between the HHVM installations and the plain PHP ones. The results also show the differences between having the opcode cache on and off. Curious to see how it would perform outside of a local system, they also pushed the same configurations out to a DigitalOcean instance with some slightly different results.

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Link: https://kinsta.com/blog/real-world-wordpress-benchmarks-with-php5-5-php5-6-php-ng-and-hhvm/

HHVM Blog:
HHVM 3.1.0
May 30, 2014 @ 11:56:54

On the HHVM blog today they've announce the release of the latest version of the popular project, version 3.1.0. This version fixes a few issues (including a segfault) and crossed into their semi-annual "lockdown" to work directly on the project.

If you remember last time we focused on framework unit tests, performance, and growing beards. This time, our frameworks were in good shape thanks to Fred and our Open Academy students, but our github story was not as pretty. At the start of lockdown we had 60 pull requests and nearly 450 issues. So our focus this time was github health and of course as always, perf.

In the end they closed out 251GitHub issues and made things 16% more efficient in the process. They list out some of the updates in this release including:

You can grab this latest release from the pre-build packages page on the GitHub project account.

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hiphop vm hhvm release version github issues

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/5195/hhvm-3-1-0

SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP Fights HHVM and Zephir with PHPNG
May 27, 2014 @ 10:14:23

In a new post to the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc talks about a "fight" that has broken out between various technologies vying to come out as the top PHP performance platform...more specifically the recent PHPNG patch to the PHP language itself.

Chaos in the old world! First HipHop, years ago, and no one bats an eye. Then suddenly, HHVM happens, introduces Hack, and all hell breaks loose - Facebook made a new PHP and broke/fixed everything (depending on who you ask). Furthermore, Zephir spawns and threatens with C-level compilation of all your PHP code, with full support for current PHP extensions. It's mushroom growth time for alternative PHP runtimes, and HippyVM appears as well. Amid the sea of changes, another splash was heard: PHPNG.

He covers some of the basics of the PHPNG patch, who has been working on it and some of the main pros and cons about the refactor. While it does provide a speed boost and native extension support, not all extensions are supported and the internal developers are divided on its adoption.

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hhvm zephir performance phpng introduction

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-fights-hhvm-zephir-phpng/


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