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Stephan Hochdörfer:
Silex running on HHVM
April 09, 2014 @ 09:14:12

Stephan Hochdörfer has a quick new post to his site today showing how he was able to setup a Silex-based application to run on the HHVM (HipHopVM) from Facebook.

First of all I assume you already got HHVM running with nginx. If this is not the case feel free to follow these steps to get everything up and running. To install Silex we will use Composer, so let`s install all the needed requirements and Composer itself.

He includes all the commands you'll need to get the Composer dependencies installed (curl, git, unzip) and to pull it down and move it to the right location post-install. He adds a line to his ".bashrc" to enable it for HHVM and creates the sample "composer.json" for the Silex install. Finally, he includes the updates to make to the nginx configuration to handle the needed redirects to the Silex front controller.

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Link: http://blog.bitexpert.de/blog/silex-running-on-hhvm/

Pádraic Brady:
Is Facebook's HHVM Building PHP's Coffin?
April 01, 2014 @ 09:31:52

In a new post to his site, Pádraic Brady poses a question about the HHVM project from Facebook - is it going to "be the coffin" that will replace the Zend Engine in PHP completely and change the way we know it?

With HHVM 3.0 now released, it's probably time to start talking about HHVM and the new Hack Language. It's becoming hard to ignore some of the fantastical notions spreading on the grapevine about HHVM. There is talk of significant performance improvements, a multitude of new features courtesy of Hack, that PHP Internals is actually now outnumbered by HHVM contributors. There is even treasonous talk of PHP's Zend Engine being put out to pasture.

He talks about how it was inevitable, really, that there'd be another implementation come up through the ranks (much like the variations of Ruby). He also mentions some other, less popular options in replacing the main implementation (Zephir, HippyVM, etc). He then poses an interesting question - "what is PHP?" He talks about language specifications, the PHP internals group and the delay that sometimes happens introducing new language features into the core (some of which HHVM already has).

PHP, as we know it, is starting to smell. It has gone from being the only PHP in town, to being the slowest, with the least number of features, and the one that's subject to dysfunctional governance. The new PHP is called Hack, a new language with only the briefest of documentation since you can learn the other 99.9% of this language over on the PHP manual.
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Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2014/03/is-facebooks-hhvm-building-phps-coffin

HHVM Blog:
HHVM 3.0.0
March 31, 2014 @ 10:15:00

The HHVM blog has an exciting new post for those using the HHVM and Hack language - they've officially released version 3.0.0 with complete Hack support.

At our last major version bump (2.0.0), we basically became a whole new project. We switched from a "PHP -> C++" translator to a virtual machine. This version bump (3.0.0) is a much less dramatic code shift (we're still a VM, don't worry), but this time the big announcement is that we support a new language, Hack.

They take a step back in time and look at the changes since 2.0.0 in organization, technology and community involvement. From there, they get into "the business" of what's in this new release including:

  • The old webserver is gone. If you get something like Uncaught exception: no factory for server type "libevent", you need to switch to fastcgi.
  • We are moving from .hdf config files to .ini.
  • Our most requested extension, mysqli is now in. (there's currently a bug, but the fix will be in 3.0.1).

You can find out more about the HHVM on the project's main website.

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hhvm release hack support v3 project facebook

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/4349/hhvm-3-0-0

Liip Blog:
HHVM and New Relic
March 28, 2014 @ 09:04:00

In this new post to the Liip blog Christian Stocker talks about how they use the popular application and server monitoring service New Relic with the HHVM (despite no official support).

As discussed in one of my last blog posts, we really like New Relic for performance metrics and use it a lot. Unfortunately there isn't an extension for HHVM (yet) and HHVM is becoming an important part in our setup. But - a big great coincidence - New Relic released an Agent SDK and with that, an example extension for HHVM and WordPress. That was a great start for me to get behind the whole thing.

He talks about writing a HHVM extension and includes an example of the implementation. Christian also talks about the challenges around profiling data and finding out where the requests "spend their time" in the execution. There's two solutions he suggests, but they each have their tradeoffs (a recompiled/patched version or a performance hit). He provides the extension they've built in this github repository.

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Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2014/03/27/hhvm-and-new-relic.html

Community News:
Facebook Releases the Hack Programming Language
March 21, 2014 @ 09:03:10

Yesterday marked a major point in the evolution of PHP and its ecosystem. Facebook released their version of PHP, Hack, based on the work they've been doing with the HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) and compiler.

Hack is a programming language for HHVM that interoperates seamlessly with PHP. Hack reconciles the fast development cycle of PHP with the discipline provided by static typing, while adding many features commonly found in other modern programming languages. Hack provides instantaneous type checking via a local server that watches the filesystem. It typically runs in less than 200 milliseconds, making it easy to integrate into your development workflow without introducing a noticeable delay.

One of the key features is that it mixes well with PHP and will feel very familiar for those already used to using PHP. The homepage for the language includes all the details you'll need to get started with it, including an interactive tutorial walking you through some of the basics. Some of the features included in the language are things like type annotations, generics, native collections and lambdas. You can find out more in their official announcement.

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Link: http://hacklang.org

Liip Blog:
Of HHVM, Hack and the future of PHP
March 12, 2014 @ 11:09:50

Lukas Smith has posted some of his own thoughts on the Liip blog about the future of PHP, HHVM and Hack (related to this previous post from Anthony Ferrara) in the context of the company and the work they're doing.

I want to specifically comment on the part about HHVM and Hack. I have of course published my own opinion on the topic fairly recently on my private blog. Fellow Liiper Chregu has also done a very popular post on this very blog showing some very significant performance improvements that can be achieved with HHVM. [...] While Anthony does not recommend running HHVM in production, we are obviously getting ready to do just that. I totally agree however with the risks he points out.

He talks more about using HHVM in a production environment and some of the possible problems with it in the future (like maybe a change in it being incompatible with PHP someday). He also touches on the Hack language and how it is possible that Facebook's team will go wholly with Hack instead of PHP.

One of the big questions is why does Facebook even care about PHP mode if they are already moving their own code to Hack? To me one big reason for this could be that they actually want to use code produced in the community. [...] So maybe in the end the best way to ensure that PHP mode in HHVM remains a goal for Facebook is to keep churning out high quality PHP code?
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Link: http://blog.liip.ch/archive/2014/03/11/of-hhvm-hack-and-the-future-of-php.html

Anthony Ferrara:
An Opinion On The Future Of PHP
March 10, 2014 @ 09:41:40

In his latest post Anthony Ferrara shares some of his personal opinions about the future of PHP and how some of the pieces in play now might fit in.

There's been a lot of buzz in the community lately around PHP and its future. The vast majority of this buzz has been distinctly positive, which is awesome to hear. There's been a lot of talk about PHP6 and what that might look like. There's been a lot of questions around HHVM and its role in the future of the language and community. Well, let me share with you some of my thoughts in this space...

He covers a few different topics including backwards compatibility, the suggestions of a complete engine rewrite and turning the SPL all OOP. He spends most of the post talking about HHVM (the HipHop VM), how it compares to "plain old PHP" and why it's not exactly "magic".

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Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/03/an-opinion-on-future-of-php.html

HHVM Blog:
Tracking Parity
March 04, 2014 @ 10:43:13

On the HHVM blog today there's a new post shows how far along they are with parity with the PHP language based on the tests from a sampling of several large PHP-based projects.

HHVM has a large suite of unit tests that must pass in several build configurations before a commit reaches master. Unfortunately, this test suite passing doesn't tell you if HHVM can be used for anything useful - so we periodically run the test suites for popular, open source frameworks. [...] The frameworks test page is now public, as is the JSON data backing it (which you're welcome to use).

They look briefly at what exactly is tested (latest stable version, with exceptions) and how it all works. The tests are run once an hour and are based on a completely clean build of HHVM in "csv" mode. The results of the tests are automatically pushed into the MySQL+Memcached system reporting system, accessible via the JSON API.

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Link: http://www.hhvm.com/blog/3611/tracking-parity

Simon Holywell:
HHVM vs Zephir vs PHP The showdown
March 03, 2014 @ 12:38:14

Simon Holywell has posted what he calls a "showdown" between HHVM, Zephir and PHP comparing various benchmarks (based on a Mandelbrot Set fractal).

Since its inception the slow running speed of PHP has been widely publicised and over the years there have been a number of improvements. [...] It has become more interesting recently however with three projects looking for improvements in different ways. The core has adopted the Zend OPcache for future versions of PHP, Facebook has been working on a just in time compiler called HipHop VM and the team that brought us Phalcon framework have created Zephir.

All of these projects have chosen to tackle the issue of PHP's speed via different avenues. It has therefore left one simple question - who's making the biggest improvements? Who's the fastest?

He briefly introduces the "contenders" for those not familiar with them and gets right into the benchmarking process. He shares the link to the tests he used and a few notes about the HHVM setup that could account for lower numbers. He shares his results in a few graphs or you can grab the CSV data yourself and parse it. The entire setup is also over on GitHub if you'd like to just check that out.

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Link: http://simonholywell.com/post/2014/02/hhvm-vs-zephir-vs-php-the-showdown.html

HHVM Blog:
Implementing MySQLi
February 27, 2014 @ 11:15:39

On the HHVM blog today a new post talks about some of the work they've been doing to introduce one of the common PHP extensions, MySQLi, into the HHVM system. The post walks you through some of the process the author followed to work up the implementation.

To prepare for what was to be my big project, I rewrote the ini parser to better match Zend. [...] After warming up with the parser, I was ready to start my big project: implement MySQLi. This has been a long requested feature for HHVM. And, this extension is required to help meet our compatibility goals.

He walks you through some of the preparation steps for the work integrating the extension and the tools used for these initial steps. He briefly steps through the actual implementation and the testing of the feature (and some changes made to allow the tests to run faster). He mentions a few roadblocks hit along the way, the current status of the effort (182 passing tests, 114 failing) and some of the missing pieces yet to be worked.

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mysqli hhvm hiphop facebook virtualmachine implementation

Link: http://www.hhvm.com/blog/3689/implementing-mysqli


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