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Looking for more information on how to do PHP the right way? Check out PHP: The Right Way

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Build Virtual Machines Easily With PuPHPet
December 19, 2013 @ 11:42:32

On the SitePoint PHP blog today Matthew Setter introduces you to a tool that can help make the setup and configuration of your Vagrant/Puppet development environments a lot easier - PuPHPet.

I can't speak for you, but one of my pet peeves about software development is environments. Whether it's creating and maintaining them for different projects with different needs; ensuring environment parity across a development team, (especially when they're remote); or between environments such as development, testing, and production. Across all of these, it can be a laborious task, especially when done manually. [...] In pursuit of ending this pain and making the entire process as efficient as possible, I set about the task of learning Vagrant & Puppet. [...] However, like most people in the modern world, I'm impatient. Like you, I have a lot going on, plus I was not seeking to become a guru. I felt there must be a way to come up to speed quickly but without becoming an aficionado.

This "better way" cam in the form of PuPHPet, a GUI tool (web-based) that lets you specify the options you want included in the configuration and generates the needed configuration files for you. This tool (created by Juan Treminio) makes it a lot simpler to get up and running quickly. Matthew walks you through a sample configuration and, with screenshots, and show you how to specify options for things like the web server, server software to install and PHP extensions to include.

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Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/build-virtual-machines-easily-puphpet/

JavaWorld.com:
Facebook invents a PHP virtual machine
August 08, 2013 @ 10:20:54

On JavaWorld.com there's a new article posted about an update Facebook has made to their HipHop virtual machine (HHVM) version that is supposed to execute PHP nine times faster than its normal rate.

Social networking giant Facebook has taken another step at making the PHP Web programming language run more quickly. The company has developed a PHP Virtual Machine that it says can execute the language as much as nine times as quickly as running PHP natively on large systems.

An engineering manager for Facebook pointed out the goal of the update - "to make PHp run really, really quickly." The HHVM compiles down the PHP code into C and executes it directly, removing the need for the PHP interpreter.

HHVM is the next step for Facebook. Under development for about three years, HHVM actually works on the same principle as the JVM (Java Virtual Machine). HHVM has a JIT (just-in-time) compiler that converts the human readable source code into machine-readable byte code when it is needed. (The previous HipHop, renamed HPHPc, has now been retired within Facebook.)

You can find out more about the HipHop virtual machine over on Facebook.

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Link: http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-07-2013/130726-facebook-invents-php-virtual-machine.html

Allan MacGregor:
An Introduction to HHVM
July 26, 2013 @ 10:24:52

Allan MacGregor has posted a (high level) introduction to the HipHop Virtual Machine (HHVM) that was created by Facebook to address some of their PHP-related needs inside their platform. It sacrifices some things in the name of speed and less resource consumption.

In early 2008 Facebook began working on HipHop(now HPHP), a PHP execution engine; its original motivation was to convert Facebook massive PHP code base into C++ in order to save resources and increase the application performance. [...] At it's peak, HipHop PHP code showed up to 6x times better performance than its ZEND counterpart. However, there where several drawbacks to this first iteration of HipHop. [...] At the same time Facebook started the development of the modern version of HipHop, known as HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine), HHVM improves the strengths of HPHPc and corrects many of the critical problems.

He talks some about Facebook's efforts to open source the platform and what the HipHop VM does to make your PHP code execute that much faster. It's all about bytecode, machine code and a JIT (just in time) compiler where the bytecode is parsed during execution instead of before.

Currently HHVM supports PHP 5.4 almost on its entirety, however there are still numerous bugs that prevent some applications from running, for that reason Facebook has set as goal to have the top 20 open source PHP applications running on HHVM. The first popular application to achieve this was Wordpress.
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Link: http://coderoncode.com/2013/07/24/introduction-hhvm.html

Justin Carmony:
Vagrant & PHP Our Success Story at the Deseret News
September 17, 2012 @ 09:51:26

Justin Carmony has shared his success story about the use of Vagarant and PHP as a platform to make setting up and configuring developers' environments simple.

Now-a-days, you have frameworks that need to be setup [as a part of your environment], include paths that need to be changed, modules that need to be installed, web servers that need to be configured for your routing, etc. Then you might not just have MySQL, but Redis, Mongo, Couch, Memcached, Postgres, or any other dozen other servers. Then in Production you might have load balancers, multiple web servers, clusters of databases, and the list goes on. Simply put: web development environments are complex.

He introduces Vagrant and talks a bit about how it helped them with the setup and configuration of two new remote developers they had limited contact with. After some initial quirks, Vagrant made it simple for them to get up and running with new environments in a day.

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Juan Terminio's Blog:
Setting Up a Debian VM, Step by Step
July 04, 2012 @ 13:01:32

In this new post Juan Terminio shows you how to set up a new virtual machine (VM) that hosts a Debian system (replacing the setup of his previous tutorial for setup of a Ubuntu system) in VirutalBox.

Previously, I created a tutorial on installing a 32-bit Ubuntu VM with PHP 5.3.x. I've since moved on to PHP 5.4.x and Debian, which is universally considered a safer bet for a server OS. This tutorial is what I will point back to in the future when I want to show people how to create a VM, so you should consider the Ubuntu-based tutorial obsolete. In reality, Ubuntu is based on Debian, so the bulk of this tutorial will be very similar to the Ubuntu one, albeit with some minor changes here and there.

He starts with a few reasons to use a VM over the more traditional single development system mentality including keeping the "server" off your desktop and the dev-to-production similarity needs. He shows how to use the VirtualBox software and a Debian ISO to create the VM, complete with screenshots of each step of the way (for both host and guest OSes). He also helps you get a few things installed including sudo, setting up the network, configuring the hosts file and installing some common utilities as well as the MySQL, Apache, PHP and Samba combination (with PHP compiled from the 5.4.x source).

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Ben Ramsey's Blog:
Build PHP 5.4 on CentOS 6.2
March 06, 2012 @ 09:58:38

In this latest post to his blog Ben Ramsey shows you how to, inside of a virtual machine, set up a server with PHP 5.4 installed (using CentOS 6.2).

In case you haven't heard the news, the PHP project released version 5.4.0 last Thursday. Naturally, I decided it was time to install and give it a try. I chose to install to a clean and bare-bones CentOS 6.2 virtual machine using VirtualBox. I did this for two reasons: 1) I wanted a clean environment for the build, and 2) I wanted to play with CentOS. At the time of this writing, there are not yet any official CentOS RPMs for PHP 5.4, so I had to build PHP from source. What follows are the notes I took during the installation and build process. I hope you find them helpful.

His instructions cover the full process:

  • Installing the CentOS operating system
  • Creating a non-root user
  • Setting up the network for local access
  • Installing the packages for PHP (via yum)
  • Grab PHP 5.4 and compile it
  • Testing out the web server with a sample phpinfo file

He includes a lot of extensions in his installation, some you may not need like pspell, tidy, calendar, ftp or xsl.

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Project:
phpVirtualBox - VirtualBox Management Tool
March 02, 2012 @ 08:25:16

For those fans of virtualization (and running VMs for development) you're not stranger to VirtualBox. Over on the Google Code site, there's a project that wants to make it easier to work with your VirtualBox instances via a PHP-driven interface.

An open source, AJAX implementation of the VirtualBox user interface written in PHP. As a modern web interface, it allows you to access and control remote VirtualBox instances. Much of its verbage and some of its code is based on the (inactive) vboxweb project. phpVirtualBox was designed to allow users to administer VirtualBox in a headless environment - mirroring the VirtualBox GUI through its web interface.

The tool isn't designed to be a management tool for a "hosting" type of environment, but rather to help you admin all of your VMs at once (no "ownership"). It uses the SOAP service (vboxwebsrv) that comes with VirtualBox servers to create a clean interface.

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Sankuru Blog:
Adding support for if/while/do while, to a simple compiler & virtual machine in PHP
January 04, 2012 @ 11:40:22

Improving on his last post about creating a bytecode compiler in PHP, the Sankuru blog has a new post in the series looking at extending the basic compiler to add support for if/while and do while logic.

In order to obtain a turing-complete programming language, that is, a language in which we can implement and execute any arbitrary algorithm, that is, that other turing-complete machines can execute too, we now need to add a way of (conditionally) branching, that is, the IF statement, and at least one way of repeating statements, that is the WHILE or the DO WHILE statements.

He includes a simple TL-based script as an end goal for the compiler to be able to execute and shows how to add rules for it to the lexer/parser. Rules for the "if" are relatively simple, but there's a hitch in dealing with embedded "while" statements he had to work around. The post ends with the bytecode results for the sample program and the resulting output from the compiled versions execution.

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Sankuru Blog:
A simple bytecode compiler with virtual machine, written in Php, for the EL language
December 30, 2011 @ 11:06:36

On the Sankuru blog there's a recent post looking at the construction of a simple bytecode compiler with a virtual machine as written in PHP (for Expression Language).

In my previous blog posts, I demonstrated how we can use the builtin PCRE library, to create a lexer in Php. I also showed how to use Bison-generated LALR1 parser tables in Php. In this blog post, I will re-use these lexing and parsing facilities to compile EL programs from within Php.

He uses his lexer/parser (available for download) in an example program that outputs some values and does some simple mathematical operations. There's sections detailing the Bison grammar used, execution stacks, callbacks and the bytecode it produces.

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DZone.com:
Using a virtual machine to play with multiple versions of PHP
November 04, 2011 @ 10:15:04

On DZone.com Giorgio Sironi has a new post talking about a development practice that's becoming more and more popular (rather than the old standby of one development platform for all developers) - using virtual machines as reusable, easily renewable platforms. He talks about the process he went through to set up PHP, including the commands used during the process.

This is an occasion to learn about a virtualization tool which I'm not familiar with, VirtualBox. The goal is to install PHP 5.4, which is not yet a stable release, to play around with new features such as traits without ruining the setup on my primary machine (which runs the super-stable PHP 5.3). Although it may be possible to run them together (I'm not a sysadmin), it's really simpler to install one of them in a virtual machine that can be thrown away if something goes wrong.

Using VirtualBox he describes the process of getting a Ubuntu system up and running including a custom compile of PHP with things like curl, bz2, mbstring and openssl support. With that installed and the Apache packages all set up, it should just be a matter of hitting your localhost's web server. If you're looking for older (or just other) versions of PHP to compile, check out the Historical Releases page on the PHP.net site.

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