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SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Speed Up Your App's API Consumption
April 11, 2014 @ 10:51:23

The SitePoint PHP blog has some advice posted today from Jacek Barecki about how you can speed up your use of other APIs with a few performance increasing tips.

In the process of creating a PHP application you may come to a point when keeping it isolated from remote resources or services may become a barrier in its development. To move along with the project you may employ different API services to fetch remote data, connect with user accounts on other websites or transform resources shared by your application. [...] But using APIs in an incorrect way can quickly lead to performance issues and lengthen the execution time of your script. If you're looking for a way to avoid it, consider implementing some of the solutions described in the article.

He recommends four things you can think about doing to help make the most effective use of these services:

  • Make multiple requests at a time
  • Separate API calls from the app main flow
  • Build a smart cache engine
  • Master the API documentation
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api performance recommendation tips usage

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/speed-apps-api-consumption/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Optimizing MySQL
April 04, 2014 @ 11:54:48

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted the first two parts of their "Optimizing MySQL" tutorial series by Peter Nijssen. The first looks at general tips around indexes and the second shows some configuration tips to get the most from your database systems.

MySQL is one of the most used databases in conjunction with PHP. Making sure that your MySQL databases are running at their best is one of the most important aspects you have to consider whenever your web application grows. In this series of 3 standalone articles, we will have a look at how we can optimize our MySQL installation. We will take a look at which optimizations we can perform on our database, on our MySQL configuration and how we can find potential problems when MySQL is not performing well.

The first tutorial walks you through a brief introduction to indexes, shows you how to find duplicates and unused indexes that might be hanging around. The second post deals with the configuration topics using the Percona pt-variable-advisor. They also make use of the MySQLTuner tool for even further enhancement. Finally, the article finishes with a look at cross-server configuration comparison and how to see the differences.

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mysql series performance percona configuration indexes

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/series/optimizing-mysql/

Ulf Wendel:
The performance penalty of the early MySQL Fabric support for PHP
March 13, 2014 @ 12:16:23

In his latest post Ulf Wendel looks at the performance issues around the recently introduced MySQL Fabric support included in the mysqlnd extension.

PECL/mysqlnd_ms 1.6 is currently being modified to support sharding and fully automatic server and client failover when using MySQL Fabric (slides) to manage a farm of MySQL servers. PECL/mysqlnd_ms is a mostly transparent load balancer that works with all PHP MySQL APIs (PDO_MySQL, mysqli, ...). The idea is, that if, for example, a MySQL server fails, the plugin talks to MySQL Fabric to learn about alternative servers that Fabric has provisioned automatically. This "talks to" gives implies a performance penalty for applications.

He takes a look at what's happening "behind the scenes" when it comes to using the Fabric functionality and sharding (based on the use of mysqlnd_ms_select_shard). He traces through the execution path and how much slower then end result is. He includes some results from the connection debugging and the number of queries a single request makes.

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mysqlnd performance penalty mysql fabric support

Link: http://blog.ulf-wendel.de/2014/the-performance-penalty-of-the-early-mysql-fabric-support-for-php/

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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showdown benchmark performance hhvm zephir opcache

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

Mastering Zend Framework:
Gary Hockin's Maximising Zend Framework 2 Performance Talk (Review)
February 28, 2014 @ 10:33:30

From the Master Zend Framework blog there's a new post reviewing a talk from this year's PHPUK (2014) from Gary Hockin, "Maximising Zend Framework 2 Performance".

Whether you're new to Zend Framework 2, or an old hand (can someone really say they're an old hand after such a short period of time?) the talk covered a range of tools, tips, and techniques for increasing application performance. This wasn't an academic run through; it was a talk based on practical, hands-on, experience from Gary's time as a core ZF2 contributor, and his work at Roave, Yamgo and AdSpruce.

The post talks some about the tools Gary used to benchmark his improvements and some common metrics to be aware of in your own results. Xdebug and Xhprof were also recommended for more introspection into what the application is doing and where the bottlenecks lie.

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phpuk14 zendframework performance tools talk session

Link: http://www.masterzendframework.com/reviews/maximising-zend-framework-2-performance-phpuk14

HHVM Blog:
HHVM The Next Six Months
February 26, 2014 @ 11:09:35

In their latest post the HHVM project (of Facebook) has laid out the next six months ahead for the development and progression on the project. In it they talk some about their "themes" and overall Open Source goals planned for the first part of 2014.

The HHVM team has just wrapped up its planning for the first half of 2014. We'd like to share our plans, providing you a bit of context. We've been making steady progress on HHVM's compatibility with PHP in the wild, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We're using unit test pass rates as a proxy for success measurement, but you can help by adding HHVM to your Travis configuration, and reporting bugs and issues through GitHub. We are resourced to help support a couple of major HHVM deployments, which we hope has the side effect of exposing us to "non-Facebook" deployment and maintenance challenges.

We are also going to push for a more open development model, with the goal of increasing our community participation. We'll have more to say on what this means later on. Stay tuned!

They also cover some of the work being done to increase the overall efficiency, reducing CPU time and memory consumption. There's also mention of work being done on a guide to "hacking" in the HHVM, reducing some complexity in the compiler and the conversion to a full HNI extension interface.

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hhvm six month roadmap hiphop facebook performance hackable opensource

Link: http://www.hhvm.com/blog/3743/hhvm-the-next-six-months

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Web Performance Tricks - Beyond the Basics
January 23, 2014 @ 11:55:28

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post sharing some general web performance tricks that could be done to any application to speed things up a bit. Note that this is a sponsored article but it does not promote the sponsor's product.

We've had a lot of performance talk over the years here at SitePoint, and we believe it's time to revisit the topic with some more advanced aspects. The approaches mentioned in this article won't be strictly PHP related, but you can be sure they'll bring your application to a whole new level if used properly. Note that we won't be covering the usual stuff - fewer requests for CSS, JS and images meaning faster websites and similar hints are common knowledge. Instead, we'll be focusing on some less known/used upgrades.

Their list of suggestions include things like:

  • Removing unnecessary HTML tags
  • Prefetching and caching content
  • Using tools like CSS Lint and CSS Explain
  • Using Google's Page Speed tool to find bottlenecks
  • Use things like SPDY, WebP and Zopfil
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web performance tips advanced list

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/web-performance-tricks-beyond-basics/

MaltBlue.com:
3 Simple Ideas for Improving Zend Framework Performance
January 23, 2014 @ 10:27:55

Matthew Setter has shared three tips to improve the performance of your Zend Framework-based application on his MaltBlue site today:

Today, I want to take you out left field a bit. I want to take you a little away from the everyday, potentially clichéd, advice you likely read when it comes to improving Zend Framework 2 application performance. There's likely nothing wrong with it; but I'd say you've already read it many times. Instead, I'll show you 3 strategies you may not have thought of - specifically focused around the database. That way, when combined with the standard advice, you'll be better able to improve performance of your Zend Framework application.

As mentioned, his three tips involve working with database connections and resources:

  • Improve your database skills
  • Learn key database features
  • Move logic to the database layer

This final tip advocates the use of things like stored procedures and triggers to handle some of the logic load of the system. This also reduces some of the network overhead as not as much information is having to be pulled "over the wire" as before.

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improve performance zendframework2 application database

Link: http://www.maltblue.com/zend-framework/3-simple-ideas-for-zend-framework-performance

HHVM Blog:
We are the 98.5% (and the 16%)
December 24, 2013 @ 10:25:21

On the Facebook HHVM (HipHop VM) blog there's a recent post sharing some of their progress towards parity with the PHP language inside the tool (and the results of their "three week lockdown").

On November 4th, the HHVM team went on a 3-week performance and parity lockdown. The lockdown officially ended on November 22th. Overall, this lockdown was a qualified success. [...] Going into lockdown, the team knew that awesome performance alone would not suffice in making HHVM a viable PHP runtime to be used out in the wild. It actually had to run real, existing PHP code reliably.

In the post they include some numbers from their testing, the pass/fail status of the unit test suites for several major PHP projects including Composer, Joomla, Laravel, Slim and phpMyAdmin (with an overall parity of 98.58%). They share the raw numbers of the results and describe some of the testing environment, including some "assumptions and caveats" about the process. They also contributed back fixes as a part of the work, putting pull requests out there for several projects. They finish the post with some of the performance numbers, noting that they passed their goal and made it to 16% for an instance of facebook.com.

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hiphop virtualmachine vm performance parity unittest

Link: http://www.hhvm.com/blog/2813/we-are-the-98-5-and-the-16

SitePoint PHP Blog:
HHVM revisited
December 23, 2013 @ 10:57:01

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from Bruno Skvorc talking about a technology that's growing more and more popular all the time in the PHP ecosystem - HHVM, the virtual machine version of Facebook's HipHop software.

Just over two years have passed since the last post about HHVM by Matt Turland. What changed in that time? Did anything? Let's see just how successful PHP's quest for performance was.

Bruno takes a step back and, for those not sure what the HHVM is, explains the technology a bit and what some of the project's goals are. He talks about its compatibility with current software (like OSes and web servers) and the inclusion of FastCGI support. He also talks about some of the other main issues around the use of the HHVM like:

  • Performance considerations
  • Pre-analyzing
  • Authoritative Cache
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hhvm update article performance fastcgi cache

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/hhvm-revisited/


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