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SitePoint PHP Blog:
Can Symfony Apps Be Fast on Vagrant? Let’s Check with SuluCMS!
Jun 28, 2016 @ 12:13:15

On the SitePoint PHP blog they've posted a new tutorial looking at the combination of Symfony applications (well, one specific one) and Vagrant to optimize it for the best performance possible.

In this short tutorial, we’ll set up Sulu, a new Symfony based CMS, and optimize it on a Vagrant environment. Why a dedicated tutorial handling this? Besides the fact that Sulu has a rather complex initialization procedure, it is based on Symfony which is infamously slow on virtual machines with shared filesystems, and thus needs additional optimizations post-install. The performance hacks in this post, while Sulu-specific, can be applied to any Symfony application to make it faster on Vagrant.

The rest of the post walks you through the steps to get the box set up and the Sulu application up and running:

  • New Box and Folder Sharing
  • App Type and Vagrant Boot (configuration)
  • Installing Sulu

Then they get into the speed improvements and "hacks" to make the overall system perform better. They make updates to the log/cache directory fetching, moving the "vendors" folder into the VM (non-synced) and enabling the APC caching on autoloading. The tutorial also includes a few helpful troubleshooting tips of things to check if a problem does happen to pop up.

tagged: tutorial symfony application vagrant sulucms performance

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/symfony-on-vagrant-performance-hacks-sulucms-case-study/

Alejandro Celaya:
Using ServiceManager 3 lazy services to improve your PHP application performance
Jun 13, 2016 @ 10:20:18

Alejandro Celaya has posted a tutorial to his site showing you how to use ServiceManager 3 to improve performance in your PHP-based application. The ServiceManager is a piece of the Zend Framework.

Performance is an important subject when a project grows. There are some good practices that make projects more maintainable, like dependency injection, however, creating all the objects at the beginning of the request could reduce the application performance. If some of the created objects are not finally used, we have wasted CPU time and memory for no reason.

If we used proxies for every expensive dependency, the previous problem would be solved. We can still inject the dependency, but it will be wrapped by the proxy, which will create the object itself once we need it, or never, if it is not finally used. This is the principle behind lazy services. The ServiceManager makes use of the ocramius/proxy-manager package to create proxies on the fly for all the services configured as lazy.

He talks about the lazy_services functionality the ServiceManager provides and gives an example of it in use defining a database (PDO) connection. He talks some about how it works behind the scenes and how no code change is required to use this new configuration.

tagged: performance application servicemanager3 lazy services example tutorial zendframework

Link: http://blog.alejandrocelaya.com/2016/06/12/using-service-manager-3-lazy-services-to-improve-your-php-application-performance/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Benchmarking: Can AppServer Beat Symfony’s Performance?
May 19, 2016 @ 10:45:51

The SitePoint PHP blog has posted a new article comparing AppServer and Symfony on a performance level and wonders if the AppServer platform can outperform the framework on some base level functionality.

After the release of the first part of our Appserver series, it was clear through the ensuing discussions on both SitePoint and Reddit that we had touched a nerve for a good number of PHP channel’s devoted readers. I also quickly realized this new (for PHP) technology had a good number of serious doubters. One of the most poignant responses in the discussions was something along the lines of,

Needless to say, those doubtful and critical comments sounded like a real challenge. I was also very interested in finding out where appserver would land, if it were to be benchmarked against another well known PHP framework. [...] I decided to use my favorite framework, Symfony, to make the comparison. This is because appserver, as a stock PHP application server, also offers a good bit of important application functionality similar to Symfony.

They start with the approach they took to the comparison and how they set up the systems to evaluate the difference between the two (including hardware specs). The remainder of the post shares the results of several Apache Bench runs - the raw command line output - and more graphical versions of the same information (bar graphs). While there are a few "wins" on the AppServer side, overall it came in a bit slower (mostly because of the technologies involved in every request, however).

tagged: appserver appserverio performance symfony comparison benchmark results

Link: https://www.sitepoint.com/benchmarking-can-appserver-beat-symfonys-performance/

Three Devs & A Maybe:
Episode 96 - Application Performance with Jonathan Klein
May 11, 2016 @ 11:57:30

In the latest episode of the Three Devs and a Maybe podcast hosts Michael Budd, Fraser Hart, Lewis Cains and Edd Mann talk with Jonathan Klein about application performance based on some of his work creating the "High Performance PHP" course for Pluralsight.

On this weeks episode we are joined by Jonathan Klein to discuss all things application performance. We start off the show with chat about how he got into performance, why it is so important and how he thinks of it throughout the development process. From here we discuss his recently released Pluralsight course on ‘High Performance PHP’ and touch upon some of the key performance areas within the stack.

Starting with micro-optimisations at the code level, we highlight their value and caching mechanisms. We then move onto the web server, process managers and the importance of a correct configuration. The Database layer is then brought up, discussing forks of MySQL, handling slow-queries and data-denormalizations. Finally, profiling and monitoring tools are discussed (such as New Relic and Seige) and where you can typically find the most wins within a typical stack.

They talk about his Pluralsight course as well as other topics like feature flagging, caching, atomic deployments and MariaDB vs MySQL. You can listen to this latest episode either through the in-page audio player or by downloading the mp3 directly. If you enjoy the show, be sure to also subscribe to their feed to get the latest shows as they're released.

tagged: threedevsandamaybe ep96 application performance jonathanklein podcast

Link: http://threedevsandamaybe.com/application-performance-with-jonathan-klein/

Tideways.io:
PHP Session Garbage Collection: The unknown performance bottleneck
May 09, 2016 @ 12:49:22

On the Tideways.com blog there's a tutorial talking about the "unknown performance bottleneck" that can be caused by PHP's own session garbage collection. This garbage collection happens when sessions expire and they need to be removed from the current set/data source.

Here is one performance setting in your PHP configuration you probably haven't thought about much before: How often does PHP perform random garbage collection of outdated session data in your application? Did you know that because of the shared nothing architecture PHP randomly cleans old session data whenever session_start() is called? An operation that is not necessarily cheap.

It's his general advice to avoid PHP's random garbage collection (it happens one in every 1000 requests, randomly) and opt for a more consistent method using background scripts. He gives an example using the Laravel framework and it's modified session garbage collection happening every 50th request (making use of the Symfony Finder component). He points out the problem with its implementation and the negative impact it could have on large, highly used applications. They share some of their own statistics and how to change this default (modifying the lottery option and making a custom "cleanup" command).

tagged: session garbage collection performance bottleneck unknown modify laravel symfony

Link: https://tideways.io/profiler/blog/php-session-garbage-collection-the-unknown-performance-bottleneck

Symfony Finland:
Universal Rendering in PHP/Twig could be done with the Angular 2 Template Compiler
May 09, 2016 @ 11:15:01

The Symfony Finland site has a post about Angular 2, its server-side rendering support and how Symfony can fit into the picture.

At the ng-conf event in May 2016 there were sessions discussing how Angular 2 can support server side rendering in various platforms. If you're working on a project running on Node.js, then Angular 2 is a native citizen. For other options like ASP, Java and PHP there are a few options on the table.

[...] Later during the ng-conf more details on the Server Side Rendering (Universal Rendering in Angular lingo) can be implemented in different environments to improve first page load experience. [...] The downside of these approaches is that you need to add additional complexity either by adding a dependency to an external service or require a rather exotic PHP extension at this point.

Instead he suggests using Twig along with the Angular 2 template compiler and some custom extensions to the base templating to format the output as Angular is expecting it. He talks about how the current backend rendering of templates could easily be translated to this handling. He also suggests that even just partial server-side rendering might be enough to help with the performance of the application.

tagged: symfony universalrendering angular2 twig template backend frontend performance

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/universal-rendering-in-php-twig-with-angular-2-template-compiler

Marc Schmidt:
PHP High-Performance - Follow Up with Symfony/Jarves.io and PHP-PM
May 02, 2016 @ 12:08:37

In a follow up to his previous article about high performance PHP with React's help, Marc Schmidt has returned with a follow up post two years after the fact with some updates and additional information.

This is a follow up article on “Bring High Performance Into Your PHP App”, which went quiet viral with over 100k visits. This does not only show that many people still struggle with PHP and its performance, but also that people are highly interested in a solution to this kind of issues. PHP-PM could be one solution. But first things first. Over two years later since my blog post about high-performance things have changed dramatically.

[...] When I hacked together some lines of code back then in 2013 I never though that this kind of application style would ever succeed in the PHP world. [...] However, things have changed there as well.

He talks about some of the advancements that have been made since his previous post including PHP 7, improvements in PHP-FM and the HttpKernel component of the Symfony framework. Along the lines of bringing even more performance to PHP applications with React, they created an adapter to link the two. The post covers some of the currently open issues, the "good things" about it and some of the design issues to keep in mind when using it. He ends the post talking about where the PHP-PM project is now and some of the benchmarks about performance between PHP-PM and PHP-FPM.

tagged: performance react httpkernel phppm phpfpm adapter benchmark

Link: http://marcjschmidt.de/blog/2016/04/16/php-high-performance-reactphp-jarves-symfony-follow-up.html

Symfony Blog:
PHP-PM grows up to be a credible option for high performance PHP
Apr 25, 2016 @ 12:29:58

On the Symfony Finland site there's a post about a relatively new way to run PHP applications and how it's "growing up" to become a viable option: PHP-PM.

PHP-PM is a novel way of running PHP applications. Instead of creating an exotic high performance runtime for the PHP language, it takes an alternative route to mechanism of running PHP applications with existing runtimes.

This translates to real performance gains with existing complex applications, not just impressive theoretical benchmark results.

Instead of the usual complete bootstrap that normal PHP process goes through in its lifecycle, PHP-PM runs them as a continuous process, making for a huge boost in overall performance. The project has started gathering more momentum and is being worked on to make it a more credible platform for PHP applications.

From the humble beginnings the PHP-PM now has over 1700 stars on GitHub and a number of developers working on it. Great strides have been done since the early stages with the documentation and ease of use, but most importantly the platform now supports multiple frameworks: Symfony, Zend and Laravel.
tagged: phppm process option high performance application project symfony

Link: https://www.symfony.fi/entry/php-pm-grows-up-to-be-a-credible-option-for-high-performance-php

QaFoo Blog:
Common Bottlenecks in Performance Tests
Apr 22, 2016 @ 11:24:46

On the QaFoo blog there's a post sharing some of what they've learned about the common bottlenecks in performance testing and some things you can to do determine the issues in your own tests.

Most developers by now internalized that we should not invest time in optimizations before we know what happens exactly. [...] This is true for optimizations in your PHP code but also for optimizations regarding your infrastructure. We should measure before we try to optimize and waste time. When it comes to the assumed performance problems in your system architecture most people guess the root cause will be the database. This might be true but in most projects we put under load it proved to be false.

So, how can we figure out where the problems are located in our stack?

They talk about some common testing practices using basic tools (like ab and siege) and having them perform common operations on the application. They then talk about testing for high load, monitoring the stack for the impact and a few tools you can use to gather statistics. They end the post with a quick mention that, despite popular opinion, the issue isn't always the database's fault. Sometimes other technology that's in play - like file locking issues or processing for server-side includes - and other things that may only show up under high load.

tagged: common bottleneck performance test advice server monitor tool

Link: https://qafoo.com/blog/082_common_bottlenecks_in_performance_tests.html

Loïc Faugeron:
Super Speed Symfony - nginx
Apr 20, 2016 @ 10:48:49

Loïc Faugeron has continued his series about speeding up Symfony applications and getting the best overall performance you can. In this new post he gets into more detail about tuning a Nginx web server (with PHP-FPM) and the web server's own caching features.

HTTP frameworks, such as Symfony, allow us to build applications that have the potential to achieve Super Speed.

We've already seen a first way to do so (by turning it into a HTTP server), another way would be to put a reverse proxy in front of it. In this article we'll take a Symfony application and demonstrate how to do so using nginx.

He starts by helping you get Nginx and PHP-FPM all set up and running on a Unix-based system (installed via apt-get). He provides a simple configuration including the user to run as and a virtual host for the application. There's a few command line checks to ensure it's working correctly and a bit of benchmarking as a baseline for the performance testing later. He then gets to the caching functionality and gives some of the basics on how it works inside of Nginx itself. He includes a basic caching configuration (caching to files) and adding this to the already created virtual host. Finally he includes sample Symfony code to send the "Cache-Control" header with every request and runs the benchmarks again (resulting in about 140x faster than without the cache).

tagged: tutorial nginx performance symfony speed phpfpm setup configuration cache cachecontrol

Link: https://gnugat.github.io/2016/04/20/super-speed-sf-nginx.html