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SitePoint WordPress Blog:
Speed Up Your WordPress Site
July 08, 2014 @ 10:08:34

Some advice has been posted over on the SitePoint WordPress blog with some tips for speeding up the performance of your WordPress site using both internal changes and some outside testing tools.

As one of the top user experience factors, website performance is more important than ever. Website speed and performance on mobile devices is particularly important, with a rapidly growing number of visitors accessing the web via smartphones and tablets. While WordPress is very easy to get up and running, making your site speedy requires a bit more work, and is an ongoing process. In this article we'll cover why speed matters, and offer some practical advice for how to speed up WordPress. Improving performance takes a lot of trial and error, but it's great fun!

They start the post with a few reasons why speed matters to your application and its users (including higher conversion rates). The show you how to run a basic speed test using the Google PageSpeed Insights and profiling the performance using the P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler). The post then gets into some of the factors that make an impact on your site's performance including the hosting provider configuration, choice of theme and number of plugins. They recommend some simple steps like minifying assets, caching or using CDNs to host the assets and make their load faster.

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wordpress speed performance tips

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/speed-wordpress/

PHPClasses.org:
PHPNG Dramatic Speedup Features Coming in PHP 6 Release
May 12, 2014 @ 12:43:14

The PHPClasses.org blog has a new post today looking at a recently introduced proposal for updates to the core PHP functionality that could lead to significant speed and overall performance gains. In this latest article they talk about PHPNG.

Not a very long after Facebook announced the Hack language, Dmitry Stogov of Zend announced a somewhat secret development branch of PHP called PHPNG that brings a JIT engine, significant speed and memory management improvements eventually to PHP 6. [...] This branch was added somewhat secretly by Zend developers to the PHP development repository in April 16 but it was openly described only in May 5 when Sebastian Bergmann of the PHPUnit fame asked in the PHP internals about it. Dmitry Stogov of Zend presented a more or less detailed description of the PHPNG branch. He explained that he has been experimenting using a JIT engine (Just In Time compilation to native machine code) using LLVM.

The post talks about the availability of the branch and some of the changes (like updates to extensions) that would need to be made for it to work correctly. There's also a mention about the "plot to kill mod_php" in the future and how the discussion around it reminds the author of the deprecation of the MySQL extension a few years back. The rest of the post compares the PHPNG branch's features with that of one of the other high-performance PHP tools out there, HHVM.

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phpng speed performance release hhvm branch

Link: http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/234-PHPNG-Dramatic-Speedup-Features-Coming-in-PHP-6-Release.html

Stephan Hochdörfer:
Speeding up your Satis run
May 02, 2014 @ 09:11:40

Stephan Hochdörfer has a new post with a handy tip on speeding up the indexing Satis does on your local repositories to generate its information. His tip involves being more selective in the rebuild process, only indexing the projects that might need it.

In the last couple of months this [indexing] process takes quite a while because Satis rebuilds the index for every repo it knows about. Since we deal with quite a few repos containing a large amount of versions it slowed down the "build time". Obviously it does not make any sense to run Satis on a repo that has not changed. Since Satis was lacking this feature I started hacking on it and I am happy that the feature got merged into master this morning.

With his patch, you can specify only the repository you want reindexed via the "build" command. You can even specify multiple repositories to rebuild, allowing for a bit more automation around the process.

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satis repository index speed performance patch single

Link: http://blog.bitexpert.de/blog/speeding-up-your-satis-run/

ServerGrove Blog:
Running Composer with HHVM, not so fast!
April 21, 2014 @ 12:46:02

On the ServerGrove blog today they share some interesting results when it comes to using Composer on a normal PHP install versus using it inside of a HHVM instance.

HHVM is an open-source virtual machine developed by Facebook and designed for executing programs written in Hack and PHP. It offers increased performance for PHP, most of the time. [...] Since Composer needs to perform some heavy computations in order to resolve the dependencies of a project, it makes sense to use HHVM. However, the heavy computations are mainly done when running composer update, or when the composer.lock file has not yet been generated so this is where you will see most of your gains in execution time.

With a bit more testing, this is shown to be true (about a 7 second difference). However, this is only on the "update". The "install" command actually takes longer inside of the HHVM instance, regardless of if the JIT (Just In Time) compiler is disabled or not.

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composer install update speed performance benchmark

Link: http://blog.servergrove.com/2014/04/17/running-composer-hhvm-fast

Inviqa techPortal:
Speedy Sites Nginx and PHP
February 21, 2014 @ 11:55:17

On the Inviqa techPortal site today they have a new post from Barney Hanlon in his "Speedy Sites" series. This time he looks at using nginx to speed up your PHP applications.

In the previous article in this series, we looked at using Apache with mod_pagespeed to perform on-the-fly enhancements to decrease page load times. Getting an optimised page is only half the battle however; we need to ensure that our backend is doing as little work as possible in order to be highly scalable. In this article, we look at how we can achieve this while improving performance - all with nginx.

He starts with an introduction to nginx for those not familiar with this alternative web server and how it integrates with PHP. He walks you through the installations and configuration of a basic setup and running some benchmarks with siege. Finally, he shows how to enable PHP support on the install via the "php5-fpm" package (FastCGI).

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speed webserver nginx fastcgi fpm install configure tutorial

Link: http://techportal.inviqa.com/2014/02/20/speedy-sites-nginx-and-php/

HHVM.com:
Wow HHVM is fast...too bad it doesn't run my code
September 16, 2013 @ 10:54:01

On the HHVM.com blog, there's a post talking about the speed of the HipHop VM (from Facebook) but how it still doesn't support everything built into PHP (and the work being done to bring it up to parity).

HHVM is a highly performant PHP runtime. In fact, it is nearly 40% faster than HPHPc, and only getting faster. [...] Performance is critical, but it isn't everything. In order to gain broader adoption for HHVM, being able to run popular frameworks is a must; in other words, we can have the highest performing PHP runtime, but if doesn't run real-world code without a lot of pain, then it won't be used widely. Understanding this, we are putting serious resources around parity with the PHP runtime.

The post includes a table of features that have been ported and ones currently in the works, based on unit test coverage. They've based it on various well known PHP projects including PHPUnit, Symfony, Laravel, the Facebook SDK and many others. Their initial goal is to allow these frameworks to work 100% of the time inside the HHVM, but to continue the work from there, implementing other PHP features. If you'd like to help out with the process, they also welcome contributions.

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hhvm hiphip virtualmachine speed feature parity framework unittest

Link: http://www.hhvm.com/blog/?p=875

Greg Freeman:
Your PHP Framework Choice doesn't Matter
August 22, 2013 @ 11:45:18

In this new post Greg Freeman suggests something contrary to what most PHP developers (and framework supporters) believe - your choice of PHP frameworks doesn't matter...if you're basing it on speed.

I'm talking about the speed of PHP and more specifically, evaluating frameworks and tools based on "speed". If you have been in the PHP developer community for more than a few months, you would have seen at least a few discussions about what the fastest PHP framework is, as if this were one of the first key metrics you should evaluate first when choosing a framework for your team. You may even be contemplating switching from your current framework because you heard of a new framework that is faster. In the rest of this article, I'm going to do my best to show you why this not the best line of thinking and provide alternate and in my opinion better metrics for evaluating tools.

He talks about "frontend" versus "backend" PHP developers and how most PHP devs fit into the first category, not knowing how their applications really execute on the backend. This includes a pretty high-level concept of "speed." For his examples, he sets up a WordPress instance and fills it with some dummy content. He illustrates how, with a bit of tweaking on the "backend" side of things (server, environment, etc) the performance of the application can be greatly varied. He includes the specs for the environment he ran the tests in, some of the things he changed and a summary of the results.

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framework choice speed benchmark frontend backend environment

Link: http://www.gregfreeman.org/2013/your-php-framework-choice-doesnt-matter

Patrick Allaert:
Composer speeding up class autoloading
January 28, 2013 @ 12:22:43

In this new post Patrick Allaert offers a solution that can help speed up the inclusion of files via the Composer autoloader (in addition to the already present "optimize-autoloader" option).

The problem with the classmap strategy and the nature of PHP is that there is no (easy) way to have a persistent variable across requests containing the classmap. [...] This [large returned array of mappings] can even take a big portion of your request's response time when you have hundreds or thousands of classes like it is the case with eZ Publish 5 being based on Symfony, where about 2 600 classes are involved.

He suggests something that could be included into the Composer functionality itself - creating symbolic links in the PSR-0 standard to the location of the files to make it easier for Composer to resolve their location (based on namespace, not having to find them). Some sample code is included showing an additional autoloader that then uses the vendor names to match the path directly.

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composer symlinks autoload speed performance


Lorna Mitchell's Blog:
Proof that PHP 5.4 is Twice as Fast as PHP 5.3
June 14, 2012 @ 10:04:55

In this quick post to her blog, Lorna Mitchell shares an interesting bit of benchmarking she did between PHP versions 5.3 and 5.4, finding 5.4 twice as fast as it's previous version sibling.

So recently I was working on some benchmarks for different versions of PHP, because I heard that PHP 5.4 is "faster" and since I'm a data geek I want to know how much faster! Now, PHP 5.4 is, in general, faster than PHP 5.3 but not twice as fast* unless you pick a use case which has been particularly optimised. My first attempt at benchmarking the two versions produced this. This was a surprise to me; was PHP 5.4 really so much faster??

Her benchmark was a pretty simple one - looping and creating a new object, evaluating the timing of how long it took to execute. A commentor also points to some more official benchmarks that were done and posted to the php.internals mailing list.

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speed version difference improvement create object benchmark


Agile Toolkit Blog:
Which PHP Framework is the Fastest?
June 07, 2012 @ 12:47:41

The Agile Toolkit blog has a new post today that looks at speed in PHP frameworks the their relative speed (no, there's no benchmarks here).

This question is often asked, but is never answered properly. So how to measure framework speed? Let me also explain why "scalability" is more important than general "performance". [...] This along with a general overheads of the framework greatly contributes to the "slowness" of your project. So how can framework contribute to performance of your project?

They touch a few different ways that frameworks can help execute things a bit faster like:

  • Make Fewer SQL Queries
  • Selective render
  • Parallelization
  • Overheads
  • Caching
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framework speed performance tips rendering SQL overhead cache



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