PHP offers a light-weight runtime for small-to-medium sized webapps. If you are not a PHP developer, you will be surprised to know that PHP doesn’t support multithreading natively, though there are ways to make it possible. People have often come up with solutions to mock multithreading but still PHP sucks at performance as far as large applications are concerned.
Most industry applications fallback to either Java/J2ee or .NET when they are designing inherently-scalable, responsive in high-load, resilient applications.
However, big companies who had the PHP as base right from the start complain to ZEND for such a poorly performing runtime. And Facebook is the one who is in the deepest pains caused by all this.
After years of struggle, they have finally have rewritten the runtime to achieve the level of performance way beyond than what it does today. It took them approximately 2 years with some senior level programmers.
As SDTimes reports,
Core PHP team had been brought to Facebook‘s main campus. That team were forced to sign NDA’s, and taken to a very quiet, secluded meeting room where some cool new Facebook-backed open source project was described.
Well, I was able to put all the pieces together on this one, finally, and I now understand exactly what is up: Facebook has rewritten the PHP runtime from scratch.
Now, that sounds like a good work. But what is even better is that they are planning to make a big announcement of open source-ing the new runtime on this Tuesday. In addition, it makes alot more sense that Facebook would release it’s own version of Compiler to accompany the runtime improvements.
Well, this is not something new for PHP. Zend has time and again ignored performance issues with PHP. Evidence comes from Yahoo!, who had to take a similar step to make it possible to continue using PHP to power it’s apps.
Now this new effort from Facebook could mold into acceleration for industry adoption for PHP. Well, I don’t have the numbers to conclude anything solid but it sure would be a good step.