HHVM 3.8 to Speed up the Execution of PHP Code

The advanced PHP engine from Facebook brags about the improvements made on the performance, but the apps remain as the real obstruction. Right after the beta release of PHP version 7.0, Facebook’s HHVM project (high-speed PHP engine) also has a new point release. The reference published by Facebook shows HHVM performance improvements on the older versions and stock engine PHP as well. But most of the PHP packages are not taking the complete advantage offered by HHVM or they have the test suit that fail with HHVM which means that it’s not the generic replacement for stock PHP.

Does HHVM 3.8 make the code run faster?

  • HHVM, which was first introduced in 2013 uses just-in-time compiler (JIT) to accelerate the execution of PHP code. The increase in speed varies according to the app but the recent benchmarks released by Facebook put HHVM in between 2 and 4 times faster than PHP 5 and 1.5 times faster than PHP 7.
  • So those who are thinking to make use of HHVM to get the speed and scale as that of Facebook from their PHP applications are certain to be disappointed because of the way the PHP applications are built.
  • On analyzing the HHVM benchmarks, Facebook observed that none of the tested frameworks like WordPress, Mediawiki and Drupal took the advantage of asynchronous I/O architecture of HHVM. So the apps bound by asynchronous I/O operations can get acceleration by optimizing the usage of CPU.

HHVM support for PHP projects!

  • In order to support the above mentioned declaration, Facebook conducted an experimental optimization of WordPress using asynchronous database queries. The company came to a conclusion that, such change illustrates the performance gains in both response time and requests per second (RPS).
  • It’s also been noted that, most of the PHP packages don’t even pass automated testing when they are run under HHVM.
  • HHVM support for PHP projects traces Composer packages; while many options successfully run under HHVM, some work only in some parts and some don’t work at all.  This makes HHVM useful for running normally used frameworks (like WordPress) and apps.
  • Gradually HHVM might attain the influence not by replacing PHP but as a source of new ideas on how the future iterations of stock PHP engine could be implemented. As long as major PHP apps are overhauled, stock engine will be the choice of most of the users.

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