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Little did we know that, for the last six months, Facebook has made use of a custom compiler for PHP that they refer to as "Hip Hop." Essentially, it takes your PHP source code, and converts it into C++, and is then compiled with G++. As a result, they've managed to reduce their CPU usage by 50%. This project has apparently been in development for the last two years, but has only today been released to the community.

"HipHop for PHP isn't technically a compiler itself. Rather it is a source code transformer. HipHop programmatically transforms your PHP source code into highly optimized C++ and then uses g++ to compile it. HipHop executes the source code in a semantically equivalent manner and sacrifices some rarely used features - such as eval() - in exchange for improved performance. HipHop includes a code transformer, a reimplementation of PHP's runtime system, and a rewrite of many common PHP Extensions to take advantage of these performance optimizations."



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