[nycphp-talk] Facebook's LAMP Stack

Hans Zaunere lists at
Mon Apr 27 14:38:55 EDT 2009

> > What I'd really like is a way to "statically link" a PHP application.
> > this is somewhat possible today, PHP's dynamic nature makes this
> > to fully realize.  For example, it can be cumbersome on the developer to
> > check in multiple places if APC is available, what files are cached,
> > should be included, etc.
> Hans, can you give more detail  what you mean by statically link a PHP
> application and how it's possible to do it?  I'm interested in hearing
> about that.

Well, honestly, I'm not 100% sure either :)  It's not an easily solvable

>From the Facebook talk, and other comments I've heard in general, PHP's
highly dynamic nature is a good thing and a bad thing.  While flexible,
there is the overhead, both from a I/O perspective and from a internals
perspective.  As applications become large, as the gentlemen from Facebook
pointed out, it gets increasingly difficult to manage and optimize all those
PHP files.

I suppose fundamentally, each PHP source file is its own program in a sense.
It could be executed (with whatever result) as its own script, ie, the
classic .php vs .inc problem in the document root.  As a result, it's the
responsibility of the programmer - or framework in some cases - to ensure
these code files are put together in the correct way - and for EVERY
request.  This is tedious.

The flip side, of course, is a compiled language, where this assembly of the
program is done beforehand.  It seems as though (and again, this is very
ballpark), that some happy medium could be done.

For example, let's look at a APC use case.
  -- the first request of an application is performed after a server restart

  -- the APC cache is empty, so the application realizes this and
requires/includes files as needed to fulfill the request

  -- in a well written application, there will always be some of the same
set of assembly required

  -- on subsequent requests, this assembly, however, is still always
performed.  Granted, it's improved because the source files are being read
from memory and cached, but the legwork is there still.

What might be useful, would be the ability to store the block of cached code
as a single entity - let's call it a "library" for example.  Upon subsequent
requests, the application would already have this core already available
with a single "link" statement, rather than having to do the legwork each
time of assembling all the blocks.

Perhaps, afterall, it's more of a dynamic link model? :)  Hopefully, though,
this makes some sense.  At the end of the day, as applications get larger
and more complex, there's always a common set of code that's needed.  While
some things in the PHP world have attempted to help manage this, I guess it
comes down to - maybe compiling PHP isn't such a bad thing :)


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