[nycphp-talk] Anyone play with HHVM?

Jeff Slutz jeff at
Fri Feb 14 11:23:56 EST 2014

I've been curious about HHVM but haven't had time to play with it yet.

Thanks for sharing your experiences around Travis CI and HHVM, very helpful.


Jeff Slutz
2105 N Fork Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
c. 970.443.9390
jeff at

On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 7:43 PM, Gary A. Mort <garyamort at> wrote:

>  I recently learned about Travis CI[in the past 6 months] which removed a
> large number of testing issues I've faced in the past[PHPUnit has changed
> so much from version to version, that at times one PHP package's tests
> require a specific downlevel PHPUnit to run, while another required a
> different downlevel PHPUnit...leading me to frustration when working on
> both at the same time!]
> With the combination of Composer, Github, and Travis CI - I can set it up
> to install a specific version of PHPUnit and whenever I push a commit,
> Travis runs the tests for me....much easier.
> So when Travis CI added support for selecting HHVM as a PHP Version I was
> curious on how it compared to regular PHP.   Grabbing my favorite PHP
> framework[Joomla] I created a new branch and added hhvm as a PHP version.
> The biggest problem I ran into was that the current hhvm release is very
> downlevel on features which caused a lot problems in the unit tests[a lot
> of Image processing tests blew up].    Fortunately, Facebook maintains an
> apt installable copy of hhvm-nightly, so with some extra build scripts I
> was able to set up some conditional apt-get scripts to make sure
> hhvm-nightly is installed:
> I also had to heavily modify the travis configuration:
> I learned that with travis, many of the commands for each
> stage[before_install, install, before_script, and script] are at the same
> time.   So if your running 3 scripts for the "install" stage, they run at
> the same time, but if/when one of them fails the error is reported as being
> from the script started first and still running.
> IE: your running,, and
> finishes executing
> and are still running
> aborts with a vague error message
> Travis reports the error message as coming from and aborts the job.
> Plus if depends on something is configuring, it will fail.  So
> careful placement of scripts to ensure that they finish in the correct
> sequence is important.
> There were a few interoperability problems between Composer and
> hhvm-nightly when it came to how the version string was formatted - I
> reported it to both groups and the facebook team were very quick about
> reaching out to the Composer dev to find out what version string format he
> preferred and then they updated their build process to produce it.
> With all the major issues taken care of, it was just a process of fixing a
> handful of little incompatibilities to get the test to run.
> In the end, I found it rather impressive that hhvm took about half the
> time to execute.  Generally it took PHP almost 6 minutes to run all the
> unit tests.  HHVM was able to run them in under 3 minutes.
> Even if you don't plan on using hhvm for production - adding it to your
> unit testing is very beneficial.  Most of the changes I had to make in
> order to get the unit tests to run were not differing published
> features[the string access as an array thing for example] - but instead
> they were broken/undocumented features in PHP 5.3/5.4.   For example, PHP
> has some VERY strange ways of handling using private methods for
> autoloaders.   Because the documented autoload features specify that you
> must use public methods for autoloaders, HHVM adhered to the spec and thus
> would break there.
> It's somewhat like how you can use Clang to compile your C code to find
> all the bad coding practices which directly contradict the C standards but
> work anyway if you compile your code with GCC.  Clang has added a bunch of
> flags to allow code to be compiled in the "broken" gcc supported way - but
> if you use it in it's default config you can find all your "broken but
> working" code.
> Just curious if anyone has anything actually in production using hhvm?  Or
> even just playing around with it.
> -Gary
> _______________________________________________
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