Today Facebook revealed what they have been working behind the scenes for a long time. In a nutshell, HipHop is aimed at improving PHP’s performance by converting PHP code to C++ and then compiling it with g++, thus allowing Facebook to keep up with their growth with fewer servers.
In theory, by running compiled code, users would get major gains in performance with the same hardware. This is specially true for applications and sites built using frameworks like Symfony, Zend Framework, Cakephp and others. But it also means that you will need to compile the PHP code and upload the result into a server that can understand and run it. In consequence, hosting that will support HipHop be limited.
We have some questions before hand that will get answered pretty soon. How does HipHop compare with running PHP with APC enabled? Since Facebook contributed a lot to APC, we are assuming that using HipHop should be an improvement. We also are very curious to see how it will fare with frameworks like Symfony and Zend Framework.
Here at ServerGrove, our core business is PHP hosting, and as you can imagine that we are very excited about this announcement. As we were one of the first companies to offer PHP 5.3 hosting, we will test HipHop to see what it offers for PHP hosting. Part of our mission is to squeeze every single CPU cycle to offer the best performance from our servers so our customers’ websites run as fast as possible. If HipHop is as good as it sounds, be sure that it will be added to our products offering, but not before making sure we can provide the top-level support that our customers deserve and get from us.
We look forward to hearing your predictions on HipHop. How will symfony and Zend Framework fit in the schema of things? How will this affect our workflow? If HipHop is as good as it sounds, what will be the ultimate hosting product to go with it? Check back soon, as our tests materialize we will post them here.