Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: performance

HipHop is an accelerator for PHP from Facebook

Today I’m excited to share the project a small team of amazing people and I have been working on for the past two years; HipHop for PHP. With HipHop we’ve reduced the CPU usage on our Web servers on average by about fifty percent, depending on the page. Less CPU means fewer servers, which means less overhead. This project has had a tremendous impact on Facebook. We feel the Web at large can benefit from HipHop, so we are releasing it as open source this evening in hope that it brings a new focus toward scaling large complex websites with PHP.

Facebook developer Haiping Zhao announces HipHop for PHP, a tool that translates PHP to C++ and compiles it using g++.

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Usability and performance, part 1

I’ve started collecting screen shots that illustrate the problem of performance issues affecting the usability of Web sites. I saw this one in a shopping cart from an online store (I don’t remember which one, and they probably wouldn’t want to be identified anyway).

As you can see, this text was added to the Web page because the “add to cart” request takes a long time to process. To prevent users from adding duplicate items to their cart, the Web site warns the user to keep waiting rather than pressing the button again.

The proper approach would be to improve the shopping cart so that adding items doesn’t take so long, or to find a more robust hosting provider, but those alternatives are more work and more expensive. I’d be willing to bet that the people running the site are using third party software that they can’t fix even if they want to.

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