Facebook's HHVM To Focus More On Hack, No Longer Focusing On PHP7 Compatibility
Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 18 September 2017 at 02:22 PM EDT. 9 Comments
Some interesting remarks today by Facebook's HHVM/Hack language team as they plot their future agenda.

First up, the HHVM 3.24 release due out in early 2018 will be their last release to commit to supporting PHP5. PHP5-specific features after that release may end up being dropped.

Along with dropping PHP5 support, HHVM developers will no longer be focusing on PHP7 compatibility.

The Facebook HHVM developers wrote today, "HHVM will not aim to target PHP7. The HHVM team believes that we have a clear path toward making Hack a fantastic language for web development, untethered from its PHP origins. We’d do ourselves and our users a disservice by positioning HHVM as an uncommon, less well-documented, less compatible PHP7 runtime...We do not intend to be the runtime of choice for folks with pure PHP7 code. We expect Hack and PHP7 to retain a good deal of overlap for the time being, and many users may find success using the runtimes interchangeably in the short term. But for those who want to be on the newest version of PHP7 and to make use of new behaviors, HHVM will not be the most suitable platform."

Facebook is going to double-down on their efforts around the Hack programming language originally inspired by PHP, but they are going to stop focusing on PHP7 compatibility so they can take their language to the next level. Fortunately, it's also a testament to the improvements in upstream PHP7 with it being much faster and better off than during the PHP5 days that led Facebook to originally creating the HipHop Virtual Machine for accelerating PHP.

They will not be abandoning PHP support immediately, but over time pure PHP code may stop working in HHVM. More details via today's HHVM.com blog post.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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