PHPBuilder - The Need For Speed



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The Need For Speed

by: Piergiorgio Spagnolatti
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March 21, 2001

One of the greatest advantages when using PHP is obviously speed. PHP4 is in general fast enough for dynamic web content generation, and in most cases you can't even think of anything faster than it. But when you have to face lots of accesses, heavy applications, narrow bandwidth, or other factors that can create performance bottlenecks, you may ask yourself if you can do anything to make things work better. In this article I'll explain what you can do to further improve php performance, and how to make your users' browsing experience even more pleasant.

First of all, code optimization...

No, I'm not going to tell you again that you have to write clean and clear code, since everyone knows it, and if you're looking for speed then you probably already tweaked something in your PHP sources. However, there's something that can do this dirty job for you. It's the Zend Optimizer, available for free (you have to agree to the Zend Optimizer license, since it's not released under the GPL) from Zend Technologies the people that brought us our blazing fast PHP engine). It "simply" goes over the intermediate code generated by the Zend Engine and optimizes it for faster execution. I said "dirty job" since we all know that tweaking code sometimes can bring you to unreadable code, and this is not what you want to find when making changes to your nearly forgotten 3-years-old PHP application... ;-) . You will notice that complex PHP sources sudden will benefit from Zend Optimizer, so I suggest you to use it as long as it doesn't produce strange incompatibilites with your code (never found one though). Installing the Zend Optimizer is really easy. Just download the precompiled library for your platform, add the following two lines in your php.ini, restart your webserver, and... That's it!
zend_optimizer.optimization_level=15
zend_extension="/path/to/ZendOptimizer.so" 
zend_loader.enable=Off
Ooops... I said two lines and you find three. In fact the third line is optional, but it seems that disabling this zend_loader speeds up a bit the Optimizer, so it's worth a line in your php.ini. Pay attention: you can disable the zend_loader only if you don't use the Zend Encoder Runtime, which will be discussed later.

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