Facebook tomorrow will announce the release of a completely rewritten PHP execution stack. The company has been calling this project Hyper PHP, and reportedly had tasked a single developer with the project two years ago.
The project is part of a larger effort at Facebook to speed up its PHP infrastructure. This is not the first time Facebook has spent development money on PHP acceleration technology. The company has produced lex-pass, a tool written in Haskell that helps developers to refactor their PHP code. Facebook is also responsible for PHPEmbed, another open-source tool that improves upon the PHP APIs for embedding chunks of code written in the language into other applications.
Previously published interviews with anonymous Facebook employees elsewhere on the Internet confirmed that the Hyper PHP project has been a solo effort inside of Facebook.
Further, the previous interview identified Hyper PHP as being a PHP compiler. PHP is interpreted at runtime, though compiler-like technology does exist that can speed up the interpreting process. When combined with the Facebook lexer and PHPEmbed APIs, Facebook has a compelling PHP stack all its own.
Other sources are indicating that this is the beginning of a major open-source publicity push at Facebook. Anonymous sources have said that the company hopes to increase the visibility of its open-source endeavors.