The PHP Group has announced the “Next Generation” project, an effort to change some of PHP’s internal APIs in order to pave the way for JIT, or just-in-time compilation.

The project was announced in a news release detailing the creation of a new phpng branch. Built by PHP developers Xinchen Hui, Nikita Popov and Dmitry Stogov, the branch does not include JIT compilation, but it does clean up core PHP APIs and improves memory usage to make it possible for a future JIT compiler implementation.

(Related: JetBrains open-sources Nitra)

According to the release, the addition of the phpng branch has also helped optimize performance, increasing WordPress (which is coded in PHP) throughput by 20%. The “Next Generation” project is still in its early stages, but The PHP Group is optimistic about the phpng branch, as well as possibility of a JIT compiler in the server-side Web development language.

“The work on phpng, the doors it opens, the conversations it has started, the collaboration it is inspiring are all worth getting excited about,” the release states. “But we need to stay grounded, honest, and open, and say that there is much work to do in order to make the ‘Next Generation’ a reality. This is only the start.”