Engineers turn an academic exercise into a battle-tested reality with their new language Hack.


Bryan O’Sullivan, Julien Verlaguet, and Alok Menghrajani, three engineers from Facebook, have developed a new open-source version of PHP that could take the programming world by storm. It offers the speed and flexibility of PHP, as well as the safety of more static languages like Java. The best thing about ‘Hack‘ is that it's already being used to run the gargantuan social network that is Facebook.

PHP and Hack are extremely similar, but the difference is that PHP requires much more server space compared with other programming languages, especially as websites start to grow. Facebook engineers first solved the server problem by running all its PHP code on a new piece of software called the Hip Hop Virtual Machine (HHVM). Hack is the final piece in the puzzle, and makes it easier for developers to manage code and eliminate errors.

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