facebook compiles its php code using an inhouse (and freeware) code called hiphop.
Can wordpress take advange of compiling php?
I doubt it. Each time a piece of code changes (think: theme code, plugin updates, new plugins, core updates etc) the entire codebase would require re-compilation.
That said; I'd love to see someone do it :)
It looks like the end-user's server would have to support it too... Yeah, probably not any time soon.
@Shane: compiling it everytime a new plugin is installed or a new core version is deployed is easy. It takes a few seconds and can be done less than once a week (or month).
@Ipstenu: if it has to rely on server configuration, than I agree it is more difficult to implement globally. However, a few large hosts might want to take a look at it.
Speaking for my fairly large sized host, if we had to recompile WP for all our users, ick. ;)
And speaking for WP from experience, recompiling every time I add/remove a plugin means people will be less likely to want to upgrade, which is a massive problem when it comes to security.
I'm going to look into it more, though, for any services we offer!
HipHop now offers a new execution engine called the "HipHop Virtual Machine" (hhvm) which can run WordPress and does not require a long C++ compilation step when the PHP code changes. HHVM uses just-in-time compilation to deliver performance while also maintaining flexibility. HHVM currently only supports a few x64 platforms, but there are plans to add support for more platforms in the future.
Sara Golemon wrote up a nice summary of how to run WordPress on HipHop VM here: http://www.hiphop-php.com/wp/?p=113
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