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A Few Notes on Zephir


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Zephir is a programming language for building PHP extensions. As in, the .so files that extend the PHP language itself. Normally you need to use the C programming language to create a PHP extension, but Zephir is an intermediate language you can compile down to C code, (using the provided tooling). Its build system also automatically stitches everything together into a compilable/phpize-able extension. i.e. you say

zephir build

and you have a working extension.

The docs are pretty good, although I ran into a few unmentioned gotchas while getting the hello world example up and running.

  1. You’ll need to install their PHP parse extension to get a working build system. (Zephir appears to use PHP itself as part of its build pipeline)

  2. They don’t appear to officially support Mac OS, so I had to use hombrew to get a copy of re2c on my system.

  3. Similarly, when I built the parser, my computer yelled at me: ./install: line 182: aclocal: command not found, but things seemed to compile without issue. I suspect there’s other rough edges related to Mac OS support

  4. I am a derp

The idea of “modern” PHP extension development is a bit of an oxymoron, but Zephir’s is the best system I’ve found so far.

Copyright © Alan Storm 1975 – 2022 All Rights Reserved

Originally Posted: 30th July 2018