Concurrency in PHP with Swoole

Swoole is a CLI server written in C as a PHP extension. It handles HTTP, TCP and socket servers, offering some really interesting features. The ones I’ve tested and I’m pretty excited about are related to concurrency.

The authors have implemented a concurrency model similar to Go‘s, using coroutines and channels for inter-process communication. It also has a memory map, atomic objects, locks, buffers, timers and others.

I’ve tested their 2.2 version found in PECL, but very recently they’ve release the 4.0.0 version. My enthusiasm suffered a little bit when they’ve introduced a pretty nasty bug with 4.0.0, but they were fast about fixing it, although a new version is not released at the time of writing (but you can compile from master branch).
It’s funny that one day everything was working as expected, and the other day I spent some time until I’ve figured they had just released a new version, and that was causing my issue. I had installed the extension without specifying the version, so a new install got me the latest one.

Below is a very small example of concurrency using routines and a channel. Continue reading Concurrency in PHP with Swoole

Read Go documentation

A few weeks ago I’ve finished reading the Go documentation. The Go 1.10 documentation Android app is very helpful! It’s very easy to read and it has auto bookmarks; whenever you get back into the app, you can return to the chapter you were reading, at the same line you were before closing it.

It was very nice to find out a lot of details. Of course, I don’t remember all of them after just one reading, but when I bump into some situations (performance, how slices really work, libraries, the memory model etc) it’s easier to start researching further if I don’t remember the point exactly.

I don’t want to write Go without understanding as best as I can its way of getting things done.

PHP backward compatibility

Could PHP 7 inherit Go’s philosophy of not introducing breaking changes in future versions? I’ve asked this myself today.

PHP is on a really nice path since version 7, with its courageous changes, and I believe more is yet to come. Because things must evolve, there were some incompatible changes from 5 to 7, and that’s great. And now that it’s more mature, I would like to see more stability and more of those hardcore changes that will keep the language in its good position.

Regarding this, something that I really wish for PHP 7 is to approach Go’s idea of not introducing incompatibilities with future versions. The programs should run flawless when upgrading PHP. It would be a great encouragement for everyone to safely upgrade as soon as a new version is released.

Configurable implementation hidden behind a contract

Some concrete implementations are better to be hidden behind contracts, in a specific package. A layer of abstraction can save you later, mostly on unstable projects that often change requirements, or maybe you just want to test an idea, maybe you don’t have the necessary time to finish a task in a way you’d like to.

A good contract will save you. You can “throw” your implementation behind it and come back later to refine it. Sometimes later means in a few years. But if you’re behind a well designed contract, most probably you’re going to alter only the concrete implementation, without touching large areas of the projects.

I had to filter some user input. Some strings had to be HTML escaped, some sanitized to prevent different attacks. I’ve wrapped everything into a package, behind a contract. For escaping I’ve used Go’s html.EscapeString function, while for sanitizing I’ve found the bluemonday package, which is inspired by an OWASP sanitizier for Java. Continue reading Configurable implementation hidden behind a contract

Using channels to control flow

When I first met channels in Go, I thought they were just data containers. When you want to send data between routines, they are the go to. But later I saw they can be used to control an application flow, like waiting until something happens and only after that go on with the normal flow.

Here’s an approach to wait until some tasks have finished. Let me consider some input data that can come from anywhere: HTTP requests, files, sockets etc. That data can come in fast, but processing can take some time. If the application needs to exit (you restart it, stop it) but you want to wait until all the data you have in memory is processed, you can use channels.

First, I have a routine which processes input data read from a buffered channel. I simulate the slow processing with a sleep. Continue reading Using channels to control flow