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WordPress, HHVM and PHP 7: Technical Debt Always Matters

A while back this article discussed the technical debt of WordPress and was concluded that it really does not matter at the end. But Sara Golemon from Facebook's HHVM team responded on the topic of WordPress's technical debt:

Yes. Technical debt always matters, because the time you spend paying off the interest is time lost adding features and fixing real bugs.

This means that in many cases solving a specific problem needs to be done multiple times and may surface again easily due to the way WordPress is built.

Nevermind the absolutely brutal performance penalty that poor architecture results in. And I'm not just talking about RPS, latency matters to your bottom line. Users turn away when you keep them waiting. Does PHP7/HHVM improve on WP's PHP5 performance? Of course, but it could be so much better.

This comes back to the improvements that HHVM and PHP 7 offer to sites running WordPress. It's such a common tool that PHP 7 has performance optimisations specifically for WordPress. They're actually general ones, but only apply to PHP code that was written ten years ago.

I do get that WP's fanatical dedication to BC is part of its success. But if the question is "Does WP's technical debt matter?" Then BC only softens the "Yes" answer, it doesn't obviate it.

There is always a price to pay, it seems. It will be interesting to see where WordPress is going.

Written by Jorgé on Saturday November 14, 2015

Permalink - Tags: hhvm, wordpress, php7, php

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