I had a dream today. In fact, it was a nightmare that woke me up at 3am and kept me up for the next three hours or so. And I tell you honestly – this kind of things don’t happen to me all that often. In fact, I don’t even remember when was the last time I had anything similar.
I dreamed that the whole world is somehow written in PHP. A few bits were alright, but it mostly sucked. There were constant ground tremors. Buildings were shaking in the slow soft waving motions. Things that were supposed to be soft were plastic hard. Things that were supposed to be hard were bumpy soft. Road tarmac felt like a gentle green grass field.
At some point of those tremors opened a long, deep crack in the ground. The resulting vibration tore a nearby skyscraper in half, like it was a wet baguette, and the top part of the building slowly fell and disappeared in that crack (hi, dr. Fraud). That was rather unpleasant to watch.
After a few scenes of apocalypse, the nightmare movie was cut to action, where I was a part of the task force that was supposed to fix the world. And, I tell you, we tried hard. We’ve refactored parts of the code, migrated a few most critical systems to CakePHP, upgraded PHP to 5.6 and even tried all those high performance tricks from Facebook (hi, Hack). Things were getting better but not nearly enough. The world was still awkward, unstable and slow.
PHP wasn’t the only thing we were looking at. There was a lot work around databases and tuning servers. We’ve tried every profiling, monitoring and analytics tool we could get our hands on. But, to no avail.
The really horrifying part of the nightmare was when we finally realized that PHP won’t cut it and we’ll have to rewrite parts of the world in C. We also somehow were missing a C compiler. I bet you can guess the epicenter of the nightmare now. Yes, indeed. We started writing a C compiler in PHP. That’s when I woke up in cold sweat, screaming “Noooooo!” through my lungs. That was more than I could bear.
For three hours after I tried not to Google or think if that was at all possible. Apparently, I love the world the way it is now – screwed up in a billion ways, but NOT written in PHP. With that peaceful thought and a beautiful sunrise I fell asleep.