Contributing to KPHP

KPHP sources are not well documented, but they contain lots of code to do “by analogy” with.

You should definitely mind the border between compiler and runtime. They are absolutely different parts but share the same contract of inferred types and codegenerated bindings.

This section is about contributing to KPHP itself.
If you’ve developed a useful PHP library that successfully compiles with KPHP, feel free to share it here.

The release cycle

All development takes place on Github. The “Issues” tab is a public issue tracker, also VK.com has a private one.

The master branch is protected for direct pushing, all changes are made using pull requests. Merging is disabled: only squashing and rebasing are allowed to keep a git history linear.

PRs can be merged only by KPHP maintainers.

When a PR is merged to the master branch, it is automatically tested with CI. The CI is not hosted on Github: instead, a public Github repo is mirrored to private VK.com infrastructure, and all testing and packing are held there. Once in a couple of weeks, VK.com builds all public .deb packages — and that's the release point.

Release versions and .deb package versioning are not semver — they are linked to dates and build numbers. This is mostly due to historical and internal reasons.

Walking through an imaginary situation #1

Let’s imagine, that KPHP doesn’t support list() with keys — and you want to implement it.

// imagine, that this works
list($a, $b, , $d) = f();

// but this doesn't
list(0 => $a, 3 => $d) = f();
// and this doesn't
['asdf' => $v1, $k => $v2] = $arr;

At first, you learn, how list() without keys is presented in AST — analyzing op_list usages and debugging.

// list($a, $b, , $d) = f();
op_list
  op_var ($a)
  op_var ($b)
  op_lvalue_null
  op_var ($d)
  op_func_call (f)

Vertex op_list has accessors →list() to get all but last, and →array() to get a node after assignment sign.

You decide to add op_list_keyval vertex type, to make AST be like this:

// list($a, $b, , $d) = f();
op_list
  op_list_keyval
    op_int_const 0
    op_var ($a)
  op_list_keyval
    op_int_const 1
    op_var ($b)
  op_list_keyval
    op_int_const 3
    op_var ($d)
  op_func_call (f)

// ['asdf' => $v1, $k => $v2] = $arr;
op_list
  op_list_keyval
    op_string 'asdf'
    op_var ($v1)
  op_list_keyval
    op_var ($k)
    op_var ($v2)
  op_var ($arr)

So, you introduce a new vertex to JSON, extending meta_op_binary, as it has two children.

Then you implement this, taking care of several moments:

  • convert a linear structure op_list_ce with possible => (op_double_arrow) to a tree op_list with op_list_keyval, auto-calculating incremental indexes like PHP would do, skipping op_lvalue_null; probably, you want to deny list($a,4=>$b) — considering mixing keyed and unkeyed indexes a bad code style, though it works in PHP; the best place for this conversion is just after initial AST has been built — in GenTreePostprocessPass
  • modify class_assumptions.cpp to recognize instances on the left side of arrow access, for example in case list(1=>$a) = tuple(1,new A) to correctly bind $a->f() to A method — based on existing code
  • in right/left usages detection (CalcRLF pipe), specify, that in list($k=>$v) $k has access for reading (val_r — on the right side of assignment), but $v for writing (val_l — like on the left side)
  • in control flow graph (CFGBeginF pipe), describe, that at first the left side will be calculated
  • in building type inferring edges (CollectMainEdgesPass pipe), don't forget a set-edge from the right-side of the i-th index of the list to the corresponding left-keyed value
  • in the final check (FinalCheckPass pipe), when tuple or shape is on the right, check that all left keys are constant numbers/strings with presented indexes
  • in C++ codegeneration, also implement valid shapes access: as earlier keyed lists were unsupported, all indexes were implicitly numeric, so shapes couldn't be assigned to them, and codegen part wasn't ready for it
  • write tests that should pass and tests that should fail (should not compile)

Check for real op_list_keyval implementation of what's highlighted on here.

Walking through an imaginary situation #2

Let’s imagine, that KPHP doesn’t support power operator ** — and you want to add it to KPHP.

Here you should not only modify the compiler but also add runtime functionality.

First, you think about priority: $a ** $b + c — what should happen first? ++$a ** $b — and here? You learn PHP docs and decide, where to insert additions to OpInfo::init_static() for a new vertex type.
You also ask yourself: 2**3**4 — is it (2^3)^4 or 2^(3^4)? In PHP, it works as the second, so you'll declare it as right_opp fixity.

Then you add op_pow vertex to JSON: it is also a binary operation.
Also remember about $a **= rhs syntax, so add op_set_pow too (see current implementation in sources).

// $a ** -3
op_pow
  op_var ($a)
  op_int_const -3

Next, you need to parse ** syntax in the lexer and convert it to AST. So, you introduce tok_pow and tok_set_pow. Calling add_binary_op(priority, tok_pow, op_pow) would perform token→AST conversion like for any other binary operation, taking priority and associativity into account.

Then you think about type inferring. What type should using power operator lead to? 2**2 — it's int, okay. And $a**2 — how should it be inferred, depending on $a type? Finally, you conclude with:

  • it should emit int or float depending on base: 2^2 is int, but 2.5^2 is float
  • but! we are sure of int only if exponent positive, as 2^-2 is float (0.25)
  • so, to infer int, an exponent should be known at compile-time: 2^$a shouldn't infer int even if $a is int, as it can be negative at runtime
  • but! it's incorrect to treat $a^$b as float, because if $a=$b=2 the result should be 4, not 4.0
  • that's why $a^$b can't be inferred as int, but in can be int at runtime
  • to support both int and float in this case, we should infer mixed

After all simplifications, you get: for constexpr positive integer exponent — lca(int,base); otherwise, float.
On type inferring step, you introduce recalc_power(), call it as necessary, and implement given logic.

Next, you need to tie codegeneration and C++ implementation together.
As you resulted in having 3 different inferrings, you need at least 3 C++ functions: say, you name them int_power(), float_power(), and mixed_power() and implement them somewhere in runtime — in kphp_core.h for example; the last one not only returns mixed but accepts mixed also, even though arguments could be inferred as clean types, they would be implicitly converted to mixed — it's easier to create a single function without lots overloads in this case.
On codegeneration of op_pow, you take the inferred result and output calling one of these functions.

To support **=, you consider how += and similar are made: “set operator” depends on “base operator”.

Also, you probably want to improve the pow() function inferring to make pow(4,2) also be int. The easiest way is to replace pow() call with op_pow in GenTreePostprocessPass.

Walking through an imaginary situation #3

KPHP doesn’t support ARRAY_FILTER_USE_KEY — and you want to fix this.

array_filter() declaration in KPHP looks this way:

function array_filter ($a ::: array, callback ($x ::: ^1[*]) ::: bool) ::: ^1;

But array_filter() in PHP can accept a third parameter — ARRAY_FILTER_USE_KEY or ARRAY_FILTER_USE_BOTH.

Before “fixing”, ask yourself a question: why doesn't KPHP support this? Is it a fault, or is it on purpose?
Here it is on purpose. If an input array is int[], then the callback is called with an int argument. If ARRAY_FILTER_USE_KEY passed, then callback should be called with mixed (not item value, but item key), and if the third parameter is not constexpr, how callback should be typed? Sometimes it accepts T, sometimes it accepts mixed. If you pass a lambda with an int type hint, you'll get an unexpected error. Moreover, T|mixed won't work with instances.

That's why ARRAY_FILTER_USE_KEY support can't be added in a PHP way.
The solution is to add a separate KPHP function that does what you want. Declared like

function array_filter_by_key ($a ::: array, callback ($key ::: mixed) ::: bool) ::: ^1;

And it's a right way here. What you need to do:

  1. Implement a PHP polyfill for array_filter_by_key() — to use it for development
  2. Declare it in functions.txt — to make compiler know about it
  3. Implement it in C++ — to make runtime know about it
    template<class T, class T1>
    array<T> f$array_filter_by_key(const array<T> &a, const T1 &callback) { /* ... */ }
    
  4. Write tests and create a pull request

Conclusion

Adding new functionality is quite complicated and involves thinking about all compilation steps, but lots of existing code hints a lot, and writing tests always detects if you have missed something.

As it has been told many times, KPHP has always been a proprietary project with various presumptions and abandoned areas. Lots of lacking functionality — both at compile-time, at runtime, and at PHP stdlib support — are still to be added.

If you have something to share, feel free to contribute.