Topic: What is the best way to learn to write PHP Extensions?

As a PHP Developer, it's always frustrating to find an extension which just is not compatible with your current version of PHP. I have run into this problem a few times now, initially with the Cassandra extension which Datastax developed, but abandoned in favor of other languages, and more recently the php-judy extension.

I know that development of the extensions is in C / C++ (Something I've always been curious to learn more, but just never got around to), however, are there any guides / documentation regarding how to approach building a PHP extension? Or even updating an existing one to a more recent version of PHP?

Re: What is the best way to learn to write PHP Extensions?

Most upgradings information are in UPGRADING.INTERNAL file

Sorry, I not aware of any good documentation about writing PHP extension
Need to learn reading code of existing extension.

Laptop:  Fedora 40 + rpmfusion + remi (SCL only)
x86_64 builder: Fedora 39 + rpmfusion + remi-test
aarch64 builder: RHEL 9 with EPEL
Hosting Server: AlmaLinux 8 with EPEL, rpmfusion, remi

Re: What is the best way to learn to write PHP Extensions?

Ah, I understand.
It's less following a guide or predefined structure, and more to do with just learn by doing.

Thank you very much for your quick response.

4 (edited by surolaw 2023-11-15 10:14:30)

Re: What is the best way to learn to write PHP Extensions?

To learn to write PHP extensions, here are some steps you can follow:

Familiarize yourself with the PHP extension API: Start by understanding the PHP extension architecture and the API functions available for extension development.

Learn C programming: Since PHP extensions are written in C, having a good understanding of C programming is essential. Study C syntax, data types, pointers, memory management, and other fundamental concepts.

Study existing extensions: Analyze and study existing PHP extensions to gain insights into their structure, implementation techniques, and best practices. This can help you understand how extensions integrate with PHP and extend its functionality.

Set up a development environment: Install the necessary tools and libraries required for PHP extension development. This typically includes a C compiler, PHP source code, and development headers.

Start with simple extensions: Begin by creating simple extensions that perform basic tasks. This will help you grasp the fundamentals and gradually build your skills.

Refer to official documentation: PHP provides comprehensive documentation on extension development. Utilize this resource to understand the various extension-related functions, macros, and guidelines.

Join developer communities: Engage with PHP developer communities and forums where you can ask questions, seek guidance, and learn from experienced developers who have expertise in writing PHP extensions.

Practice and experiment: Continuously practice writing extensions and experiment with different features and functionalities. This hands-on experience will enhance your understanding and proficiency.

Test and debug: Thoroughly test your extensions to ensure they function correctly and handle edge cases gracefully. Use debugging tools and techniques to troubleshoot any issues that arise.

Iterate and improve: Keep refining your skills by building more complex extensions, incorporating feedback from others, and staying updated with the latest developments in PHP extension development.

Remember that learning to write PHP extensions is a gradual process that requires patience and persistence. By following these steps and actively practicing, you can develop proficiency in creating PHP extensions.