Facebook Introduces The New Programming Language of the Future: “Hack”

Facebook Introduces The New Programming Language of the Future: “Hack”

Hackers have never gotten a good rap over the years.  They are the ones who frequently get the blame for websites that go down inexplicably, or when the internet has slowed for whatever reason.  However, “Hack”, a new programming language that is being claimed as the language of the future, is now hitting the computer forefront, and Facebook can take the credit for it.

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Facebook engineers Bryan O’Sullivan, Julien Verlaguet and Alok Menghrajani worked with other engineers at the social media giant on a language that is designed to make software programs relatively free of flaws while still allowing software programmers to do what they need to do at high speeds.  “Hack”, the computer programming language in question, has been serving Facebook’s 1.2 billion customers.

When Facebook first bowed in 2003, it used PHP, which was a dynamically typed language, to design the site and plot out upgrades to it.  It was fast, it was efficient, and it was one of the easiest ways anyone could set up a site.  It suited the hacker mentality that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg seemed to live by.  It was a fast, effective language that really helped Zuckerberg get what he needed done with the site.  The problem with PHP is, as your site gets larger, there are a greater number of computer servers that are needed and it becomes more difficult to keep the site free of bugs. 

Hack is being considered as the more advanced form of PHP, but it makes use of both dynamic and static typing, and Facebook engineers set about replacing the old PHP code with Hack.  According to O’Sullivan, it allows for fewer developer errors, and the engineers were able to gradually replace more of the old PHP code with Hack, and had more error free code as a result.  It’s more precise too.  Hack’s efficiency lies in the fact that it can run without the necessity of compiling, which makes it a faster running code as well.

Part of its greatest appeal lies in the fact that it is a code that is really not all that different from PHP.  This is going to make Hack a very appealing language to take on by other programmers.  There is some debate, however, as to whether or not the creation of Hack has led to a new language or simply a PHP update.  O’Sullivan said he believed that sort of debate would be one to have later on as the language continues to prove its effectiveness.

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 Given it has already successfully run Facebook, it is hard to consider this as being anything other than a replacement for PHP.  It is a more robust language than PHP, in that it allows you to run your program without compiling, and it allows you to be more precise with the language.  It goes to prove that the popular social media network continues to maintain its steadfast position on the advancements in technology. The new programming language is set to be introduced at the Hack Developer Day on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park next month.

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