Facebook Holds First Hack Developer Day

By David Cohen 

HackDeveloperDay650Last month, Facebook announced the open-sourcing of Hack, a programming language it developed for HHVM that integrates seamlessly with PHP. Earlier this week, the social network held its first-ever Hack Developer Day.

The social network said in a post on its engineering blog that 150 developers attended the event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., and more than 2,000 people viewed the live stream of Hack Developer Day, adding that copies of the presentations are available via the Hack Developer Day Facebook group, and videos are available via a YouTube playlist.

Engineering Manager Joel Pobar offered a summary of the day’s sessions in the engineering blog post:

  • Facebook Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering Jay Parikh discussed Facebook’s approach to building infrastructure and commitment to open source in the event’s opening remarks.
  • Software Engineer Julien Verlaguet, one of the creators of Hack, introduced the language, described it as a bridge between the dynamic and statically-typed world, and offered a behind-the-scenes look at how Hack actually works.
  • Josh Watzman, a developer on the Hack team, demonstrated how to convert PHP code to Hack.
  • Craig Kerstiens and Peter van Hardenberg of Heroku detailed their platform, which is one of the first hosting providers with out-of-the-box support for HHVM and Hack.
  • Software Engineers Drew Paroski and Eugene Letuchy offered a tour of some of Hack’s language features and application-programming interfaces.
  • Software Engineers Sara Golemon and Paul Tarjan described the state of the HHVM open-source world.
  • Research Scientist and Tech Lead Edwin Smith discussed how Facebook keeps making HHVM run Hack and PHP code faster and faster.
  • Pobar and Software Engineer Joel Beales introduced Facebook’s Web-based Hack development environment, FBIDE.

Pobar summed up the day as follows:

Hack Developer Day provided an exciting opportunity to meet members of the community interested in Hack and HHVM. Many of them have already made invaluable contributions to the implementation and direction of these two technologies. We also had some awesome community member questions and feedback throughout the day of presentations.

Next on the horizon is to continue working with the community to improve and refine the Hack language, helping interested developers migrate to Hack, and narrowing the HHVM compatibility gap with PHP5 and popular frameworks.