A few weeks ago, the Hack language was launched to the world. Yesterday, we held the first Hack Developer Day in Menlo Park, California. 150+ Members of the PHP and developer community came to Facebook headquarters and joined over 2000 people online for presentations by the engineers of Hack and HHVM. Afterwards we held a five hour hackathon, where the attendees worked with those engineers to write Hack code, either by converting current codebases or writing new code from scratch. By the way, bonus points to anyone who can decrypt the commit message used when Josh originally pushed Hack to open source.

For those who couldn’t attend, here are the videos of all the presentations…

Hack Developer Days

… and click here for the PDFs of the slides.

There is an official recap of the event on the Facebook Engineering blog, but let me try to provide you a few points that really resonated with me, and I hope many of the attendees:

  • We really strived to make Hack as unobtrusive as possible by providing a lot statically typed functionality without negatively impacting your fast workflow.

  • Hack features like Collections and async/await were received very well and I believe will end up being an integral part of a Hack developer’s toolbox.

  • Tools such as the Hackificator, while not a panacea, can really help you with code conversions.

  • We are working super hard to make HHVM a really great runtime for PHP. Just check out our frameworks compatibility page to understand how serious we are.

  • Our community is awesome. Plain and simple. And we want to make working with Hack and HHVM awesome for them. So we are doing all we can to be even more open (e.g., we are implementing an open review process; bye-bye pull requests).

  • Let it not be forgotten that we are always trying to make HHVM more efficient and run your code faster.

  • FBIDE is really nice, and can make learning and using Hack so much easier. I am really looking forward to its release. What is FBIDE, you might ask? See the video or recap to learn more about this nugget of information.

Simply put, the day was good times all around. And, as one attendee put it, “Keep Hacking!”


  • Jared Kiep: I thought the FacebookIDE (FBIDE, but don't google that) looked very interesting. Especially the auto-complete and debugging hooks.
  • Radu Murzea: I only participated online because the 6000+ miles distance is kind of an inconvenient. But even so, it was really awesome, thank you guys for organizing it and truly connecting with the community in actual flesh and bone. The little details that you took care of really made the difference between a typical conference and a truly great one; like for example the fact that someone constantly monitored the chat and answered questions. Thanks to Joel Marcey for this. I liked it so much I stayed up until about 2:30 AM (10 hours time zone difference). Do something like this again, soon, the community loves it :) .
  • Massimiliano Torromeo: The commit message is a base64-encoded gzipped ANSI-colored ASCII logo of the hacklang mecha-elephant (visible in the first slide here: http://www.slideshare.net/zerutreck/taking-php-seriously-keith-adams)
  • Joel Marcey: Nice job! :)
  • Joel Marcey: Thank you so much for attending. It was great to have all the people online as well as in person. We are looking into how we can do more of these, maybe in different locations. Stay tuned!
  • Joel Marcey: This may sound biased, but, as objective as I can be here, I really do think the IDE is very nice. There are some rough edges to smooth out, but I think it will serve quite useful for many developers.
  • macdevign: Is that possible for Facebook to finance the development of hack plugin for Intellij, just like Google do likewise for Android Studio ? It will be great if Facebook is in partnership with jetbrains to bring the language support with one of the best ides in the market.
  • macdevign: It does not need to be full-fledged dedicated IDE like Android Studio, but just create a plugin to work along side like Intellij, or extends Phpstorm. Jetbrains probably will express their support on Hack eventually but that could be better if Facebook lands their resources to bring the language support faster. Developers will prefer to stick to their favourite IDEs.
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