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O'Reilly Open Source Convention


Music of the Opcodes
David Sklar, Ning, Inc.

Track: PHP
Date: Wednesday, July 09
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: Salon D

PHP is generally quiet. Sklar's presentation describes introducing sound into two parts of PHP: compiling and debugging. While some of the noise is a novelty, representing programs as songs and using audio cues for debugging have some interesting implications.

When it compiles a program, PHP's Zend Engine turns the source code into a series of opcodes for its software virtual machine. These opcodes map nicely to musical notes. Some small modifications to the Zend Engine play a song as the opcodes are executed. This makes it possible to represent a PHP program as a musical score and vice versa -- turn a musical score into a PHP program.

Similarly, PHP can be modified to play notes on various error conditions. By associating different pitches and types of sounds with these errors, you can use sound to help you figure out what's going wrong with your programs.

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