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Comparing the PHP 7 and Hack Type Systems

After writing a couple small programs in Hack I’ve realized that it’s not types themselves that make writing Hack enjoyable: it’s the tight feedback loop Hack creates between the machine and myself. Integrating the Hack type checker into my editor means that my entire codebase is analyzed in a split second as soon as I save a file. This immediately surfaces any dumb, or subtle mistakes I made. I find myself writing code fearlessly: when I forget what a function returns, I just write code that calls it with what I think it returns. If I’m wrong, the type checker will tell me immediately. I can fix it quickly, and move on.

PHP has always facilitated a tight feedback loop between the machine and the developer. Save the file, reload the browser, repeat. Hack’s type checker makes this even faster. I look forward to being able to build similar tooling on top of PHP 7’s strict mode.


Freek Van der Herten is a partner and developer at Spatie, an Antwerp based company that specializes in creating web apps with Laravel. After hours he writes about modern PHP and Laravel on this blog. When not coding he’s probably rehearsing with his kraut rock band.