Zephir is a compiled high level language aimed to the creation of C-extensions for PHP

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Language: C


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Zephir - Ze(nd Engine) Ph(p) I(nt)r(mediate) - is a high level language that eases the creation and maintainability of extensions for PHP. Zephir extensions are exported to C code that can be compiled and optimized by major C compilers such as gcc/clang/vc++. Functionality is exposed to the PHP language.

Main features:

  • Both dynamic/static typing
  • Reduced execution overhead compared with full interpretation
  • Restricted procedural programming, promoting OOP
  • Memory safety
  • Ahead-of-time (AOT) compiler to provide predictable performance

Compiler design goals:

  • Multi-pass compilation
  • Type speculation/inference
  • Allow runtime profile-guided optimizations, pseudo-constant propagation and indirect/virtual function inlining


To compile zephir-parser:

  • json-c (Please install this one from Github)
  • re2c

To build the PHP extension:

  • g++ >= 4.4/clang++ >= 3.x/vc++ 9
  • gnu make 3.81 or later
  • php development headers and tools


You can install zephir using composer. Run composer require phalcon/zephir, run ./install and then run zephir from your bin-dir. By default it is ./vendor/bin/zephir. You can read more about composer binaries in it's documentation.

For global installation via composer you can use composer global require. Do not forget add ~/.composer/vendor/bin into your $PATH.

Also you can just clone zephir repository and run ./install. For global installation add -c flag.

Additional notes on Ubuntu

The following packages are needed in Ubuntu:

  • apt-get install re2c libpcre3-dev


Compile the extension:

./bin/zephir compile

External Links


Zephir is open-sourced software licensed under the MIT License. See the LICENSE file for more information.


See for details about contributions to this repository.

Current Build Status

Zephir is built under Travis CI service. Every commit pushed to this repository will queue a build into the continuous integration service and will run all PHPUnit tests to ensure that everything is going well and the project is stable. The current build status is:

  • Linux: Build Status
  • Windows: Build Status