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PHP : Function Reference : PHP bytecode Compiler

PHP bytecode Compiler



This extension is EXPERIMENTAL. The behaviour of this extension -- including the names of its functions and anything else documented about this extension -- may change without notice in a future release of PHP. Use this extension at your own risk.

Bcompiler was written for several reasons:

To encode entire script in a proprietary PHP application
To encode some classes and/or functions in a proprietary PHP application
To enable the production of php-gtk applications that could be used on client desktops, without the need for a php.exe.
To do the feasibility study for a PHP to C converter

The first of these goals is achieved using the bcompiler_write_header(), bcompiler_write_file() and bcompiler_write_footer() functions. The bytecode files can be written as either uncompressed or plain. To use the generated bytecode, you can simply include it with include or require statements.

The second of these goals is achieved using the bcompiler_write_header(), bcompiler_write_class(), bcompiler_write_footer(), bcompiler_read(), and bcompiler_load() functions. The bytecode files can be written as either uncompressed or plain. The bcompiler_load() reads a bzip compressed bytecode file, which tends to be 1/3 of the size of the original file.

To create EXE type files, bcompiler has to be used with a modified sapi file or a version of PHP which has been compiled as a shared library. In this scenario, bcompiler reads the compressed bytecode from the end of the exe file.

bcompiler can improve performance by about 30% when used with uncompressed bytecodes only. But keep in mind that uncompressed bytecode can be up to 5 times larger than the original source code. Using bytecode compression can save your space, but decompression requires much more time than parsing a source. bcompiler also does not do any bytecode optimization, this could be added in the future...

In terms of code protection, it is safe to say that it would be impossible to recreate the exact source code that it was built from, and without the accompanying source code comments. It would effectively be useless to use the bcompiler bytecodes to recreate and modify a class. However it is possible to retrieve data from a bcompiled bytecode file - so don't put your private passwords or anything in it.


short installation note:

  • You need at least PHP 4.3.0 for the compression to work
  • To install on PHP 4.3.0 and later at the Unix command prompt type pear install bcompiler
  • To install on Windows, until the binary package distribution mechanism is finished please search the archives of the pear-general mailing list for pre-built packages. (or send an email to it if you could not find a reference)
  • To install on older versions you need to make some slight changes to the build.
  • untar the bcompiler.tgz archive into php4/ext.(Get it directly from PECL
  • If the new directory is now called something like bcompiler-0.x, then you should rename it to bcompiler (except you only want to build it as self-contained php-module).
  • If you are using versions before PHP 4.3.0, the you will need to copy the to and config.m4.old to config.m4.
  • run phpize in ext/bcompiler
  • run ./buildconf in php4
  • run configure with --enable-bcompiler (and your other options)
  • make; make install
  • that's it.

Contact Information

If you have comments, bugfixes, enhancements or want to help developing this beast, you can drop me a mail at Any help is very welcome.

Table of Contents

bcompiler_load_exe — Reads and creates classes from a bcompiler exe file
bcompiler_load — Reads and creates classes from a bz compressed file
bcompiler_parse_class — Reads the bytecodes of a class and calls back to a user function
bcompiler_read — Reads and creates classes from a filehandle
bcompiler_write_class — Writes an defined class as bytecodes
bcompiler_write_constant — Writes a defined constant as bytecodes
bcompiler_write_exe_footer — Writes the start pos, and sig to the end of a exe type file
bcompiler_write_file — Writes a php source file as bytecodes
bcompiler_write_footer — Writes the single character \x00 to indicate End of compiled data
bcompiler_write_function — Writes an defined function as bytecodes
bcompiler_write_functions_from_file — Writes all functions defined in a file as bytecodes
bcompiler_write_header — Writes the bcompiler header
bcompiler_write_included_filename — Writes an included file as bytecodes

Code Examples / Notes » ref.bcompiler


Regarding alan at akbkhome dot com's note:
Not only __FILE__ will be handled differently; same for errors thrown by PHP:
If the file was compiled from a another file (bcompiler_write_file()), then PHP will blame the original filename - looks very strange when you put a file which was compiled under Windows on an UNIX system.
If the file was compiled by bcompiler_write_[class|constant|function](), error messages will contain the filename of the file which has called these functions.


PHP seems to choke on trying to compile PHP5 classes with the private, protected or public modifiers. Additionally, when including files with properly compiled classes on PHP5, it works fine but when php tries to exit it throws a segmentation fault.
It's just not a great idea to use bcompiler for anything other than functions on PHP5, at least for now.


the special constant __FILE__ cannot be handled correctly by bcompiler (it will always contain the name of the original file that was compiled). There is no known way around this, as it is converted to a string by the Zend engine.


Here's a script to act as a front-end for bcompiler, which may be very similar to the eA ones:
BENCODER v1.1 - Encode your PHP script using bcompiler
Usage: bencoder [-f] -o FILE    file1.php
      bencoder [-f] -o OUTDIR  file1.php file2.php ...
      bencoder [-f] -o OUTDIR  -a SRCDIR  [-s SUFFIX] [-c] [-r]
 -f        : force overwriting even if the target exists
 -o FILE   : the file name to write the encoded script
             (default to '-encoded.php' suffix)
 -o OUTDIR : the directory to write all encoded files
 -a SRCDIR : encode all files in this source directory
 -s SUFFIX : encode the files with the SUFFIX extension only (default: php)
 -c        : copy files those shouldn't be encoded (no by default)


hello guys, since bencoder don't work for __FILE__ constants i have a bcompiler script working, anyone that want it can send me an email
the source is 100% compatible with original file, the only problem is php5 new function methods that
if (!function_exists('function_name')){
function function_name()
don't work but it's a php5 new method for understand bytecode


Creating a function after checking if a function exists using function_exists will result in a "Zero Sized Reply" error.
this does NOT work any longer:
if (!function_exists("file_get_contents")) {
       function file_get_contents($filename, $use_include_path = 0)
       { ...define your own function here... }
Apache returns: "Zero Sized Reply" after compilation.

albert kok

A few notes to succesfully configure PHP5 to load bcompiler.
In case of using Debian/Ubuntu Linux: When installing from the PECL (PEAR) package, make sure you have the php5-dev library installed in your system (apt-get install php5-dev).
Newer versions of Ubuntu may error out while installing bcompiler thru PECL, asking you to reinstall bzip2. This will not fix the installation. Instead, install the libbz2-dev library (apt-get install libbz2-dev) and try installing bcompiler from PECL again.
After installing bcompiler from PECL, don't forget to make sure you load the library in your PHP configuration for the new bcompiler functions to become available. This is done by adding the following line to the bottom of your php.ini file(s):
If you were to use the bcompiler functions thru your webserver, you need to restart it to reload the php configuration.
Albert Kok


>the special constant __FILE__ cannot be handled correctly by bcompiler
> (it will always contain the name of the original file that was compiled).
I would think that this is the preferred behavior anyways since the compilation should be independent from the source code.  I would want to be able to compile any part of my source code without having to worry if any constants will change as a result of it.  Hence it is better for __FILE__ to contain the name of the original file that was compiled.

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