Become Zend Certified

Prepare for the ZCE exam using our quizzes (web or iPad/iPhone). More info...

When you're ready get 7.5% off your exam voucher using voucher CJQNOV23 at the Zend Store

How can I eliminate unnecessary require_once statements?

Lazy loading is an optimization technique designed to push the expensive operation of loading a class file until the last possible moment -- i.e., when instantiating an object of that class, calling a static class method, or referencing a class constant or static property. PHP supports this via autoloading, which allows you to define one or more callbacks to execute in order to map a class name to a file.

However, most benefits you may reap from autoloading are negated if your library code is still performing require_once() calls -- which is precisely the case with Zend Framework. So, the question is: how can you eliminate those require_once() calls in order to maximize autoloader performance?

Strip require_once calls with find and sed

An easy way to strip require_once() calls is to use the UNIX utilities 'find' and 'sed' in conjunction to comment out each call. Try executing the following statements (where '%' indicates the shell prompt):

% cd path/to/ZendFramework/library
% find . -name '*.php' -not -wholename '*/Loader/Autoloader.php' \
  -not -wholename '*/Application.php' -print0 | \
  xargs -0 sed --regexp-extended --in-place 's/(require_once)/\/\/ \1/g'

This one-liner (broken into two lines for readability) iterates through each PHP file and tells it to replace each instance of 'require_once' with '// require_once', effectively commenting out each such statement. (It selectively keeps require_once() calls within Zend_Application and Zend_Loader_Autoloader, as these classes will fail without them.)

This command could be added to an automated build or release process trivially, helping boost performance in your production application. It should be noted, however, that if you use this technique, you must utilize autoloading; you can do that from your "public/index.php" file with the following code:

require_once 'Zend/Loader/Autoloader.php';

Zend Framework