Learn how to install our libraries with Composer and get started with important concepts for concurrent PHP.

It may surprise people to learn that the PHP standard library already has everything we need to write event-driven and non-blocking applications. PHP 8.1 ships with fibers built-in.

Our packages can be installed as Composer dependencies on PHP 8 and later, e.g.

composer require amphp/amp


Transitive dependencies of our packages are not part of the public API. If you make use of transitive dependencies, declare them also in the composer.json file of your own package.

composer-require-checker helps you finding packages you implicitly rely on.

In addition to fibers, our packages heavily rely on the Revolt event-loop for scheduling concurrent operations. If you want to schedule low-level events instead of using higher-level abstractions, such as timers or I/O callbacks, you should declare a dependency on the Revolt event-loop for your package.

composer require revolt/event-loop

Applications with many concurrent file descriptors require one of the extensions.

Hello World

Let’s start into the world of concurrent PHP with an example that illustrates important aspects. We will print a greeting message to our console, but instead of printing the whole message at once, we’ll use two coroutines to print the message in chunks with delays.

<?php // hello-world.php

require __DIR__ . '/vendor/autoload.php';

use Amp\Future;
use function Amp\async;
use function Amp\delay;

$future1 = async(function () {
    echo 'Hello ';

    // delay() is a non-blocking version of PHP's sleep() function,
    // which only pauses the current fiber instead of blocking the whole process.

    echo 'the future! ';

$future2 = async(function () {
    echo 'World ';

    // Let's pause for only 1 instead of 2 seconds here,
    // so our text is printed in the correct order.

    echo 'from ';

// Our functions have been queued, but won't be executed until the event-loop gains control.
echo "Let's start: ";

// Awaiting a future outside a fiber switches to the event loop until the future is complete.
// Once the event loop gains control, it executes our already queued functions we've passed to async()

echo PHP_EOL;
Let's start: Hello World from the future!

We’ve seen that we can pause a coroutine for some time, and while we’re waiting, another coroutine can run and make use of the CPU. We have used Amp\delay instead of PHP’s sleep function to avoid blocking the whole process.

But what does blocking the whole process look like? Try swapping the delay calls with sleep calls and run the example again, you’ll observe different behavior! This happens, because blocking functions block the whole process instead of letting other coroutines run while waiting. Blocking functions include sleep, usleep, fwrite, fread and most other built-in functions doing I/O.

It’s important to avoid using blocking functions in concurrent code, such as sleep, usleep, fwrite, fread and other built-in functions doing I/O. We offer a great variety of non-blocking I/O implementations you can use instead.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the architecture of concurrent applications.