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Low-level PHP binding for libvips

This extension lets you use the libvips image processing library from PHP 7.

This is not supposed to be used directly! Install this, then use php-vips to layer a nice (and documented!) API on top of this extension.

libvips is fast and needs little memory. The vips-php-bench repository tests php-vips against imagick and gd: on that test, and on my laptop, php-vips is around four times faster than imagick and needs 10 times less memory.


#!/usr/bin/env php

$x = vips_image_new_from_file($argv[1])["out"];
$x = vips_call("invert", $x)["out"];
vips_image_write_to_file($x, $argv[2]);

Almost all operations return an array of result values. Usually there is a single result called "out".

Use vips_call() to call any operation in the vips library. There are around around 300 operations available, see the vips docs for an introduction:

Arguments can be long, double, image, array of long, array of double or array of image. The final argument to vips_call() is an array of operation options.

php-vips layers a nice API, including full docs, on top of this extension, see:


First install the libvips library. It will be in your package manager on linux, it's in brew and MacPorts on macOS, or the vips website has Windows binaries.

Next, install this extension:

$ pecl install vips

And add:

to your php.ini.

Finally, add vips to your composer.json to pull in the high-level PHP API.

    "require": {
            "jcupitt/vips" : "1.0.0"

The high-level API has all the documentation, see:

Development: preparation

PHP is normally built for speed and is missing a lot of debugging support you need for extension development. For testing and dev, build your own php. I used 7.0.11 and configured with:

$ ./configure --prefix=/home/john/vips --enable-debug --enable-maintainer-zts \
    --enable-cgi --enable-cli --with-readline --with-openssl --with-zlib \
    --with-gd --with-jpeg-dir=/usr --with-libxml-dir=/usr --enable-mbstring 

You'll need libvips 8.2 or later, including all the headers for development. On linux, install with your package manager. On macOS, install with brew or MacPorts. For Windows, download a zip from the libvips website, or build your own.

Development: regenerate build system

$ pear package

To make vips-1.0.12.tgz.

To install by hand:

$ phpize

To scan config.m4 and your php install and regenerate the build system.

Development: configure


$ ./configure 

Check the output carefully for errors, and obviously check that it found your libvips.

Development: make, test and install


$ make

To build the module to the modules/ directory in this repository.

Don't post php-vips test results to! Stop this with:


Test with:

$ make test

Finally, install to your php extensions area with:

$ make install

Add to php.ini, perhaps in ~/vips/lib/php.ini, if you configured php as above.

Development: regenerate vips_arginfo.h


$ curl -LO
$ php gen_stub.php