Photon is a high-efficiency app framework, based on a set of carefully selected C++ libs.

Our goal is to make programs run as fast and lightweight as the photon particle, which exactly is the name came from.


  • Coroutine lib (support multi-core)
  • Async event engine, natively integrated into coroutine scheduling (support epoll or io_uring)
  • Multiple I/O engines: psync, posix_aio, libaio, io_uring
  • Multiple socket implementations: tcp (level-trigger/edge-trigger), unix-domain, zero-copy, libcurl, TLS support, etc.
  • A full functionality HTTP client/server (even faster than Nginx)
  • A simple RPC client/server
  • A POSIX-like filesystem abstraction and some implementations: local fs, http fs, fuse fs, etc.
  • A bunch of useful tools: io-vector manipulation, resource pool, object cache, mem allocator, callback delegator, pre-compiled logging, ring buffer, etc.

While Photon has already encapsulated many mature OS functionalities, it remains keen to the latest kernel features, and prepared to wrap them into the framework. It is a real killer in the low level programing field.


1. IO

Compare Photon and fio when reading an NVMe raw device.

Note that fio only enables 1 job (process).

IO Engine IO Type IO Size IO Depth DirectIO QPS Throughput CPU util
Photon io_uring Rand-read 4KB 128 Yes 433K 1.73GB 100%
Photon libaio Rand-read 4KB 128 Yes 346K 1.38GB 100%
fio libaio Rand-read 4KB 128 Yes 279K 1.11GB 100%

Conclusion: Photon is faster than fio under this circumstance.

2. Network

2.1 TCP

Compare Photon and boost::asio when running as TCP echo servers.

Set up 16 clients, with 16 connections per client, to give the maximum stress.

Concurrency Model Buffer Size QPS Bandwidth CPU util
Photon Photon Stackful Coroutine 4KB 502K 15.3Gb 100%
boost::asio + async_simple C++20 Stackless Coroutine 4KB 201K 6.4Gb 100%
boost::asio Async + Callback 4KB 269K 6.8Gb 100%


  • boost::asio is a typical async + callback framework, which means you are not able to write sync style code.
  • The async_simple project managed to integrate C++20 stackless coroutine into boost::asio.
  • Photon’s coroutine is stackful.

2.2 HTTP

Compare Photon and Nginx when serving static files, using Apache Bench(ab) as client.

Note that Nginx only enables 1 worker (process).

File Size QPS CPU util
Photon 4KB 114K 100%
Nginx 4KB 97K 100%

Conclusion: Photon is faster than Nginx under this circumstance.


1. Install dependencies

CentOS 8.5

dnf install gcc-c++ epel-release cmake
dnf install openssl-devel libcurl-devel libaio-devel fuse-devel libgsasl-devel krb5-devel

Ubuntu 20.04

apt install cmake
apt install libssl-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libaio-dev libfuse-dev libgsasl7-dev libkrb5-dev

2. Build from source

mkdir build && cd build
cmake ..
make -j

All the libs and executables will be saved in build/output.

3. Testing

# CentOS
dnf config-manager --set-enabled PowerTools
dnf install gtest-devel gmock-devel gflags-devel
# Ubuntu
apt install libgtest-dev libgmock-dev libgflags-dev

cmake -D BUILD_TESTING=1 ..
make -j


See the example about how to write a Photon program.


Welcome to contribute!


Photon is released under the Apache License, Version 2.0.


View Github