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PHP.net:
New Supported Versions Timeline Page
October 29, 2014 @ 11:18:40

The PHP.net website has introduced a new feature to help make it a bit clearer which versions of PHP are supported and which have reached their end-of-life mark. This new Supported versions page off the main site provides listings of currently supported versions and graphical timelines of past (and future) support milestones.

Each release branch of PHP is fully supported for two years from its initial stable release. During this period, bugs and security issues that have been reported are fixed and are released in regular point releases. After this two year period of active support, each branch is then supported for an additional year for critical security issues only. Releases during this period are made on an as-needed basis: there may be multiple point releases, or none, depending on the number of reports.

The page includes information on when the initial release in a series was made (like the 5.4.x or 5.5.x series), when active support did/will end and how long the timeline is for security fixes and support. As of the time of this post, PHP 5.3.x is the only series that has reached end-of-life, but the 5.4.x series is coming close being in security fix only mode now and EOL-ing completely in ten months.

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version support timeline page phpnet release bugfix security

Link: http://php.net/supported-versions.php

Pascal Martin:
PHP Version Statistics - October 2014
October 28, 2014 @ 11:23:13

Pascal Martin's latest post (in French, but the English version is coming soon) shares some statistics he's gathered around the usage of various software around the web, more specifically those involved in web-based applications.

I've collected statistics about the use of different PHP versions several times. The first time was in September 2011 and the most recent was in November 2013. At this point, PHP 5.2 still accounted for 34.4% of all PHP installations with PHP 5.3 moving up to 48.7%. This new data was collected the weekend of October 19th, 2014. At this point, the current stable versions of PHP are 5.4.34, 5.5.18 and 5.6.2. PHP 5.3 is no longer maintained (since August 14th 2014) and PHP 5.2 hasn't been supported for 4 years now.

He's broken up the statistics into a few different sections:

  • Web server software
  • Usage of major versions of PHP
  • Usage of minor versions of PHP
  • Versions in use under each of the major version numbers

He includes both the raw numbers (percentages) and some graphs showing the results in a bit more consumable fashion. It's interesting to see that, despite it being quite an old version now, PHP 5.3.x still has the largest share in the usage results.

UPDATE: He's posted the English version now as well.

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usage statistics oct2014 version major minor webserver

Link: http://blog.pascal-martin.fr/post/statistiques-versions-php-2014-10

Rafael Dohms:
Installing Composer Packages
October 14, 2014 @ 12:04:58

Maybe you've heard about Composer and how it makes working with PHP libraries and packages easier. There's lots of articles (besides the project documentation) that can help you get started but Rafael Dohms has just shared an excellent overview of versioning and the features the tool makes available to fine tune your requirements to just the right level.

I have been putting together a new talk about Composer, and that means looking around the community, doing loads of research and trying to identify the items that need to be covered in a talk. Mostly I have been trying to identify things that people do on a regular basis that according to composer internals is either wrong or not ideal. One such thing that I have found is the proper selection of versions, and that also led me to find a new feature in composer that makes everyone's life so much easier. So let me break this down.

He starts with a look at the selection of the actual version you'll need and how Composer treats each type of version match (strict vs wildcards vs a mix of the two). He shows an example of adding one of these version strings to a "composer,json" file, both manually and via a command line call.

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composer version package require install tutorial

Link: http://blog.doh.ms/2014/10/13/installing-composer-packages/

Lorna Mitchell:
How to Choose PHP Hosting
October 10, 2014 @ 09:15:36

Lorna Mitchell has a new post today sharing some helpful hints to help you pick a good PHP hosting provider for your next application or website.

I've been thinking a lot about the state of hosting in PHP lately, mostly as a result of working with a few different clients on their setups (including one that bought brand new hosting a month ago and got a PHP 5.3.3 platform), and also being at DrupalCon and meeting a community who is about to make a big change to their minimum requirements. With that in mind, here are my thoughts and tips on choosing hosting.

She starts off with one of the bigger criteria she looks for in a host: the minimum PHP version available (some might have more than one, especially some PaaS). She suggests that even things like PHP 5.3 should be considered too old and should be passed over in favor of newer releases like 5.5 or even 5.6. She then talks about some of the benefits that come from using a newer platform and the current levels of adoption and performance by PHP version. Finally, she includes an unofficial list of hosts that have set themselves out as good, solid PHP-friendly providers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

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choose hosting provider paas dedicated version performance

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/how-to-choose-php-hosting

SitePoint PHP Blog:
How to Use PHPbrew and VirtPHP
October 06, 2014 @ 13:08:41

Phil Sturgeon has written up a new tutorial for the SitePoint PHP blog showing you how to use PHPbrew and VirtPHP to be able to work with more than one PHP version on the same system.

We've all been in the situation where we have one version installed. Maybe that version is whatever came installed on our operating system. Maybe it is a version bundled into MAMP/WAMP/XAMPP. How do you go about switching that PHP version? How do you switch to one version, then switch back again? How do you go about switching that version of PHP, but only for one single application on your computer? The Ruby and Python communities have had tools for dealing with this for years. PHP has them now too, but there was nowhere near enough fanfare.

He starts with PHPbrew and walks you through a basic install and configuration of a version of PHP 5.6.0. He shows how to add extension support and switch between the different PHP versions at will. Next comes the look at VirtPHP, a similar system that takes a little bit different approach. It creates "environments" that contain the PHP version to a bit more isolated setup. With an environment created, VirtPHP lets you install PECL extensions without changing anything globally. He ends the post with a comparison to how most developers (developing locally) handle their setup and mentions Vagrant, but notes that it may be a bit much for the solo developer.

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virtphp phpbrew tutorial multiple version install configure

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/use-phpbrew-virtphp/

HHVM Blog:
HHVM Long Term Support
September 03, 2014 @ 10:50:20

The HHVM (HipHop VM from Facebook) has released an update on their blog today discussing some of the long term support they plan to provide for the project and what kinds of things it will involve.

HHVM is known for its very intense and quick development pace: currently we ship to GitHub the exact same code we use to run the Facebook site within minutes of every commit, and we release a full version every 8 weeks. That is great and at the same time scary if you are trying to build a business or infrastructure around it. The HHVM team at Facebook understands that in order to reach every corner of the PHP landscape our users need to have some sort of commitment, in order to plan their deployments accordingly and to know how upstream will react to security and stability fixes in already released versions, for example.

Starting with HHVM v3.3, they'll be supporting two major versions at all times. They provide a table of versions and dates to give you an idea of when the support coverage period is and when they'll end. There's also some discussions about the packaged released for the various linux distributions and what kinds of updates might be included in the long-term support (LTS) updates.

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hhvm support hiphop virtualmachine schedule longterm version

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/6083/hhvm-long-term-support

Stanislav Malyshev:
PHP 5.4 (Looking Back) & 5.6 (Looking Forward)
September 01, 2014 @ 09:42:13

In two new posts to his site Stanislav Malyshev takes a look both forward and back at the PHP language, where it came from in the 5.4 version and ahead into the just released 5.6 version discussing the good, bad and road ahead.

With 5.6.0 having been released and 5.4 branch nearing its well-earned retirement in security-fixes-only status I decided to try and revive this blog. As the last post before the long hiatus was about the release of the 5.4, I think it makes sense to look back and see how 5.4 has been doing so far.

Having taken a look in the past, now it's time to look into the future, namely 5.6 (PHP 7 is the future future, we'll get there eventually). So I'd like to make some predictions of what would work well and not so well and then see if it would make sense in two years or turn out completely wrong.

In the look back at 5.4 he talks about some of the good (the release process, $this in closures) and some of the "not so good" including traits and the overall adoption rate. He also includes a few "don't know" items such as the overall performance and the inclusion of the mysqlnd driver. In the look forward he talks about the impact of things like constant expressions, phpdbg and function/constant importing (for better or for worse). He also briefly mentions two hurdles to the adoption of 5.6: OpenSSL becoming more strict and the overall adoption rate.

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lookforward lookback opinion version good bad

Link: http://php100.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/php-5-6-looking-forward/

Derick Rethans:
On Backwards Compatibility and not Being Evil
August 22, 2014 @ 09:20:55

Derick Rethans has shared some of his thoughts on how to not be evil when it comes to making changes in languages like PHP. He suggests that any backwards compatibility break should be treated with the weight it deserves and not just thrust upon users.

This is a repost of an email I sent to PHP internals as a reply to: "And since you're targetting[sic] the next major release, BC isn't an issue." This sort of blanket statements that "Backwards Compatibility is not an issue" with a new major version is extremely unwarranted. Extreme care should be taken when deciding to break Backwards Compatibility. It should not be "oh we have a major new version so we can break all the things"

He talks about the two kinds of backwards compatibility breaks: obvious things where features are removed or changed in a major way and subtle changes in how the underlying code for PHP works ("subtle changes"). He points out that most of the frustrations from users comes from the second type, making for a slower adoption rate and maybe not even adopting at all.

Can I please urge people to not take Backwards Compatibility issues so lightly. Please think really careful when you suggest to break Backwards Compatibility, it should only be considered if there is a real and important reason to do so.
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evil backwards compatibility break major version opinion

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/bc-dont-be-evil.html

Lorna Mitchell:
Running Multiple Versions of PHP
August 20, 2014 @ 09:28:57

In the latest post to her site Lorna Mitchell has posted a helpful hint on how you can run multiple versions of PHP at once, mostly how to get the latest version without messing up your current install.

When I advise people about upgrading their PHP version, I say things like "just run your test suite with the new version" "just grab the new version and try your site with the built-in webserver". A couple of people recently have asked for more detail on how to actually achieve these things so here's a quick primer on getting new PHP without touching anything to do with your existing PHP installation.

You'll need a bit of knowledge around compiling software to get the job done, so if you're only used to aptget-ing or yum-ing you might be a little lost. She does include all the commands you'll need including the special "prefix" flag on configure telling it to put PHP in a different location than normal. She also includes a brief test to ensure that it's all up and working (using the built-in web server).

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multiple version language tutorial installation

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/running-multiple-versions-of-php

PHPClasses.org:
PHP 7 Features and Release Date
August 04, 2014 @ 12:54:58

As Manuel Lemos mentions in his most recent blog post the official name for the next major release of the PHP language has been decided...and no, it's not PHP 6. Based on the results of this vote, the next major version will start off the PHP 7 series.

Manuel talks about some of the reasoning behind skipping over the PHP 6 naming and how it's possible that the PHPNG branch could become the base for PHP 7. Some of the improvements in this release could include:

  • Huge Performance Improvements
  • JIT (Just In Time) Engine
  • AST: Abstract Syntax Tree

As it stands now, there's no predicted release date for PHP 7, but guesses put it between one to three years out, depending on the functionality it plans to include.

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php6 php7 language update major version release

Link: http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/242-PHP-7-Features-and-Release-Date.html


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