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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

Phil Sturgeon:
The Neverending Muppet Debate of PHP 6 v PHP 7
July 24, 2014 @ 10:18:14

Phil Sturgeon has posted about something he calls the "neverending muppet debate of PHP 6 versus PHP 7. As the PHP language moves forward, the PHP 5.x series is coming to a close. The discussion as started up whether to name it "PHP 6" or "PHP 7" and both sides have their proponents.

There are a few major, important conversations happening in the PHP internals mailing list as we speak: The Facebook lot heading up a specification based off of PHP 5.6 Should phpng be moved into master to be the base of the next major PHP version How can we best go about scalar typehinting? There is also another conversation: Should it be PHP 6 or PHP 7 Wait... what?

He goes on to provide a little context, pointing out that back in 2010 PHP 6 was being slated for release as the next major version of the language (this was around the PHP 5.2 days). Unfortunately, it stalled out and some of what was planned went into PHP 5.3. This didn't stop publishers from releasing books and articles about "PHP 6" though. It's already being put up for a vote with "PHP 7" pulling ahead. Phil also includes more context around the discussions, sharing the main points of each side and snippets from the RFC and mailing list thread currently ongoing.

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debate php6 php7 naming internals rfc version

Link: http://philsturgeon.uk/blog/2014/07/neverending-muppet-debate-of-php-6-v-php-7

HHVM Blog:
HHVM 3.1.0
May 30, 2014 @ 11:56:54

On the HHVM blog today they've announce the release of the latest version of the popular project, version 3.1.0. This version fixes a few issues (including a segfault) and crossed into their semi-annual "lockdown" to work directly on the project.

If you remember last time we focused on framework unit tests, performance, and growing beards. This time, our frameworks were in good shape thanks to Fred and our Open Academy students, but our github story was not as pretty. At the start of lockdown we had 60 pull requests and nearly 450 issues. So our focus this time was github health and of course as always, perf.

In the end they closed out 251GitHub issues and made things 16% more efficient in the process. They list out some of the updates in this release including:

You can grab this latest release from the pre-build packages page on the GitHub project account.

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hiphop vm hhvm release version github issues

Link: http://hhvm.com/blog/5195/hhvm-3-1-0

Lorna Mitchell:
PHP 5.6 Benchmarks
May 19, 2014 @ 09:32:18

Lorna Mitchell has put together a set of benchmarks for PHP 5.6 comparing them to the three previous minor versions, PHP 5.5, 5.4 and 5.3 based around the same setup as her previous benchmarks of PHP 5.4.

A while ago I did some benchmarks on how different versions of PHP perform in comparison to one another. This isn't a performance measure in absolute terms, this was just benchmarking them all on the same laptop while it wasn't doing anything else, and averaging the time it took to run the benchmark script. Recently I ran it again for versions PHP 5.3 through PHP 5.6 and I thought I'd share my results.

There's a steady drop in execution time over the series of versions, with PHP 5.6 coming in the shortest. She also includes the actual numbers of the results in case you'd like to chart them out yourself.

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php56 benchmark previous version execution time

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/php-5-6-benchmarks

SitePoint PHP Blog:
Database Versioning with DBV
April 21, 2014 @ 11:11:45

In this new post to the SitePoint PHP blog today Wern Ancheta introduces you to a tool that can help with database versioning, DBV. DBV is a tool developed by Victor Stanciu and made available on GitHub.

It's good practice to always use a version control system in any of your projects. Be it a side-project in which you are the only developer, or a team project where five or more people are working on it together. But the idea of putting your database into version control isn't really that widespread. Often times we take the database for granted. But like the source files in our project, the database is constantly changing too. That's why we also need a way to track the changes that we have made and easily share it to other members of our team. In this article we will take a look at DBV, a database version control system written in PHP for MySQL databases so you need to have PHP and MySQL installed before you can use it, along with a web server like Apache or Nginx.

He steps you through the installation (via an installer and configuration through the "config.php" setup file. The system keeps track of lots of different changes including new tables, updated field descriptions, additional views, stored procedures and functions. He includes some screenshots of the UI and goes through the workflow of adding new tasks and syncing with a remote database server.

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database version tutorial dbv github

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/database-versioning-dbv/

PHPClasses.org:
Lately in PHP Podcast #45 - "The Security of Future PHP Versions"
March 13, 2014 @ 13:17:41

The latest episode of the "Lately in PHP" podcast series has been released by PHPClasses.org today - Episode 45, "The Security of Future PHP Versions".

As the plans for the upcoming PHP 5.6 and PHP 6 versions are being finalized, some of the proposals are about improving the security of these future PHP versions. That has been one of the main topics discussed by Manuel Lemos and César Rodas on the episode 45 of the Lately in PHP podcast. They also have talked about several other types of proposals and ideas for PHP 6, as well a tutorial on How to Use a Webcam to take Pictures in PHP Application.

You can listen to this latest episode in a few ways - either through the in-page audio player, by downloading the mp3 or you can watch the live recording over on YouTube.

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phpclasses latelyinphp ep45 security version future

Link: http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/229-The-Security-of-Future-PHP-Versions--Lately-in-PHP-podcast-episode-45.html

Andreas Gohr:
Docker PHP Farm
February 03, 2014 @ 10:05:19

In his latest post Andreas Gohr shares a platform he's developed using docker to create a multi-PHP version instance that can run locally with just a few commands.

Yesterday I tried to fix a bug a user had reported in one of my DokuWiki plugins. Apparently it only occurred on PHP 5.2. Well, the last PHP 5.2 version was released in 2011 and no modern distribution has it anymore. So how do I test this easily? After a few failed attempts with finding a virtual machine image that would give me the needed PHP version I decided to come up with my own solution. And because I was curious - I decided to build it on docker.

He's already done the hard work for you and created the "phpfarm" project that's easy to pull in and use. He includes the two commands to get it downloaded and up and working and running PHP versions 5.2 through 5.5 on ports 8052 to 8055. If you're interested in seeing his Dockerfile, check it out on Github.

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docker phpfarm version multiple container

Link: http://www.splitbrain.org/blog/2014-02/02-docker_phpfarm


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