Wednesday, June 12, 2024

PHP Update (a Big One) Due Soon

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PHP 5.3 could be out as soon as Tuesday June 30th. The new open source language release is a big deal for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that by my count this is the first major update to PHP since 2006 and the PHP 5.2 release.

PHP 5.3 is also interesting in that it includes at least one key feature that was originally intended for PHP 6 (whenever — if ever — that release will be out).

I spoke with Zeev Suraski, co-founder and CTO at commercial PHP vendor Zend Technologies last month about PHP 5.3. He noted that one key feature backported from PHP 6 into PHP 5.3 is namespaces, which is a way to encapsulate classes and other PHP items more easily.

While the official release is on June 30th, support for PHP 5.3 is already present in development tools from Eclipse released this week.

The Eclipse Galileo release include the PHP Development Tools 2.1 (PDT)
application which has PHP 5.3 support. Zend which backs the PDT effort,
now has a commercial tool in beta that builds on the PDT 2.1 release as

Zend Studio 7.0
is currently in Beta and according to Zend also includes new enhanced
source code editing for PHP as well as improved integration with the
Zend Framework. By my count, the Zend Studio 7.0 beta is the first
major upgrade to Zend Studio and a year and half when Zend pushed out
its first IDE based on Eclipse.

The new PHP 5.3 release is coming at a critical time for the PHP
community in my opinion. It is continuing to face pressure on the web
development side from Ruby and in the enterprise space, .NET and Java
are evolving themselves as well.

Why PHP 6 has not been released yet is a question that I ask PHP
language developers often and regularly. While PHP 5.3 is not the big
evolution that PHP 6 might end up being, PHP 5.3 is likely a key
incremental step in the evolution of PHP.

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