On December 3rd, the PHP Group released version 7.0.0 of the 20-year old scripting language that powers an enormous number of web applications. This new version has been in development for over two years, and follows the troubled development of PHP 6, which suffered from Unicode problems and had several features implemented into earlier versions of PHP as development of PHP 6 treaded water. Though there was never a stable release of PHP 6, the PHP Group skipped to 7 to avoid confusion due to 6’s bad reputation.
Some of the improvements of PHP 7 include:
- Reduced memory usage, estimated to lead to a 100% performance speed increase in most applications.
- Consistent 64-bit support.
- Removal of outdated and unsupported SAPIs and PHP extensions.
- Anonymous classes.
- An update of the Zend Engine to version 3.0 to interpret PHP code.
- An internal Abstract Syntax Tree for static analysis.
- Emoji support.
You can find a full list of features at the PHP manual.
According to the language's creator, Rasmus Lerdorf, there should be no problems migrating from any version of PHP from 5 on, and has provided a manual on the PHP site. Both Zend and Symfony have announced PHP 7 support for their respective frameworks as well. You can find source downloads of PHP 7.0.0 at this link.
It’s clear PHP has improved, but will you be updating any time soon? Let us know in the comments!