Movin’ on up to PHP5

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

The PHP group has announced end of support for PHP4 and encouraging everyone to move on up to PHP5.

WordPress Matt isn’t happy with PHP5 and believes such a move should happen when PHP6 goes beta. I think the point really is that the PHP group can’t move forward on PHP6, while still trapped in support for PHP4.

I’m actually not unhappy at PHP5, though I do still tend to develop in PHP4 mindset. In Matt’s comments, Michael Moncur wrote:

I think every language reaches a point in its development where it’s “good enough” – and it becomes popular. Advancing the language after that is often a matter strictly for the hardcore programmers and academics, and the versions they create after that point are rarely widely adopted.

I’m not sure what the solution is, but app developers shooting themselves in the foot is unlikely to be it.

Personally I’ve avoided upgrading to PHP5 mostly because PHP4 is “good enough” and runs the apps I need (and the ones I wrote myself). I guess I’ll eventually be dragged into the upgrade kicking and screaming like I was with Apache 2.0. And MySQL 5. And Perl 5 and 6. And…

If you want to talk about the king of slow upgrades, Apache 2.0 is the winner, by far. I never thought much about Perl because I rarely work with it nowadays. However, the MySQL upgrades have been drastically different. Each new version of MySQL brings with it desperately needed and wanted functionality. I think the only hold back on upgrades with this database is how ubiquitous it is, and how hesitant people are with using ‘new’ database releases.

My hosted environment is running PHP5 and MySQL 5, and my main development machine, the last of the Powerbook G4s, runs Apache 2, PHP5, and MySQL 5 (installed via Darwin/Mac Ports). For the most part, I’ve not had any software that required earlier versions of any of these applications. Whatever I work on for my own amusement and interest works for PHP5 and MySQL 5; I don’t test with earlier versions. Good or bad, that’s a choice I made with host and with my own setup (I could run multiple versions for testing, but I don’t choose to). For my contract work, I’ll work in whatever environment I’m given.

The Go PHP5 effort should help make the point that apps need to move forward. Matt may think the site is corny, and that PHP4 being dropped is a no story, and that PHP5 is awful/nasty, but the news release and the site get the point across–like it or not, PHP4 is going away.

Now, if we can only make earlier versions of IE–such as IE 6.x–vanish, I would be happy.

Bonus link: PHP MVC Frameworks and their PHP4/PHP5 compatibility.