The thoughts, opinions and sometimes the rants of Mark Evans

PHP 5.3 and the Future

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One of the topics at the front of my mind at the moment is PHP 5.3 and how I should be handling it with applications I write on a day to day basis.

It has not escaped my attention that a number of frameworks are requiring PHP 5.3+ some noticeable ones that I use or intend to use are

  • Pear2
  • Doctrine 2.0
  • Symfony 2.0
  • Zend Framework 2.0

With this comes a number of new features such as namespaces (view a complete list of changes in the Migration Guide) which I would love to start using in my own code. Whilst most of the code I write is fully forward compatible with PHP 5.3 taking advantage of the new features is where I would like to be aiming.

For the commercial applications where I am (or the customer is) in control of the environment this is a pretty simple thing to achieve. Where it becomes more difficult is when you want an application to be installable anywhere as shared hosting companies are still a long way behind.

I can understand the reasons for this as they have potentially thousands of end users to support with all sorts of different applications installed which could potentially break. It does leave application developers in a bit of a pickle though, wanting to take advantage of the latest features whilst still appealing to the large user base which open-source software attracts. I am sure most people remember the GoPHP5 campaign.

I thought I would throw some questions out there to the community to see if anyone has any thoughts:

  1. How can the migration path for shared hosting companies be made easier?
  2. If you were writing a new open-source application would you go purely 5.3+?
  3. Do you know of any other open-source applications requiring 5.3+?

Any feedback is gratefully received.