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PHP 8.1.0

263 points12 hoursphp.net
firefoxd10 hours ago

I've been using PHP since 5.x. Often had to work on older 4.x web apps. I find it interesting when I read people saying "PHP has come a long way. It's a proper language now, etc."

If you work long enough with a language and figure out most its quirks, it's a breeze. It's nice that they are adding all these new features, but they are hardly what makes it or break it for me.

Here is the one features that is taken for granted in "modern stacks":

Edit file -> Alt+tab ctrl+R. Oops, Alt+tab fix -> Alt+tab ctrl+R.

When debugging I can do that 50 times a minute. With my react app, I can do it maybe 5 times a minute. With my golang app I'm lucky if I can do it twice a minute.

edgyquant5 hours ago

I worked with PHP solely for years and always thought the language was good for me but that it made it easy for codebases to go to shit. I’ve worked with half a dozen other languages now and have realized all codebases just suck for the individual because like all things people are heavily opinionated about how the code should be organized.

As for react, I work with a medium sized code base in the hundreds of thousands of lines and all I have to do is alt tab since it hot reloads for me. Don’t see how PHP is any better since it isn’t even hot reloading. Also with react I can update css and it doesn’t lose the state which is nice for debugging style changes.

echelon22 minutes ago

> When debugging I can do that 50 times a minute.

In interviewing, I've seen a few candidates re-run their application after making single statement changes. They'll rename a variable, re-run. Change a conditional, re-run. Introduce whitespace, re-run.

These people aren't even confident in renaming variables!

PHP enables this type of underestimation in your own abilities. You don't need to distrust yourself so much.

Don't think you have to do this.

butz9 hours ago

You can use a live reload tool, e.g. BrowserSync, to automatically refresh webpage after source file change. Put your browser on half of screen if you have big enough monitor, or even better - use dual screen setup. And if your IDE supports automatic saving, you are down to single step: "Edit file".

0x0nyandesu6 hours ago

That's still much slower with JavaScript. We use both in php land.

fourseventy10 hours ago

What monsterous golang app are you running that takes 30 seconds to compile?

bch9 hours ago

More interested in what meaningful fixes can be done in some fraction of the 1.2s RTT of this rapid-fire style PHP development.

fogihujy27 minutes ago

Output to html, meta refresh page every second. Pretty much real-time results.

the_gipsy8 hours ago

With a proper type system you don’t need to run your code 50 times a minute.

chubot8 hours ago

Code that passes type checks can also fail to solve the user's problem, make 10,000 database calls, or render a page that is completely unreadable.

The human in the loop is a good thing. All things being equal, the type system is also a good thing, but what usually happens is that you end up checking your page once a minute or once every 10 minutes, not 50 times in a minute. That difference can make or break a project.

lolinder7 hours ago

It depends a lot on what you're working on. If you are building a front end with PHP as your templating language, then yes, the ability to instantly see your changes is huge. In my experience, when working on back end, the difference isn't that significant because you really want to be using unit tests anyway, not constantly interacting with the front end to test your work. In those back end cases, having a strong type system makes a huge difference.

I'm working on a project that has a legacy PHP code base and a new JVM code base. What kind of naturally happened is that we end up doing most of our front end work in PHP and all of our new backend work on the JVM.

noduerme2 hours ago

I've rewritten a ton of legacy PHP services / page generation code into NodeJS over the last couple years. I know PHP inside-out and love it the way you love... um, something fugly like an old futon. It's really nice to be working in Typescript on both ends now, to have share modules and data models between server and client codebases. But one thing I do miss about PHP is not needing to make sure the server restarts on every backend code change. Nodemon and PM2 are both pretty good about this, but it's that one out of ten times they don't restart and I spend a minute or two wondering what I missed before realizing they didn't restart; happens a few times a week and drives me up the wall.

path4115 hours ago

Well php has strong typing built in now and they have been iterating on it every release. It's well ahead of native js. I can't imagine having any real complaints on using 8.x php for a back end these days.

bardan1 hour ago

I still dislike the constant $ and ->, today it just feels like extra typing. Otherwise I agree with you.

Implicated8 hours ago

As someone who isn't perfect, it's nice to be able to quickly iterate on ideas.

rbanffy8 hours ago

You still can. It’ll just stop you before you get to a running web application that may be doing something wrong with the data that goes through it.

smt888 hours ago

Iterating on ideas is much quicker when the compiler tells you when you made a mistake or failed to change your code after changing your mind.

+1
thevagrant7 hours ago
djbusby8 hours ago

Hello me! Nice to meet me!

smsm425 hours ago

I never seen any practical proof of that often repeated claim. Unless you define "proper" in an absurd way that has absence of bugs as the part of its definition, I've seen roughly as many bugs and as much time spent debugging in strongly typed languages as I have in weakly typed ones. Sure, some kinds of bugs go away, but they're replaced with different ones.

Lhiw8 hours ago

With a proper type system you can't.

What a useless thing to say. The ap is talking about a tight feedback loop and you decide to make a condescending comment about type systems. Go back to twitter.

didip1 hour ago

You can do this in Golang as well. Just put all of your business logic inside template/html.

makeitdouble8 hours ago

When working on PHP only I didn’t care at all for the quirks or missing features. When going back and forth with other languages, PHP getting better becomes a huge quality of life improvement, the mental load we need to keep gets much lower.

PHP has always been a powerful language where the burden of making it work properly 250% relies on the dev. Stuff like enums should significantly reduce that ratio, it’s a big deal I think.

On the debugging part, I found something like ruby’s pry to be the easiest and fastest option. I wish PHP had something similar.

flippinburgers4 hours ago

The idea that development in golang is slow is funny.

CodeWriter239 hours ago

Same folks say Perl is unreadable because the syntax for certain aspects of the language is unfamiliar to them.

throwamon9 hours ago

There might be more to it than that...

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19576425

rad_gruchalski5 hours ago

I just run go test. No need for alt+tab. Why reloading anything when testing the backend code?

emodendroket4 hours ago

Perhaps it's not a SPA but has traditional backend-side templates for pages.

throwaway8943452 hours ago

You don’t need to recompile for template updates.

wodenokoto8 hours ago

Going from PHP to jinja templates in python is also pretty terrible. But I guess that's more of a hobbyist problem, than large commercial web-app problem.

wutwutwutwut10 hours ago

Is oopsing 50 times per minute a good thing?

firefoxd9 hours ago

No, not just oops. I get to see the state of the entire application with different values.

selfhoster119 hours ago

If you're doing iterative development, why not.

0x0nyandesu6 hours ago

Less oops and more "let me try this out"

helloguillecl9 hours ago

Of course not, it is just a way to show how fast things can go with PHP.

goalieca8 hours ago

Once you throw that stuff in K8s, you’re back to 10seconds.

bovermyer8 hours ago

If I throw my dinner in K8s, will I get back filet mignon?

djbusby8 hours ago

Nope, you get Vienna sausage

rbanffy8 hours ago

Do you debug your apps in a K8s environment? Why?

throwaway8943452 hours ago

To be clear, I’m not saying this is a good reason, but I’ve been doing it lately because otherwise the browser security features prevent a local auth service from passing tokens to the backend app via the browser. I need to figure out a way around this because the iteration loop sucks; probably I’ll add a flag to disable auth on the backend app so I can test non-auth-things locally.

pachico10 hours ago

Everyone laughing at PHP hasn't tried it for years, I'd bet. It started clumsy, true, but it became a solid and quite elegant way of doing things.

And by things I don't mean just web development.

The current limitations I see in PHP is that there is not an official multi-core coroutines solution.

0x4d464d489 hours ago

"Everyone laughing at PHP hasn't tried it for years, I'd bet."

God I wish that was true...

It's not that the language is necessarrily bad. It's the sludge of legacy code I've had to deal with and teams treating it as the hammer for every problem that they think they must treat as a nail.

Efficency be damned.

Gigachad9 hours ago

One comment I heard at a programming meetup recently was "I hate how frameworks like laravel have brought PHP back in to popularity when we had the chance to finally kill it off".

I do wonder if there really was value in salvaging PHP when we have a wealth of other languages and frameworks that do a perfectly fine job without any of the legacy mistakes sitting around.

ipaddr7 hours ago

There isn't a language that can replace php in 2021. Javascript doesn't have the size of build-in library. Golang is compiled and limited, blank spaces/tabs will kill a Python program. Ruby /rails is slower. All are harder to host. What could you replace php with?

The tales of legacy mistakes holding back php are things with no basis in reality. What legacy mistake holds php back? Method names/parameter ordering?

When I started with php in 2001 those elite programmers at meetups were looking down at php because Java was cool. In 2003 those elite programmers thought php should die because asp took over. PHP kept going along quietly taking over the web until the facebook movie came out making PHP cool for a moment. Those elite programmers decided PHP was too mainstream and the why PHP sucked movement started. The elite guys moved to Ruby On Rails then node/MongoDB, angularjs, React, Nextjs leaving each ecosystem for the next hoping that one day they will strike gold.

nirui1 hour ago

> Javascript doesn't have the size of build-in library. Golang is compiled and limited, blank spaces/tabs will kill a Python program. Ruby /rails is slower.

I have once heard an ancient prophecy (I think it's Greek) that says "Debating around PHP online summons the ghost of the dark behind your back" or something like that (I don't speak Greek, sorry).

In the Client/Server world now days, the most of the time you only need one or two languages, one running on the Client side (JavaScript for example) and one running on the server (**, Go, Java, JavaScript etc).

In that setting, JavaScript comes with the hard advantage of both-end compatibility, that gives you something like Server-side Rendering, which no other backend-only language could do, at least not "natively". If you have a foundation this good, people will build the library themselves when the language/runtime don't have it built-in. (the same is true when it comes to Swift/Dart/Kotlin. I bet there is someone/company out there writing both their app and their backend in Swift/Kotlin)

For "backend-only" languages, it's largely down to personal/team preference. Some needs performance, some wants "write-friendly" (contains many factors). But the problem is, the market now days is saturated with better options that also do more things (often in a better way). When you bring all the options on the table, then suddenly that-language-the-name-we-shall-not-say started to look way less attractive.

It's just that, comparison/competition kills things, no elite required.

commanderkeen085 hours ago

Honest question: what are people using if not PHP? Node? Python? The 80% of us who aren’t FAANG and are writing CRUD apps. I’ve tried researching the pros/cons and all I get are low quality listicles.

Nobody can tell me why PHP is “bad” or what Python does that PHP can’t. Inconsistent params are the only argument I’ve heard. Which my IDE solves. What about JavaScript splice vs slice. I look it up every time.

Hasu3 hours ago

I write PHP for my job almost every day, and have for the past 4 years, and there's some truth to what you say: anything you can write in another language, you can also write in PHP.

Personally, I can't stand writing PHP, because, sure, I can write secure, testable, safe code in any language, including PHP, but, how do I say this, PHP is the only language that feels actively hostile to my attempts to do so. The house style at my current company could be boiled down to "Check 3 times that there are no PHP footguns present in this code. We have been burned before." The developer experience and tooling is far behind comparable languages. I feel like I have to put my sysadmin hat on to fix anything that goes wrong with my environment.

When I write Javascript or Python, I have complaints and issues, but I enjoy writing code. I think PHP, for many programmers, including myself, is just a hostile and unenjoyable experience. If you enjoy writing PHP, I have nothing against you and am certain you will remain employable, there's a lot of PHP out there.

> Honest question: what are people using if not PHP? Node? Python? The 80% of us who aren’t FAANG and are writing CRUD apps.

Python, Node, Java, .NET, Ruby. MVC CRUD apps are pretty similar in all of these (also in PHP). All of those languages (including PHP) power many many many software companies (including FAANG, who use a lot of Java and C++, and Facebook famously was built on PHP).

+1
nicce4 hours ago
+2
emodendroket4 hours ago
0x0nyandesu6 hours ago

I've been working with php since 2001 and that whole time I've been cleaning up bad ruby and nodejs and PHP implementations and knowing JavaScript well enough to code in whatever front end nonsense comes out from PrototypeJS to jQuery to ExtJs to angular to react on and on ad nauseaum. Throughout PHP was my actual workhouse. It's kinda frustrating when I meet someone super into JavaScript as a backend because I still choose PHP even though I have 20 years of JavaScript under my belt and love Es2015+ promisable JavaScript.

I'm not even really sure why python is so popular for DevOps cause I do everything in php and it's unit tested and works well with reproducible results.

jonwinstanley7 hours ago

Doubt there was a chance to “kill it off”, doesn’t it run over 50% of all websites?

Gigachad7 hours ago

PHP powers a couple of the software packages used by over 50% of websites. Mainly being Wordpress. Impossible to know but I would guess that new development of PHP sites is not such an impressive stat.

adventured6 hours ago

It's a CRUD staple. There's no other language so well suited to easily building CRUD services (of which WordPress is one). It's a big cherry on top that the language has gotten better and dramatically faster over the last several years.

There was no chance of it being killed off rapidly as the author was perhaps implying. It might have slowly rotted away, had the maintainers not stepped up with v7 and hit a home run.

mschuster917 hours ago

Which ones would that have been? Perl? Python? Java? JavaScript?

Among that choice set, PHP is definitely the best contender.

Gigachad7 hours ago

I would say that Ruby on Rails is a pretty good candidate to completely replace PHP with.

+2
nucleardog5 hours ago
gremlinsinc5 hours ago

does rails come with a generator to create a teams based multi tenant SaaS app with authorization and authentication and job queues without extra setup? (ie without decide and sidekick?)...

can rails compete with the performance of octane using swoole with 8k reqs per sec?

rails is the first framework I ever learned in 2012 but I kept jumping back and forth until laravel basically started lapping rails in terms of baked in goodies.

gremlinsinc5 hours ago

other than Phoenix framework maybe are there any others with as much included as laravel has?

caching, jobs, docker via sail, authentication and authorization, one command to have a full multi team/tenant SaaS app template via jet stream.

even rails doesn't have this, as you need to choose your own implementation for auth and access control, something like sidekick for job queue etc....

plus the ecosystem. I've tried so hard to like other frameworks and some I really do (like remix.run) but the lack of real momentum and community hurts most anything else and just doing everything as serverless micro services isn't always preferred or using micro frameworks.

I'm excited for the new features and with octane you can get more reqs per second than Phoenix framework which should make it easier to scale apps with less resources.

bGl2YW5j28 minutes ago

.NET has most of this. Love it.

krisrm10 hours ago

Elegant is not the word I'd use to describe PHP. Solid, perhaps. Undoubtedly useful. But if there is elegant PHP, I haven't seen it.

donatj23 minutes ago

Hello World in PHP is literally

    Hello World
I know no other language that elegant.
0x0nyandesu6 hours ago

I see php sort of like a trusty hammer. It's a hammer. Doesn't have to be elegant. It's a hammer.

The nails are http requests and PHP is a damn good hammer.

KerryJones8 hours ago

Have you looked at any Laravel code? As someone who has worked from small startups to FAANG and inbetween, Javascript to PHP to Python to Go, I haven't found anything more elegant.

path4115 hours ago

I think most people outside php have no idea what Laravel is, while anyone working in php is using Laravel so basically our viewpoint is Laravel = php. I don't know what it is about the normal personality that anyone using something you don't understand just be "doing it wrong"

rhengles9 hours ago

This depends a little on the taste of each person, but personally the most elegant way of doing PHP apps I ever found is with Siler: https://siler.leocavalcante.dev/v/main/ and Create Siler App: https://github.com/leocavalcante/create-siler-app

ipaddr8 hours ago

PHP is elegant and useful. The spread operator is ...$array is elegant. $var ? "not found"; is really elegant.

keyle1 hour ago

I think you meant ?? or ?= ?

eloisius5 hours ago

It’s also about ten years later than everyone else to get those splat and null coalesce operators so it’s not like that elegance is unique or even timely for PHP.

ipaddr4 hours ago

Your post is 10 years too late because we are talking about php today. PHP was elegant in different ways 10 years ago.

Lhiw8 hours ago

Elegant PHP is an API with each endpoint ending in .php and query Params that look like ?hello=world.

I don't know why pretty urls or magical regex routing matter so much to people but to me it's a huge waste of time when PHP and your webserver already do all that you need.

The result is an API with extremely obvious and easy to work with code, every change to endpoint code is unable to blow up the whole site, library code is still a risk but things are far more isolated.

emodendroket4 hours ago

I used Symfony and it was fine but there are some challenges:

1. The combination associative array/array data type is weird and I feel like the performance is not predictable unless you devote time to learning specifically about it

2. You're still stuck with all the weird legacy stuff, even if you don't use it, because someone else might bring it in

3. The OO stuff is basically like an old version of Java and a bit tedious to write. An IDE is definitely required

4. Many PHP developers formed their ideas about coding in the bad old days and will resist efforts to make code more testable or whatever because it's "too complicated."

faeyanpiraat7 hours ago

Multi core support is an issue I’ve tried conquering with php, but went down a rabbit hole of running JS on a GPU instead.

IshKebab10 hours ago

I've used PHP recently to work on Phabricator, and the whole "yes it sucked but now it's good" narrative did not match my experience at all. Sure it might have added modern features but the core is still rotten.

The alternative would have to be TCL levels of bad to make me choose PHP.

n4210 hours ago

Phabricator is not written in "modern PHP", so your experience is not surprising

wutwutwutwut10 hours ago

Can you link something written in modern PHP?

n429 hours ago

like the sibling comment said, web apps are written in Symfony/Laravel, but the framework abstractions with web apps might not paint you a clear picture of how the core language has improved. it will give you a good idea what it's like to build applications.

my favorite part of modern PHP is how nice writing libraries is. so it might not be what you're looking for, but I remember being pretty impressed with the code quality of the Amp PHP library recently. the v3 branch is 8.x only and (I believe) is targeting the Fibers feature just introduced in 8.1

https://github.com/amphp/amp/tree/v3

one of the best things to come with PHP are the community standardizations around things like interfaces for HTTP requests, logging, DI containers, and even code style standards. it makes for a very consistent experience when developing (at least when you're in the "new world"), since most newer libraries are all written in a similar style using common interfaces

allan_s9 hours ago

most of projects based on Laravel/Symfony that are < 5 years old

AegirLeet10 hours ago

Phabricator, much like WordPress, kind of lives in its own world and hasn't adopted most aspects of modern PHP. Even as someone who works with PHP and enjoys it, I wouldn't want to use Phabricator.

jdjdjrj9 hours ago

Wordpress has taken great strides to comply with the latest PHP standards so I'd say that's not quite fair to include it here.

jonwinstanley7 hours ago

I’d disagree, Wordpress is very difficult to work with when you’re used to modern ways of doing things.

+1
Implicated4 hours ago
johnny229 hours ago

i just helped my father with a wordpress site, and it sure doesn't use modern php. It runs on modern php, but it does not seem to actually USE it.

JimmyRuska10 hours ago

PHP at its core is the best part. A whole bunch of optimized and well tested C functions that are typical of backend functionality.

If you can do as little as possible in PHP and rely on the low level functions to stitch together what you need, deserialize and render data in the front end, use front-end templating, then PHP is insanely fast, practical language.

The issues with PHP are usually when people build out giant frameworks in PHP, rather than using PHP as a higher level glue language for the built-in fast C functions.

blowski10 hours ago

I've worked on _many_ PHP projects. Unless it's a small single-purpose script, if you tell me it doesn't use one of the standard frameworks, I'm going to assume it's an absolute unholy mess of spaghetti.

Laravel and Symfony are both extremely good, and the only reason people don't use them tends to be out of misplaced arrogance. Unsurprisingly, they end up building their own awful framework, and at some point the project either dies or someone says "Erm, we should put this in Laravel".

There are some people who've built great projects without these frameworks, and there are many projects in these frameworks that are terrible. But in terms of probabilities, you've got a much better chance of a project being well-built if it's in Symfony or Laravel.

+1
holoduke9 hours ago
+1
Koffiepoeder9 hours ago
PostThisTooFast10 hours ago

I wasn't laughing at it until I tried to follow this link and the server was down.

jeltz10 hours ago

I used PHP about two years ago and I was not impressed at all with the improvements. Yes, some of the issues had been fixed, but many of them remained. I cannot see any reason for using it over JS, Python or Ruby.

tdrdt9 hours ago

I use C#, Javascript and PHP a lot.

PHP always wins when it comes to deployment and productivity. In my opinion that's the power of PHP.

It's also versatile. I used it for small projects, multi-million € projects, COM-port communication, API communication, prototyping and what not.

The syntax is not great, but to me PHP is this multi-tool that just gets the job done and will run reliable for years.

jdjdjrj9 hours ago

Say what you want about PHP, but here we are decades later. I'm still using it, it still works, and it's still getting updated and improved.

0x4d464d488 hours ago

Say what you will about JavaScript...

I use it constantly not because it's well-designed but because TINA (there is no alternative).

[] == ![]; // true. Go ahead. Run it in your console...

stefanos827 hours ago

...so it basically is `0 == ![]`, in other words, `[].length` which is `0`, thus becomes `0 == false` which returns `true` with loose comparison?

0x4d464d487 hours ago

Yep.

Because an array is an object which has a 'truthy' value '![]' evaluates as 'false'.

Simplifies to a statement similar to 'false == false'.

A little useless arcana for those interested.

Well, not so useless if your expecting '!someEmptyArray' to evaluate to 'true'. Use '!someEmptyArray.length' instead.

simonw11 hours ago

Fibers "allow blocking and non-blocking implementations to share the same API"

That's an interesting contrast to Python where the need to use "value = await fn()" v.s. "value = fn()" depending on whether or not that function is awaitable causes all kinds of API design complexity, all the way up to the existence of tools like https://github.com/python-trio/unasync which can code-generate the non-async version of a library from the async version.

Ralfp10 hours ago

But if you are writing framework or library that has to deal with both, its:

    result = fn()
    if isawaitable(result):
        result = await result
And turns out isawaitable is not that fast so things like GraphQL libraries that run above logic thousands of times per request get noticeably slow.
simonw9 hours ago

I wrote a bit about that pattern last year: https://simonwillison.net/2020/Sep/2/await-me-maybe/

I didn't realize it had a significant performance overhead though, I should look into that.

jeltz10 hours ago

Ruby has the same design where async is implemented on top of fibers.

rbanffy8 hours ago

> allow blocking and non-blocking implementations to share the same API

Sounds like an excellent way to create weird concurrency heisenbugs.

josephcsible4 hours ago

PHP has a lot of warts, and I mean a lot, but one thing I really like about PHP that virtually no other Web languages offer is that I can just drop code in my Web server's document root, go to that path in my browser, and it runs, without needing to deal with frameworks, boilerplate, compiling, etc.

scrapcode3 hours ago

I see this being echoed in many different ways. For myself, this aspect of PHP is how I was able to get into software development for fun in my younger days. "Change this, save it, refresh and see what happens" was amazing for motivation at one point in time.

Snelius2 hours ago

Setup ur apache first, lol

shruubi8 hours ago

As someone who has worked in a lot of languages and now works in PHP, I think that while PHP still has some of the same warts it did in the old days, I am also understanding that given PHP is, for better or worse, a fundamental piece of web infrastructure, and that providing an upgrade path while also ensuring that they don't just break a large chunk of the web is less a matter of "software conservatism" and more a responsibility of the dev team.

And, if we're being honest, the reality is that for that chunk that would break, most of them would either not have a developer on hand to fix it, or would be what I call a "Wordpress cowboy" who has a WP site they set up five years ago that they never update, and the sum total of their development experience is installing various WP plugins until the site vaguely does what they want it to do.

It's hard, because on one hand, if we didn't have things like Wordpress, then PHP would be in a position to undertake more breaking changes that would overall give the language and its libraries the much needed quality improvements. On the other hand, without things like Wordpress, it does become somewhat questionable as to whether PHP would have survived the dark days of PHP4 and the early versions of PHP5.

In saying all that, the work that the dev team have done to add great features and solid performance, alongside the community which has done a lot of good things like PSR's and the PHP League libraries to me, is one of the key things that makes PHP still an attractive environment to work in.

gregmac7 hours ago

PHP has done pretty big breaking changes in the past, the thing that immediately comes to mind is register_globals (there are probably others, but my PHP experience is mainly from a decade ago).

Originally GET/POST, cookie and environment values automatically became variables. This means page.php?id=123 gave you a variable $id. Along with no variable declarations, this was intuitive and was probably one of the reasons PHP was so popular with beginner developers. Unfortunately it was also the cause of untold numbers of security bugs, because people would write code like:

    if (securityCheck()) { $isAdmin = true; }
 
    //.... 

    if ($isAdmin) {... }
Someone making the request page.php?isAdmin=true would totally bypass the intended check.

So in April 2002, PHP 4.2 [1] was released that disabled this by default -- but so many (badly written) applications relied on this that it was not until March 2012 -- 10 years later! -- that PHP 5.4 [2] finally removed this option entirely.

[1] https://www.php.net/releases/4_2_0.php

[2] https://www.php.net/releases/5_4_0.php

pluc8 hours ago

This is relevant: https://blog.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/2021/11/the-php-foundati...

Automattic is now more involved in PHP so hopefully that'll enable some collaboration

bilal4hmed11 hours ago

I haven't written PHP since the 5.0 release but its amazing to see how it has grown over the years. Seems to have picked up a few nice things and is still enjoying usage even today.

message7 hours ago

Same, but it looks like they are trying to make Java out of it.

rbanffy8 hours ago

Genuinely curious: who here thinks PHP is a good choice for a new project and also has experience with other languages such as Scala, Kotlin, Python, or JavaScript and their respective web frameworks?

ipaddr7 hours ago

Kotlin is for Android apps. Scala is a Java replacement. Those frameworks are unrelated.

Are you talking about building an Android app?

I've built app in different Javascript frameworks. Angular, Vue, React.

If I was building a website I would use PHP over Python, Golang or Javascript frameworks because what you get out of the box doesn't compare.

Each language does something well. If I was building AI python would be my first choice.

javier1234543217 hours ago

Honestly laravel is one of the best dev experiences. Having used Django, fastapi, and built a custom server with golang, its still my go to for off the shelf fullstack crud apps.

iamphilrae7 hours ago

If it is what you/your team are most confident in and it is suitable to solve the problem (i.e a typical MVC web application), then yes, it is a very sensible choice. If your confidence lies elsewhere, then no, choose that instead. End of the day you’re just solving a problem using code.

rbanffy7 hours ago

True, but that’s self reinforcing. The more you use a hammer, the more confident you become in everything being nails.

iamphilrae7 hours ago

And that’s when you become a master of your tools and can wield immense power with them! But in all seriousness, PHP is a good language, and coupled with a modern framework like Laravel, it’s great to use.

I’ve used it since 2002, and have recently got back into it properly after a decade in architecture roles, and it feels very welcoming and love using it. And I _have_ tried the whole JavaScript thing, but simply find it’s ever changing build tools, package managers, etc a pain. Just my opinion though.

trustfundbaby4 hours ago

I started out with PHP, if I'm building an actual app though, Ruby on Rails is still my go to.

poletopole3 hours ago

PHP is still used today because it needed good docs. Who's laughing now?

pdenton9 hours ago

Question: does class_exists still return TRUE when given the QCN to an enum?

Because it's not possible to instantiate an enum, if one appears in the constructor of a class it'll break auto-wiring. I've written my own IoC containers and one fundamental assumption in them is that when class_exists returns true, it is what it says on the tin. Using a specialized factory would still be possible. I wonder if other containers would break on seeing enums as well, but I hope they fixed this because it's not mentioned in the breaking changes. The documentation for class_exists doesn't mention enum.

Ayesh5 hours ago

Internally, Enums inherit a lot from classes.

I wrote an indepth article about this: https://php.watch/versions/8.1/enums#enum-exists

There is an `enum_exists` function that only returns true for Enums. It's fairly unintuitive to combine class_exists with enum_exists to filter out Enums, I agree.

donatj29 minutes ago

Isn’t that the same behavior/pattern for traits though? At least it’s consistent.

TazeTSchnitzel8 hours ago

There's already kinds of classes that can't be instantiated, why would this specifically be a breaking change?

pdenton7 hours ago

If by "kinds" you mean abstract classes, yeah. I just checked, there's no special handling for those since requesting them from the container makes no sense. I suppose a constructor could depend on an abstract type and expect an actual implementation, though. I haven't thought about that use case actually, but it's possible to configure a substitute for this case. Other IoC containers may handle this one better, since you may want to have different implementations depending on the current scope.

If you mean classes with private constructors, those are technically illegal. According to the PHP manual, constructors must be declared public. The fact that private constructors work at all should be considered an implementation detail.

Breakage occurs when something is said to be a class, yet isn't a class but still appears in the parameter list of a constructor. The container would instantiate a ReflectionClass of whatever is being requested and pass that around. At some point it'll call newInstanceArgs either with configuration-provided arguments or with auto-wired dependencies. The first case could still work, but foregoes auto-wiring.

francislavoie3 hours ago

I can't think of any situation you'd put an enum in the container though. Maybe I'm just too tired to think of a situation where that would be helpful. Can you think of one?

maxpert9 hours ago

Fibers!!! Who wants to bet we are a few releases away from async/await syntax now. Giving credit where it’s due Microsoft with C# pioneered the syntax and every classic (including a few modern) language has adopted the syntax.

I believe we are a few steps away from a fully builtin production ready server and db connection support.

donatj27 minutes ago

Async/await isn’t something to hope for. It’s a terrible pattern languages should work hard to avoid.

gmfawcett7 hours ago

I think the hope here is that you don't need async/await syntax. The fiber implementation is supposed to abstract over both sync and async implementations.

VMtest5 hours ago

Reading some comments here and it does confuse me

Promises, async and await in javascript, coroutines and threads in kotlin, fibers in some language runtime (including this php 8.1 [0]), single process (nodejs), multi-process(php-fpm worker), single-thread, multi-thread, goroutines in go, multi-core coroutines

Googling the definitions and x vs y situation helps a little, the main confusion to me is why some people want this xyz feature in a language runtime and not the other, the pros and cons are seriously so confusing

I have probably used several, like promises, async, await, like others said async would be implement on fibers [1] (is php 8.1 implementation same as V8,spidermonkey,javascriptcore? or any other language runtime). And I have tried to understand kotlin coroutines as well

modern times to run php, people would use php-fpm with nginx, it is running multiple worker (single) process, so why would anyone [2], [3] wants multi-core coroutines in it? What does it even mean?

Writing this out ease my mind a bit yea, need to be able to communicate the confusion instead of just saying "programming is difficult"

[0]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29343773

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29344427

[2]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29344704

[3]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29345986

francislavoie3 hours ago

> modern times to run php, people would use php-fpm with nginx, it is running multiple worker (single) process, so why would anyone [2], [3] wants multi-core coroutines in it? What does it even mean?

Not everyone does. There's also https://reactphp.org (which is an event loop runtime, similar to Node), and https://amphp.org (also event loops), and Swoole https://github.com/swoole/swoole-src (coroutine runtime, similar to Go).

Fibers are basically an API that event-loop runtime libs can use so that userland code doesn't need to use promises or generators to run non-blocking operations. Fibers are not useful for php-fpm or swoole users.

marcodiego11 hours ago

Still holding the web. Happy to see it is continually evolving.

DaiPlusPlus10 hours ago

What's your estimate for PHP's long-term viability?

I'm asking, because it was the hobbyists and kids who got started in PHP mucking around in their everyday white-label cPanel/Plesk-based web-hosting accounts in the very early 2000s that really gave PHP the mindshare of enthusiastic users and thus its staying power. But it's 2021 now: all the kids are getting started with NodeJS for server-side web-applications, not PHP.

With the decline of traditional web-hosting as something that people have and might experiment with (replaced at the low-end by Wix and Squarespace, and major "Cloud" providers at the high-end), what opportunities does PHP have to attract new eyeballs?

Years ago self-hosted WordPress and phpBB installs would have been been a good gateway, but both of those are going out of fashion owing to the substantial maintenance burden that comes with self-hosting. Everyone I know that used to self-host WordPress (former clients, friends, local small businesses, etc) have all given-up and switched to WordPress.com's managed-hosting model or gone with the aforementioned Wix and Squarespace.

Ultimately PHP as-we-know-it will last as long as Zend (UPDATE: it's now owned by Perforce?!? wow...) can secure sales/support funding, which is predicated on their continued penetration of major enterprise customers - or indirectly through the continued popularity of WordPress and the like, even if it's hardly ever self-hosted anymore.

Personally, my money's on maybe 5-10 years' continued credibility, and then another 15 years of slow decline into irrelevance.

mmaunder10 hours ago

80% of the web is powered by PHP and 40% of that is WordPress which has continued to grow. 64% of CMS websites are WordPress. There’s what gets upvotes, and then there’s what is widely used, supported, easy to hire devs for and practical as hell. PHP, unlike Perl which I used to contribute to, is here to stay.

marcodiego9 hours ago

There's also Moodle which got extremely more important because of the pandemic. Nothing that ever becomes as popular as PHP and continues evolving for 2+ decades disappears quickly. I think 10+15 years... I don't know... I think it will last longer. COBOL and FORTRAN are still alive, there was more heavy money into both but there are more minds in PHP.

DaiPlusPlus9 hours ago

Ah, yes - Moodle.

My 6th Form experimented with Moodle when I was a student there - that was a loooooong time ago (2004? 2006?). I remember the staff weren't happy that Moodle allowed students to set their own avatars because too many kids figured out you could use animated GIFs as avatars, probably copied from eBaums or deviantArt; while others uploaded shock-images or just controversial content because I guess that's just funny to a bunch of 16yos.

The school ditched the experiment after a few months because Moodle simply wasn't delivering any real value: the teachers didn't want to have to type-up their handwritten lesson-plans and manually scan-in their existing non-digitized content, and those that did already have digitized content (those smug 6th Form computer science teachers, naturally) didn't want to have to "refactor" (I guess that's the right word?) their content to fit into Moodle's way-of-doing-things.

I think as the experiment came to an end we were only using it for ungraded quiz-taking - we weren't even using it for submitting homework (teachers still preferred e-mail for that: the 6th Form already had its own on-prem MS Exchange set-up that everyone used - and we could e-mail staff from our personal e-mail accounts too, which was nice - I know a lot of schools kept closed, on-prem-only, not-internet-facing e-mail systems to avoid spam - this was back when spam filters were awful and spam itself regularly included actual porn and other very-inappropriate-for-schools content, so I can understand why those other schools did).

----------

I haven't laid-eyes Moodle ever since then - every few years someone will mention it but I've never had a chance to speak to anyone who actually uses it to find out if it's actually any better than it was 15 years ago - and how it's changed at all. Can you fill me in?

And still far better than Blackboard?

znpy6 hours ago

My university is currently using moodle, as far as I can see it's working fine.

It's replacing and older custom application, built on liferay (or alfresco? can't really remember).

However, it's doing okay. And it's scaling fairly big (~40-45k users).

tored8 hours ago

PHP bigwigs just announced the PHP Foundation to secure PHP’s future.

Announcement

https://blog.jetbrains.com/phpstorm/2021/11/the-php-foundati...

PHP Foundation

https://opencollective.com/phpfoundation

Accepts donations to help the development of PHP.

DaiPlusPlus8 hours ago

I don't think that's a good sign.

The community's complaints with PHP are far more concerned with technical matters relating to the language, runtime and libraries than how Zend etc have handled the usual issues in politics and project governorship. I don't think PHP has ever had a brouhaha anything like what happens in Java's JCP or the Oracle sale. Other platforms (like .NET) have their own foundations but they aren't taking seriously by the community because we all know the commercial companies that back the tooling are the ones that really matter.

...so what's the real reason for PHP suddenly switching to a Foundation-supported model? And why couldn't they entrust PHP with an existing and well-regarded foundation like Apache or FSF?

tored7 hours ago

If you read the announcements it explains why they are doing it.

PHP is a community driven project, comparing that with C# or Java is a bit unfair because they are backed by companies worth billions.

What you describe about Zend I think that is more the old days before PHP 7. I don’t have the full picture of this but my understanding is that because of the failure of PHP 6 (never released), another group of developers from the community started to work with PHP 7 and I don’t think neither of them was from Zend.

Today there is an open RFC process and anyone can submit an RFC and then the core teams votes on it. If you contribute to PHP you can become a member of the core team.

https://wiki.php.net/rfc

If you want to be part of the discussion you can join the internals mailing list. Here you can read it without joining.

https://externals.io/

If someone is unhappy with direction of PHP my advice to them is to start contributing, bug fix, write documentation, translate, write RFCs, implement functionality, code review etc. Why? because PHP today is a community driven project.

Gigachad9 hours ago

Personally I am delighted that the low end has been replaced by fully managed platforms. The average small business does not have the ability to run a website. Actually building the site and getting it online is the cheapest and easiest part but its the only part these places budget for. Then the inevitable problems come when the site is 2 years old, falling apart, getting hacked, etc. Allowing these low end customers to just have something that is set and forget truly is an improvement.

emodendroket4 hours ago

My impression is that the market for PHP development is almost a separate ecosystem from other languages.

tarokun-io11 hours ago

I haven't written PHP in years but I get the feeling from this release that they are taking inspiration from TypeScript and JavaScript.

wvenable9 hours ago

They take inspiration from everything! I think that's one of the most interesting aspects of PHP design since version 5.0 is that they sort of unpretentiously take the good concept and syntax ideas from any language that has them.

wwweston11 hours ago

Probably FB’s Hack and similar efforts were influences first, since they predate the rise of TS.

On the other hand, though, PHP’s always tended to be a borrowing language that accumulates features from elsewhere, so there probably is some TS influence.

jonwinstanley11 hours ago

Definitely some JS influence plus a little Swift and Java. PHP seems to be evolving faster than it has in years

pirate78711 hours ago

It's actually becoming a problem keeping pace with PHP major updates

mschuster9110 hours ago

PHP isn't Linux with its strict "never break userspace" dogma - but for real, a PHP version upgrade should not be that bad to follow.

+1
nicoburns10 hours ago
dubcanada11 hours ago

That's a funny thing to say, considering those took inspiration from other languages.

agumonkey11 hours ago

they all lifted stuff from ml/scheme in the 80s

ittan4 hours ago

Excuse my intrigue. Is this topic biased to language design or experience using php?

lifeplusplus3 hours ago

PHP devs make less and have to learn JS anyways.

EGreg10 hours ago

What is this?

  class User 
  {
    /**
     * @Assert\All({
     *     @Assert\NotNull,
     *     @Assert\Length(min=5)
     * })
     */
    public string $name = '';
  }
  PHP 8.1
  class User 
  {
    #[\Assert\All(
        new \Assert\NotNull,
        new \Assert\Length(min: 6))
    ]
    public string $name = '';
  }
exitheone10 hours ago

An annotation syntax no outside of doc strings. Something PHP desperately needed.

Very similar to Java annotations.

pluc7 hours ago

Doctrine ORM uses Annotations to label SQL data, it's a pretty good example of Annotations in action: https://www.doctrine-project.org/projects/doctrine-orm/en/2....

codazoda10 hours ago

Just going to link to this from earlier today.

https://front-line-php.com/cheat-sheet

It’s covered under “Attributes”.

hu310 hours ago

These are attributes which add metadata that can be programatically acessed by applications and tooling.

That piece of code is about data validation.

See more at https://www.php.net/manual/en/language.attributes.overview.p...

s-xyz10 hours ago

Who is still using PHP anno 2021?

allan_s9 hours ago

Rosaly.com (shameless plug) , the team of developer is 32 years old average, though we all come from different background and all used python/go/java/rust in some of our previous jobs or on our own opensource projects, we just want to get shit done.

  * it has its quirks but we know them and each newer version fix more of them.
  * its damn fast (more than python or ruby)
  * its type system is better than python (trait/interface , union type <3 , and now intersection type ! ) 
  * symfony/laravel have evolved over the last 10 years, most of the things you knew 10 years ago are still true now
and as a result it tends to attract people with the same mentality, my experience with recruiting php developer is that you have a much clearer clivage of "wordpress website maintainer" and "people who want to get shit done"

you will not find for example "genius developer, that write code faster than you think, who writes all his project in rust but is now thinking to switch to haskell and will leave your company as soon as it find a company that use it"

codegeek9 hours ago

I.personally avoid "Shiny Language" developers.

kgeist9 hours ago

If you ignore things like Wordpress, my guess is that today it's often used by organizations whose flagship product was originally written more than a decade ago, back when PHP was the go-to language for web development (see: Facebook, Wikipedia, Tumblr etc.) and now that there's an ecosystem around this flagship product, new projects/services may as well be started in PHP, because that's what everyone is comfortable/familiar with. Otherwise, it looks like PHP isn't a very popular choice nowadays for new projects, especially if it's a new company.

Take our company for example, our flagship web product was developed more than a decade ago, and, well, today we still use PHP, because rewriting everything in a different language is a gargantuan task. It's not only about the language itself, but also about all the tooling/best practices etc. around it, which you have to replace, and it's costly. We do gradually modernize our code to remove all the PHP5-era warts, and it's much easier to accomplish than switch to a different language entirely. Modern PHP7+ with Symfony is very pleasant to work with, and in my opinion, from the productivity standpoint, there's really no reason to switch to anything else. Also, PHP7+ seems to be faster than Python/Ruby in raw interpreter speed. However, we realized that we can't scale further if we stay with our PHP/Symfony monolith for everything because of Symfony's considerable startup overhead, so we now try to write new services in Go (request processing is usually 10 times faster for our loads), and seems like the combo PHP+Go is very popular among PHP developers in general.

So, I'd say, PHP isn't "dead" and is still widely used in 2021, however, in my opinion, its usage is indeed dwindling, because there seems to be a trend even in our own PHP community to gradually supplement/replace/augment parts of our projects with services written in Go, and PHP is more and more frequently equaled to "legacy"/"monolith".

human10 hours ago

Everyone.

philippta8 hours ago

This post is 5 years old. Slack migrated from PHP to Hack. By now you can not run PHP code in Hack anymore.

emodendroket4 hours ago

They've got an article about that too for those interested. https://slack.engineering/hacklang-at-slack-a-better-php/

duiker10110 hours ago

Considering just WordPress powers something like 40% of the whole www, I'd say quite a few people!

emodendroket4 hours ago

I'd say there's a difference between choosing an established product like WordPress or MediaWiki and looking at a greenfield project and choosing PHP.

jeltz10 hours ago

But how much of that is just fake SEO websites? Virtually all the fake sites use Wordpress.

ArtDev8 hours ago

Considering how popular Drupal is with large government applications, PHP is going to be around a long time.

PHP has become better and better over the years!

aimor4 hours ago

I use PHP for my personal sites.

hu38 hours ago

In August I did database related consulting for a client which is building a large CRUD'ish application in Laravel. I was intrigued with their decision and they said the tech stack was chosen based on speed of iteration and developer availability.

DJBunnies6 hours ago

Me.