The newest major PHP version was officially released a few days ago. The latest version 7 of the most common web language for building dynamic websites – PHP is now available.
More than 20 years have passed since PHP’s first web appearance back in 1994. During the first 10 years, 5 major versions of PHP Tools v.1.0 have been released until PHP 5 appeared in 2004. And ever since, there has not been any major PHP release. This does not include the experimental PHP 6 which never got a stable release. In 2013 a new project for developing a main version was initiated. After a lot of time, efforts, numerous modifications, improvements, fixes and innovations, finally we can see a completed next major version of PHP 7.
PHP 7.0 promises a 2x faster performance as well as lower memory usage compared to PHP 5.6. This definitely will have a very positive impact on all websites based on PHP.
PHP 7 emphasizes on removing deprecated features from previous versions, improving the consistency of the language itself and especially the performance.
Lower Memory Usage
The speedup of PHP code executed originates from the reduced memory usage combined with the improvements in the internal data processing. In other words, PHP 7 comes with a faster and rewritten engine – Zend Engine version 3. This is the engine that literally drives (interprets) the PHP code.
Improvements and Innovations in The Language Itself
The new Zend Engine version is based on the PHPNG project (PHP Next Generation) which unleashes the huge scripting language improvements.
Here are a few of the innovations:
- consistent 64-bit support;
- removal of completely unavailable or unsupported for a long time server interfaces (SAPI) and extensions;
- adding of new operators: null coalescing operator (??),
combined comparison operator (<=>);
- Scalar Type Declarations;
- Return Type Declarations;
- Anonymous Classes.
PHP 7 Benchmarks
Upon the virtual private server service, customers can manually install and activate PHP 7.
For the last few months, WordPress team has been following closely the PHP 7 development and actively comparing and testing every introduced change. Despite not yet officially declared, WordPress is ready and PHP 7 compatible (the latest versions).
There is still no official information, but according to developers Joomla! 3.5 will be PHP 7 compatible.
Drupal 8 is fully compatible with PHP 7.
There is actually a PHP 6 version which never made it to a stable release.
PHP 6 exists as an experimental version, but it never made it to an official stable release. The PHP 6 project started in 2005, but it was effectively abandoned in 2010, because of implementation difficulties of Unicode support.
There are a lot of existing documents, help information and whole books for PHP 6 which could have led to confusion with the future main PHP version.
After a voting, the latest stable PHP version was voted to be 7 in order to avoid confusion with the already existing experimental PHP 6 version.
There are PHP modules that are not 100% compatible with PHP 7 yet. The following modules – ZendGuardLoader, Memcache/d and imagick will be available for PHP 7 after their update.