March, 2021
By Irine Gamkrelidze

Hype behind the PHP8 update

Hype behind the PHP8 update

PHP - the hypertext preprocessor is officially 26 years old, which makes us feel a little bit old as well. It seems like only yesterday when Rasmus Lerdorf, Andi Gutman, and Zeev Suraski laid the foundation for the PHP that we know now. Rasmus was the first one who wrote the original common gateway interface simply to maintain his personal home page. It was never intended to be a new programming language, but Andi and Zeev rewrote the parcel which is known as PHP 3 now. The original creator, Rasmus said: "it grew organically, I have no idea how to write a programming language, I simply added the next logical step on the way".

Two decades later, the accidental programming language became the most popular one. When clients decide to outsource their web projects to us, we surely use the mentioned “accidental programming language”.

PHP Update – How Was it Received?

PHP has been around for a decade, but because of its constant improvement, it never loses popularity amongst developers. The excitement behind the release of version 8 was reminiscent of finding out there would be a long-awaited sequel to your favorite game. The developers on all forums started discussing the new features of PHP update, which you can read here.

The excitement stemmed from the simple fact that PHP version 7 was released in 2014-2015. Developers who loyally used PHP awaited this update for at least half a decade, so the forums discussed version 8.0’s every feature to a tea. One developer stated: “The strict types were the best thing that could happen for PHP, since not only it helps us write better and more robust applications, it forces us - as developers - to evolve and grow, by thoroughly thinking our code and how the data flow needs to be performed in our applications. PHP 8 builds on that and expands with new features.”

For a long time, developers used PHP on their outsourced web development projects, as a go-to scripting language.

Just in Time Compiler

PHP update was met with excitement by developers, mainly because it came with a JIT compiler. According to RFC, the implementation of this feature would boost PHP’s performance, but they also stated:

“Like the previous attempts – it currently doesn’t seem to significantly improve real-life apps like WordPress. It’s planned to provide additional effort, improving JIT for real-life apps, using profiling and speculative optimizations.”

Even though WordPress users won’t see any spectacular results with JIT, it’s still a great update for developers. Nikita Popov, a well-known long-time PHP ecosystem contributor said:

“The benefits of the JIT compiler are roughly (and as already outlined in the RFC):

  • Significantly better performance for numerical code.
  • Slightly better performance for “typical” PHP web application code.
  • The potential to move more code from C to PHP, because PHP will now be sufficiently fast.”

Don’t think that JIT in PHP is good news all the way, because as simple as it may seem, this feature means there will be new bugs and problems, it will need more maintenance and debugging. Even though two people rejected the proposal to add JIT in PHP 8.0, it was still 50 votes against the 2.

What’s Next?

PHP was not a typified language, but it began to turn into one after the 7.0 update. In the 8.0 - we got class typification, but it’s still optional, you have the choice to use it at your desire. In the future, we don’t predict PHP becoming a strictly typified language, but it’s obvious, we will see more typification options in this language.

If you want to see PHP 8.0 in action, why don’t you email us, so we can show you the most recent outsourced projects we’ve completed using this programming language!


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