PHP is a popular open source scripting language that is mostly used to create dynamic web pages. It may also be used to send emails to site visitors, send and receive cookies, gather data from forms, encrypt data, work with databases, and more. In fact, it’s so common that around 80% of sites make use of it.
A new version of PHP is always supported for two years after its release. New features are introduced throughout that period, and any reported defects or security vulnerabilities will have a fix provided to address them.
However, each release version will continue to receive support for an additional year, but solely for security vulnerabilities, following those two years of active support. Updates are only given as necessary throughout this year.
The release “branch” hits end-of-life and is no longer supported when this third year of maintenance has passed. You can keep on using older versions of PHP and your script will still work, but you will be dependent on third parties for security and bug fixes.
In November 2020, PHP 8.0, the initial version, was released (the year after PHP 7.4). It was a significant release that sought to fix problems with PHP 7 and improve developer friendliness. The most recent version of PHP, version 8.1, was published in November 2021. It was the first minor release of the PHP 8 series and it included new features and upgrades.
When PHP 7.4’s community support expires in November 2022, PHP 8.2 will be released as a replacement. As they say, when one door shuts, another one opens.
If we talk about the PHP 8 specifically, this latest upgrade gives the language a lot of potent enhancements and features. It’s time to get familiar with some of the most interesting changes that have made PHP quicker and more secure, even if many RFCs have already been approved and introduced.
Your code may need to be improved to work with PHP 8. The update shouldn’t be too difficult if you’ve been following the new releases because most of the breaking changes were previously denounced in the 7.x versions.
With improved speed, this update has a lot of amazing things to offer like JIT compiler, union types, attributes and much more.
Features of PHP 8 that will Optimize your Productivity
It’s wonderful to see how many helpful enhancements PHP 8 brings, such as Named Arguments, which let you validate data entering a function based on their argument name rather than their argument order. Additionally, union types can now be declared directly rather than having to first identify them in phpdoc annotation comments like they could in prior versions.
The reflection API has been significantly improved by all of these features. Here are a few of the fantastic new PHP 8 features:
- Just-In-Time (JIT) Compiler
The efficiency of PHP 8.0 has increased over PHP 7.4 as with any newer version, but the major enhancements come from new features like the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler.
JIT is a PHP 8.0 plugin that accelerates applications by managing the compilation of PHP scripts. Simply said, it allows for faster execution of application code that is more sophisticated.
For some classes, attributes (also known as annotations) offer a fresh method of describing and granting specialized behaviors. They are described as a type of structured metadata that may be incorporated into declarations of classes, properties, methods, and other things.
- Named Arguments
Named arguments, an expansion of already-existing positional parameters, were introduced in PHP 8. They imply that you may define which argument is passed by merely providing the name of the parameter, eliminating the need to take sequence into account.
- Match Expressions
You’ll be capable of recognizing expression matching if you’ve done programming before. In actuality, PHP 7 has 3 versions integrated into it during the course of its existence. With safer semantics than the switch operator, the new match expression in PHP 8 greatly simplifies the job of developers by allowing you to return a value based on the input provided.
- Nullsafe Operator
The nullsafe operator has come to save the day by assisting in preventing Null Reference Exceptions by determining whether the code can be handled without issues. The nullsafe operator in PHP 8.0 will come in handy if you’ve ever needed to retrieve a value from multiple-level nested objects or create code to verify that a variable was created before you could use it.
The opportunity to create better, more reliable websites and applications is provided by PHP 8.0. It is more developer-friendly than 7.4 because of syntax enhancements, strong core updates, and important API upgrades that increase consistency, transparency, clarity, and efficiency.
This article is full of the information about PHP 8 because in this article, you are introduced with all the improvements this upgrade has to offer. The best course of action is to review the whole list of breaking revisions in the Updating document.
However, in prior versions of PHP 7, several of these breaking changes had already been deprecated, so if you have stayed current over the years, switching to PHP 8 shouldn’t be too challenging.