[development] Go PHP 5, Go!

Sean Robertson seanr at ngpsoftware.com
Wed Jun 6 14:33:39 UTC 2007

Are there currently that many PHP4 apps that won't run on PHP5?  I 
thought Drupal already does.  Why can't ISPs upgrade without breaking 
older apps?

I am a huge fan of this idea overall, BTW.  I think migrating apps to 
PHP5 will start forcing ISPs to at least provide the option to upgrade 
since they'll start losing customers if they don't.  At my company, we 
own our own servers so it'd be relatively easy for us to upgrade.

Larry Garfield wrote:
> This is a follow-up to the PHP 5 thread from a week or two ago.  It looks like 
> some momentum is building.  Ken Rickard, Robert Douglas, and I have been 
> talking with some of the Jooma folks, and have a working draft of the "core 
> statement and justification".  That is, what the goal is and why it is.  
> Joomla's development team is discussing the matter and is leaning yes.  Based 
> on the earlier thread here I am hoping that there isn't much objection to 
> Drupal participating in the "Go PHP5" effort. :-)  So far Joomla is leaning 
> yes, CakePHP is interested, and I had a positive first response from Typo3.  
> Robert Douglas has volunteered himself to setup a web site for it.
> I'm not sure how Dries wants to handle the question of Drupal's participation 
> (by vote, by consensus, or by fiat).  Dries?  
> Anyway, here's the working statement.  Consider this an official 
> recommendation that Drupal commit to participating in this effort.
> ------------------------------------
> PHP 4 has served the web developer community for seven years now, and served 
> it well.  However, it also shows its age.  Most of PHP 4's shortcomings have 
> been addressed by PHP 5, released three years ago, but the transition from 
> PHP 4 to PHP 5 has been slow for a number of reasons.
> PHP developers cannot leverage PHP 5's full potential without dropping support 
> for PHP 4, but PHP 4 is still installed on a majority of shared web hosts and 
> users would then be forced to switch to a different application.  Web hosts 
> cannot upgrade their servers to PHP 5 without making it impossible for their 
> users to run PHP 4-targeted web apps, and have no incentive to go to the 
> effort of testing and deploying PHP 5 while most web apps are still 
> compatible with PHP 4 and the PHP development team still provides maintenance 
> support for PHP 4.  The PHP development team, of course, can't drop 
> maintenance support for PHP 4 while most web hosts still run PHP 4.  
> It is a dangerous cycle, and one that needs to be broken.  The open source PHP 
> developer community has decided that it is indeed now time to move forward, 
> together.  Therefore, the listed open source PHP projects have all agreed 
> that effective 5 February 2008, any new feature release will have a minimum 
> required PHP version no older than PHP 5.2.0.  It is our believe that this 
> will allow web hosts a reason to upgrade and the PHP development team the 
> ability to retire PHP 4 and focus efforts on PHP 5 and the forthcoming PHP 6, 
> all without penalizing any existing project for being "first out of the 
> gate".
> ------------------------------------
> Notes: 
> - I chose the date because I figure that will be 7-8 months after we 
> officially announce this thing, which I believe should be sufficient time for 
> web hosts.  It also comes out to 5/2/2008 (using European convention), and I 
> just like inside references like that. :-)
> - This does not preclude any project from moving before the deadline date, or 
> from supporting older versions for however long they wish to.  That's up to 
> each project.  
> - PHP 5.2 is already the most widely installed version of PHP 5, based on the 
> latest published stats.  I know at least two web hosts I work with that 
> either have jumped or are in the process of jumping from PHP 4 straight to 
> PHP 5.2.  By the target date it will have been out for nearly a year and a 
> half.  It also adds a number of new and useful core features (filter_input, 
> json, a stable PDO, etc.).  It's a good version to target.
> Thoughts?  Comments?  Support?  Rotten tomatoes?

Sean Robertson
Web Developer
NGP Software, Inc.
seanr at ngpsoftware.com
(202) 686-9330

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