[development] Go PHP 5, Go!

Karen Stevenson karen at elderweb.com
Tue Jun 26 11:29:53 UTC 2007

I think it's great that there's an effort to get many open source projects behind this. We really do need to get a migration to php5 going, however I do worry about an absolute php 5 requirement since there are so many users that have no real control over what is available to them. 

Rather than say, 'Drupal 7 is php5 only', why not say 'Works best with php5', then have some really nice features and modules that only work with php5. I think it would be perfectly fine if some core modules and features are php5-only, so long as it is possible to create a basic working site without them.

Then add a version test and show php5-only modules as disabled on the modules list with a message that those modules only work in php5 and add help messages wherever there are features that don't work in php4 so users know what they're missing out on. If the php5 features look really good and people want to be able to use them, it still provides pressure on hosts to update to php5. And hosts that provide php5 are going to look much better than hosts that don't.

This makes coding more difficult since you have to make sure all basic functionality works with php4 and find ways to carve out php5-only features for special treatment, but it's much less negative than saying php5 or nothing.

This discussion reminds me a little bit about discussions on the css mailing list where people who wanted to use cool new css effects would advocate that you should display messages like 'your browser is too old and you need to update it' instead of finding some way to make the site degrade gracefully for old browsers.

Anyway, I'm not completely opposed to going php5-only, but I wanted to propose an alternative.


----- Original Message ----
From: Dries Buytaert <dries.buytaert at gmail.com>
To: development at drupal.org
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 2:34:01 AM
Subject: Re: [development] Go PHP 5, Go!

On 21 Jun 2007, at 08:38, Boris Mann wrote:
> Mark my words: a PHP5-only Drupal 7 will leave many, many Drupal
> users behind.
> It's OK...every full Drupal update leaves many Drupal users behind  
> for a significant portion of time. Ponder that :P

Except that this time, we risk leaving 70% of the install base  
behind.  The amount of intelligent/constructive feedback to this  
thread has been surprisingly low.  Let's stick to facts and real  
arguments, please.  I'd like to see a _real_ discussion here.

Dries Buytaert  ::  http://www.buytaert.net/

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