PHP projects join forces to Go PHP 5
The Symfony, Typo3, phpMyAdmin, Drupal, Propel, and Doctrine projects have all announced that their next release after February 5, 2008 will require PHP version 5.2 as part of a coordinated effort at GoPHP5.org, and have issued an open invitation to any other PHP projects and applications, both open source and proprietary, that want to participate in the effort.
Most PHP-based web applications today run in both PHP version 4 and PHP version 5. PHP 4 was released in 2000, and quickly cemented itself as one of the dominant web development languages. Version 5 was released in 2004 with dramatic improvements in functionality, but adoption has been slow due mostly to the "chicken and egg" problem that accompanies many new platform releases.
"Most of the PHP developers I talk to want to use PHP 5 but can't because so many web hosts offer PHP 4 by default," said Larry Garfield, a Drupal developer and one of GoPHP5.org's founders. "The hosts won't upgrade until projects do, but projects won't upgrade until the hosts do. That has made a lot of projects reluctant to be the first to drop support for PHP 4, so we've decided that we will all be first."
By pre-announcing plans to require PHP 5.2 in upcoming software versions in 2008, GoPHP5 hopes to provide web hosts with the incentive to upgrade their servers to newer, more stable, more feature-rich versions of PHP as well as sufficient time to do so. Users that are already using current versions of participating projects won't be left out in the cold, either. All involved projects will continue to support current releases on PHP 4 for their normal life cycle, giving both users and hosts time to plan and implement an upgrade.
"The phpMyAdmin project is very enthusiastic to join the GoPHP5 initiative," added phpMyAdmin's project lead, Marc Delisle. "We see GoPHP5 as a way both to improve our product's new versions — not always having to add workarounds to remain PHP4-compatible — and improve the experience of our users — by projecting the correct message about the PHP system itself and its evolution."
PHP 5 offers developers a wide array of features designed to make developing fast, modern web applications faster and easier. That includes vastly improved XML handling for Web services, an integrated SQL database called SQLite, better handling of time zones, dramatically improved security tools, stronger object-oriented functionality, and more.
Many PHP projects already require PHP 5. Encouraging a larger installed-base of PHP 5 will broaden the market for those projects as well.
PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development. PHP is one of the leading web development languages in the world, running on a third of the world's web servers. It is the platform of choice for companies from Yahoo to Facebook as well as the most widely-available development platform on shared hosting, which powers millions of web sites world wide.
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Drupal is one of the leading open source content management frameworks in the world, and is used by companies ranging from Yahoo to IBM. Typo3 is a powerful content management framework especially popular in Europe. phpMyAdmin is widely deployed as a means to easily manage a MySQL database server through a web interface. Symfony is a rich web application framework written in PHP that leverages Propel, a powerful database abstraction and object mapping system. Doctrine provides a rich object-relational mapping tool for developers to drastically speed development of complex web applications.
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