For seven years straight, PHP has been the fourth most popular programming language in the world, powering more than 200 million Websites, with more than 81.7 percent of public websites leveraging PHP on the server side.
The flagship feature of PHP 7 is massively improved performance, with up to three times better performance than PHP 5.6 running WordPress in some benchmarks.
It also features other smaller changes, such as significantly reduced memory usage, return type declarations, the spaceship operator and more.
PHP 7 contains a number of breaking changes, such as the removal of PHP safe mode, magic quotes, a number of new reserved keywords and others.
That means Web apps like WordPress needed to be partially re-engineeredin order to be ready for PHP 7’s release, though it appears it’s now fully compatible with the upgrade.
While PHP 7 is now available, it’s likely a number of years before it’ll be widely adopted in the wild. Web applications, particularly within the enterprise, tend to take years to upgrade to new platform versions.
What many Web developers are hoping, however, is that the sizable performance improvements will help tempt them to upgrade much sooner.
PHP 7.0.0 comes with a new version of the Zend Engine, numerous improvements and new features such as;
- Improved performance: PHP 7 is up to twice as fast as PHP 5.6
- Significantly reduced memory usage
- Abstract Syntax Tree
- Consistent 64-bit support
- Improved Exception hierarchy
- Many fatal errors converted to Exceptions
- Secure random number generator
- Removed old and unsupported SAPIs and extensions
- The null coalescing operator (??)
- Return and Scalar Type Declarations
- Anonymous Classes
- Zero cost asserts
The migration guide is available in the PHP Manual. Please consult it for the detailed list of new features and backward incompatible changes.
The inconvenience of the release lateness in several time zones is caused by the need to ensure the compatibility with the latest OpenSSL 1.0.2e release.