Next article

We all are squeezed inside smartphones, especially mobile apps like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Amazon, Flipkart, Zomato, Uber etc. During such a situation, it is...

What’s New in PHP Version 7.4: Features, Deprecation and Updates

Have you ever wondered why there are so many advocates and devotees of PHP technology? Well, one of the obvious reasons could be by using such tech one can do everything thought was possible.

Other than that, it’s very crucial to choose the right platform and PHP can never go wrong.

Time to boil down to the essence of PHP development – What is PHP, Why it is so important for businesses and developers and what’s new in the latest PHP version 7.4

Introducing PHP

According to sources, PHP is used by 79.0% of all the websites especially the ones who know server-side programming languages. In simple words, 80 out of 100 websites you visit on the internet are based on this technology. Interesting right? There’s more to come, keep reading!

Market Position
Image Source – W3Techs

The above-shown graph emphasizes on the market position of PHP. Unlike Java, Ruby, Scala, this one is used by many websites. Therefore gaining popularity and traffic is inevitable. Some of the popular websites which you may know otherwise but haven’t figured out what tech they are based on: 

  • 17ok.com
  • Instructure.com
  • Facebook.com
  • 360.cn
  • Zoom.us
  • Vk.com
  • Microsoft.com
  • WordPress.com
  • Sina.com.cn
  • Wikipedia.org

Another interesting aspect and reason why most PHP developers go bananas with the tech is that it is being highly recommended by the best content management system; i.e. WordPress. Among the 38% of the market share of WordPress on the internet, you may find a plethora of sites using the CMS.

Now before we begin, we assume that you are well aware of HTML, CSS and JavaScript as they are very crucial when understanding such technologies.  

What is PHP?

Created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1994, PHP now stands for Hypertext Preprocessor; earlier it was known as personal home pages. It is an open source scripting language that is highly recommended for creating dynamic web pages and applications. Now if you think that programming language and scripting language are the same then you are mistaken. Programming language comprises all features and functionalities required to complete an application whereas scripting language takes care of all the developer’s day to day tasks.

A wide range of web template systems, web content management systems, eCommerce applications and web frameworks can be created, once PHP is embedded into the HTML code. 

Due to its ability to easily connect with MySQL, Oracle and other databases; it turns out to be quite a friendly language. And since you are reading this, we assume that you might have spent enough time reading about JavaScript, So there is no denying that PHP and JavaScript are familiar, just their ways are different. 

The Importance of PHP Web Development

There is no denying the fact that developing a website has become a priority these days to business on the internet. When you settle on making an online presence the number of innovation decisions before you can appear to be quite confounding. Therefore, the site must be quick stacking, simple to explore and furthermore versatile. Let us focus on how using PHP can be beneficial-

  • Linux, Windows, are some common platforms on which PHP runs
  • Easy function method and syntax of this language
  • Supports DBMS and other open-source databases 
  • Support Oracle, MySQL, Sybase, etc
  • Compatible with open-source software integration, like Joomla, OsCommerce, TYPO3, Drupal etc. 
  • Compatible with the servers like IIS, Apache etc.
  • Offers comparable efficiency and usability when used for website development.
  • Websites load at a faster pace  
  • It is compatible with UNIX, Windows etc and also has the ability to upload into HTML
  • Every website based on PHP is easy to customize, design, develop and modify.

Now, this was for PHP developers. It’s time to consider the significance of PHP development for businesses.

Why Do Businesses Prefer PHP Development? 

  1. Flexibility – One of the best advantages of using PHP is flexibility. Whether you are working on UNIX or Linux or Windows or even macOS nothing can stop you. It may quite interest you to know that this language supports almost every server and over 20 databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, maybe that’s why it is supported by most of the companies by creating cross-platform applications.    
  2. Open Source Management – You no need to pay any kind of license fee or downloading fee, a website/ a stunning website can be created with the help of reliable PHP developers at affordable rates. PHP is also one of the most adopted Open Source solutions by many different technologies as well.

    Make sure to choose professionals who won’t just create a website for you but are also capable of enhancing it. Thus, businesses especially startups endure using PHP-based websites and applications.
  3. Rapid development & maintenance – Of course, another major advantage is to save time and effort. One no longer requires to get into in-depth coding and development every time they take a new PHP website development project. Built-in with functions like HTML, nothing can stop you from receiving an performance enhanced product.  
  4. High customer retention – Fast page load speed is very crucial for current and potential audiences. Also, this plays a crucial role when retaining customers. An average human attention span is 6-8 seconds so it is very important to have a website that not just loads in the span of milliseconds but also grabs the attention of the end user. Moreover, due to its fast data processing features and smooth integration with other CMS (especially WordPress), one can experience a quick turnaround time. 
  5. Security – What if you as a businessperson can get assured of the security of your website? It will be like the cherry on the cake, isn’t it? When compared to other scripting languages, PHP is one such technology that offers high-end security. Time to get rid of unwanted threats. Also, the 24/7 available support from the large community turns out to be a great help. 
Hire Php Developer

PHP’s 7.4 version and 5.6 version has been used by almost all websites. This brings us to why should one update PHP versions.

PHP Versions
Image Source – W3Techs
  • Security – All the updated versions are fully supported and patched on a regular basis. 
  • Performance – After the release of PHP 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4, we have witnessed a huge performance. 
  • Support -Ordinarily, engineers of plugins can just broaden back support for more older versions up until this point. With the inception of PHP 7.4, the issue has been resolved. 
  • Embrace new features – Combined comparison operator, Null coalesce, operator, New type hinting, iterable and void returns, negative string offsets, weak references, covariant returns and new custom object serialization mechanism are some of best features one should be looking forward to. 

Introducing PHP 7.4 

Like we said before, PHP keeps on evolving time and again and now it’s time to welcome the latest enhancement in the PHP development realm, version 7.4. All the previous releases were about enhancing performance and improving the speed. And the most preferred feature among PHP developers is the one which assists in speeding up the process of script execution known as preloading. In a nutshell, you get nothing less than faster and cleaner code.

PHP Test Result
Image Source – OpenBenchmarking.org

The above graph comprises all the benchmark tests done on both the new and old versions of PHP. Ease of use, speed, and performance are some of the best criterias on which these tests are being conducted.

Do you have any idea which is your current PHP version? If not, go to the Hosting tab and see the PHP version (it will be seen on the left side of the panel. Make sure that it’s not anything less than 7.4. After all, it’s the best one we have till date!  

What’s New in PHP 7.4?

Arrow function’s Support

Now as you all know that anonymous functions, or closures, are mainly applied in JS whereas they might be a bit verbose when it comes to PHP. Extreme levels of readability and simplicity can be achieved when PHP developers use the 7.4 version. Also, With the Arrow Function’s Support, one can make the syntax more concise by cleaning up their code.

So, if you previously had to write this piece of code:

function cube($n){
return ($n * $n * $n);
}
$a = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
$b = array_map('cube', $a);
print_r($b);

With PHP 7.4, you will be able to rewrite it in the following way:

$a = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];
$b = array_map(fn($n) => $n * $n * $n, $a);
print_r($b);

See, what we are trying to say about the code – short and cleaner!

Weak References 

Here you will find a weak references class. Before we delve deeper, please bear this in mind that there is a difference between weak reference classes and class WeakRed or the weakref extension.

Anything that allows a programmer to recall a reference to an object is known as Weak References. Now why one should use this because it doesn’t prevent the object from destroying. 

WeakReference {
/* Methods */
public __construct ( void )
public static create ( object $referent ) : WeakReference
public get ( void ) : ?object
}

Numeric Literal Separator

Another interesting feature that emphasizes on improving code readability. Here programmers can literally separate groups of digits without even changing their values.

Preloading 

The main objective behind incorporating this feature, in particular, is performance. The process of loading files, frameworks and libraries in OPcache is what preloading is all about.

Due to this feature, the server is able to load the specified bunch of code files into shared memory. This is not a one-time show but available for all subsequent requests.

Typed Properties 

Most of the PHP developers used to miss this one in particular. The wait is finally over! Gone all the days when we were compelled to enforce type contracts by creating getter and setter methods. Also, there is a facility to declare the type of static facilities.

Throwing exceptions from __toString()

Yes, there was no such facility before for throwing exceptions from the _toString method. But not any more. 

Is anything being depreciated?

Of course, yes!

  • Curly braces used syntax is deprecated. $var{$idx} is now $var[$idx]
  • array_key_exist() and Magic quotes functions
  • (real) cast and is_real() function
  • Unbinding $this of a non-static closure that uses $this
  • Parent keyword inside class without parent
  • allow_url_include INI
  • Multibyte String
  • All the passing parameters in reverse order

So that’s all for now! Continue watching the space for more data and updates in the PHP development realm.

More Blog Post on PHP
Things to Look Before Hiring PHP Developer
Basic difference in Web Development with Core PHP and PHP Frameworks

Comments

  • Leave a message...

Related Posts
blog-related-post
ASP.NET vs PHP: What to Choose for Web Development
August 31, 2020
blog-related-post
Why Startups should prefer PHP for Web Development
August 6, 2020
blog-related-post
Laravel vs CakePHP: What to Choose for Web Development
July 31, 2020