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Why the PHP7 release matters

December 14, 2015

Jakub Wawszczyk
Jakub
Jakub is a passionate web developer. He spends his time building beautiful, performance driven web experiences in the digital sector.

In this blog I discuss why the PHP7 release is important to web professionals and web users.

“PHP is a popular general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited to web development. Fast, flexible and pragmatic, PHP powers everything from your blog to the most popular websites in the world.” PHP.net

The first week of December 2015 saw a release of the new version of PHP, PHP7. All of the sites our web development team builds at CandidSky are constructed using PHP, the language powers the majority of our back-end functionality. WordPress, one of the most popular open source web frameworks, and one we use frequently, is also written using PHP.

Performance

One of the most noticeable differences has been the boost in performance. PHP’s core has been revised and updated bringing it in line with current programming standards. The increase in performance is due to better usage of processing and memory thanks to the rewriting of the languages engine. This is crucial to most frameworks, such as WordPress, where a lot of functionality is dependent on a fast ‘engine’ to process data and ensure that a website is served to a user in the shortest time possible.

Internet speed has been steadily increasing over the past few years. It is important for a language to stay up to date with increased speed to ensure that it does not become the source of any bottlenecks when loading pages. Although smaller websites may not notice the same performance improvements as the larger builds, any project employing PHP as its core language will benefit from the improvements made to process and memory.

php7_logo

Consistency is king

Developers spend most of their time programming. I am yet to meet a developer who doesn’t enjoy programming purely for the process itself. It’s our job on one hand, but our passion on the other. Whether it’s thinking through logic on paper or a whiteboard, or coding on computers, the tools we use have a significant impact on our everyday lives.

One of the key improvements that will have a positive impact on developers is the increased consistency of PHP7. Better consistency means writing code becomes more intuitive. A useful comparison to understand this is Apple and what they have successfully achieved with their operating system iOS. It has been adopted by a tribe of loyal brand advocates because of it’s consistency, resulting in a more intuitive experience for the user. The iPhone seems familiar to users as soon as they pick one up and actions do not seem like a hassle to perform. Each new release does not mean another steep learning curve. If anything, it makes us feel like we’ve longed for a newly added feature that we couldn’t quite see we needed.

So, why does PHP7 release really matter?

Once a website is ported to the new release, which will mean some code rewriting and a lot of testing to make sure there is no unexpected issues, we’ll see a boost in performance for the user, and developers will receive the gift of an improved programming experience.  It’s a win-win situation!

We’re excited about web technologies and aim to be best at what we do. Our dev team has been busy in the last few months, learning about the new additions and recently attending the PHP North West conference, which had a heavy focus on the long-awaited release of PHP7.

As the year is coming to an end, we’re looking back at the highlights of 2015, the release of PHP7 is definitely up there as one of our favourites.

You can connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn  to chat further.

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