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PHP Programming

PHP 4 End of Life Announcement 125

Posted by Zonk
from the sniffle dept.
perbert writes "The PHP development team has announced that support for PHP 4 will continue until the end of this year only. After 2007-12-31 there will be no more releases of PHP 4.4. Critical security fixes will be made available on a case-by-case basis until 2008-08-08. For documentation on migration for PHP 4 to PHP 5, there is a migration guide. There is additional information available in the PHP 5.0 to PHP 5.1 and PHP 5.1 to PHP 5.2 migration guides as well."
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PHP 4 End of Life Announcement

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  • Re:Thank God (Score:5, Informative)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday July 14, 2007 @02:22AM (#19857327) Homepage
    You'd be surprised how many shared web-hosts are still out there running ancient and unpatched PHP versions. Partly out of laziness and partly out of an unwillingness to make their customers work on their equally ancient applications. register_globals being enabled can be one of the least security concerns there.

    See also http://gophp5.org/ [gophp5.org]
  • by panaceaa (205396) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @04:24AM (#19857831) Homepage Journal
    PHP began as a hacky side project of a lone developer (Rasmus Lerdorf). I'm not wholly aware of the details, but my understanding is that Rasmus was a Perl coder and wanted to generate minorly dynamic web pages by putting Perl-like code inside of his HTML. As the capabilities of his technology grew, he released it as an open source project, and due to its extreme ease of use it quickly turned into a popular web development language.

    The reason PHP5 could not continue backward compatability is because of its roots: It was designed to be EASY. In the first few releases, there wasn't serious thought put into making a proper software development language. But as web pages became more complex, soft typing, lack of proper scope, and lack of OOP patterns made developing complex PHP applications a world of horror. In addition, concepts like putting all query parameters into the scope of the program, which made developing simple applications easy, created a difficult situation for those trying to make complex applications secure. So to remove these security problems, and to remain relevant by providing richer programming constructs like classes, PHP had to break backwards compatibility.

    And while Java is mostly backwards compatible, the technologies for developing Java on the web have changed dramatically. Originally, JSP developers would put Java code right in their HTML! Today this is highly frowned upon (though backward compatible). So developers switched to JSP tags, such as the JSP Standard Tag Library, which coincidentally enough aren't backward compatible between versions. If you're running a Java app server, you'll definitely run into problems when upgrading WebSphere, WebLogic or Tomcat, due to updated tag libraries and other JARs being incompatible with their previous versions. These problems aren't as bad as porting your average PHP app from PHP4 to PHP5, but upgrading versions not a straight-forward process with either programming language.

    Stepping back, PHP is in a pretty similar spot to Visual Basic. VB.NET is wholely incompatible with VB6. Microsoft has announced a dropping of support for VB6. However, half of VB developers still program in VB6. Many VB programmers don't understand VB.NET's features, and hence are quite reluctant to move to VB.NET (and they're probably angry, too). And most existing VB6 code would nearly require a complete rewrite to get running in VB.NET. What might just happen is that Microsoft and PHP will have to continue supporting their legacy versions or simply lose beginning programmers as customers. Microsoft will probably continue to end-of-life VB6, but I believe they will release a language highly similar to VB6 that's easier to move over to. It will be interesting to see whether PHP follows a similar path or just leaves its developers to either learn PHP5 or move to another webby language, like Python.
  • Translation (Score:3, Informative)

    by a16 (783096) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @04:30AM (#19857859)

    cry me a river? upgrading pains are a part of the IT industry, people need to either accept this or get out.
    Maybe so, but let me translate what you just said slightly:

    cry me a river? upgrading pains are a part of the IT industry, my customers need to either accept this or go to a host that hasn't upgraded yet, and stop paying me money.
    I'm guessing you aren't running a business...

    I work for a reasonably large hosting company that held off until a few months ago to announce that we're going to PHP5 in a few weeks. Before this point, we'd had a steady trickle of 1-2 customers a month asking when we are going to PHP5. Since the announcement, we've had up to 4-5 customers a week complaining that they will leave if we dare upgrade, they can't stand companies that change things for the sake of upgrading, etc. etc. The fact is that there are a *lot* of small business websites, designed for them by some employee x years ago, which will break when we go V5 (heck, even disabling register globals screws up most of these client sites) and the customer has no employees capable of fixing it. We've been helping customers with extra hand-holding when it comes to ensuring they will be ok, but it is costing us time to support these customers, and a reasonable percentage will simply leave us a week before the swap.

    I really do believe their will be massive demand for a PHP 4 only reliable host rolling their own security updates, after end of life. I know a reasonable percentage of our client base that would likely consider them...
  • finally! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Spliffster (755587) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @06:48AM (#19858485) Homepage Journal
    This is a great move I think. php 5 has been out for years, superior and pretty backward compatible to php 4. Many problems in the past with 4.3/4.4 and 5.0/5.1 releases have happend due to the backward compatibility of php 5. I hope this will ease development and result in a robuster solution.

    Becasue php5 is already in the wild for years and there is still more than a year of security updates available, I think there should be time enough for migration to php5. I is also not too hard to migrate, I have done this in the last 1-2 years on many sites. There are some really annoying changes in php 5 but the php guys have documented it well [1].

    Using the "Migrating from PHP 4 to PHP 5"[2] Documentation was very helpfull and it turned out to be pretty easy (except for scripts/applications which were already ported from php 3 and still were using php 4 backward compatibility "features").

    1) http://www.php.net/manual/en/migration5.incompatib le.php [php.net]
    2) http://www.php.net/manual/en/migration5.php#migrat ion5.changes [php.net]
  • by yelvington (8169) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @07:48AM (#19858761) Homepage
    Coinciding with this announcement is the launch of a campaign to switch major PHP-based Web applications to PHP5-only support. The GoPHP5.org [gophp5.org] website has details.

    Projects supporting this move have pledged that by Feb. 5, 2008, they will no longer accept PHP4-specific changes in their codebase and that all future upgrades will assume PHP5 availability.

    This doesn't mean they are rewriting all their code to OOP-style, or that they will end legacy version support for security patches, et cetera. What it means is that the developers are liberated from having to code around PHP4's limitations and can take advantage of PHP5 features for all future enhancements.

    Often something that might require hundreds of lines of code in PHP4 can be done with just a few in PHP5. The SimpleXML parser is probably the best example.

    Application teams already on board for this switch include Drupal, phpMyAdmin, Typo3, Symphony, Gallery, DeskPRO, and many others. Several major projects not yet committed are known to be preparing to do so.

    This is most important to hosting companies as a signal that robust PHP5 support is a requirement going forward.
  • by mrdaveb (239909) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @08:13AM (#19858907) Homepage

    PHP3 to PHP4 was also a big jump. But if you actually look at the backwards incompatibility list [php.net] between PHP4 and PHP5, it is a very short list of very minor tweaks. I can say with a very good level of confidence that they aren't going affect me at all! OK, I can say this because I already switched, but you see my point.

    There have been big steps forward 'under the hood' and with the new object orientation and better scoping... but this is basically all new stuff. Nothing widely used has been removed. I think they will start carefully stripping out the cruft for PHP6

  • Re:Thank God (Score:2, Informative)

    by flight_master (867426) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:17AM (#19859511)
    I am the owner of a shared hosting provider, and partially I need to rebuke your statement.
    Sure, most of our systems do run on the latest LAMP stack (Apache 2, MySQL 5, PHP 5), however we still have some systems runnning PHP4, as clients insist on using old software like phpBB (for example) that doesn't run at all on version 5. Not to mention, those of us who use cPanel need to wait for them to get the entire system stable before we can upgrade.

    This combines well for us though - we announced that PHP4 support will officially end September 30th of this year :-D Now we have a reason to say that too.
  • Re:Thank God (Score:5, Informative)

    by NeoThermic (732100) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @10:28AM (#19859597) Homepage Journal
    For those using phpBB2, as long as you're not using an obscure PHP5 config, it will work fine. We just don't officially support it as phpBB2 was written for PHP3 and PHP4 only (since those were the only versions out when it was released). Or, get them to move over to phpBB3, which not only supports PHP4 and PHP5, but will actually run on PHP6-dev versions. (Although if you're running -dev on a live server...)

    NeoThermic
  • by sgtrock (191182) on Saturday July 14, 2007 @11:08AM (#19859883)

    If you're interested in Python Web development, you'll find a host of network and Web specific frameworks. I suggest checking out Twisted [twistedmatrix.com], Zope [zope.org], Plone [plone.org], and Django [djangoproject.com] for examples. You may also find some other goodies when you explore the Python Cheese Shop [python.org].

    Of course, no mention of Python can pass by without someone bringing up Ruby on Rails, so I'll just do that right now. :) However, I have no experience with it whatsoever, so I'll withhold any opinion.

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