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PHP Programming Software IT Technology

Official Support For PHP 4 Ends 245

Da Massive writes with this excerpt from ComputerWorld: "For a technology that has been in stable release since May 22, 2000, PHP 4 has finally reached the end of its official life. With the release of PHP 4.4.9, official support has ended and the final security patch for the platform issued. ...With eight years of legacy code out there, it is likely that there are going to be a fairly large number of systems that will not migrate to PHP 5 in the near future, and a reasonable proportion of those that will not make the migration at all. For those who are not able to migrate their systems to the new version of PHP, noted PHP security expert Stefan Esser will continue to provide third party security patching for the PHP 4 line through his Suhosin product."
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Official Support For PHP 4 Ends

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  • Re:wow FUDSTER (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 10, 2008 @10:29PM (#24551329)
    and yet when microsoft does it there are howls from the idiot gallery that get modded insightful. when it happens with php the same posts get modded as flamebait. very poor trolling indeed.
  • Good News/Bad News (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SirLurksAlot ( 1169039 ) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @10:31PM (#24551343)

    The bad news: Lots of unsupported legacy code in the wild.

    The good news: Any conversion that needs to happen means more work for developers all around! Yay for a paycheck!

    Seriously though, PHP4 was fine for what it was, but it definitely had its drawbacks. Poor object support, poor error handling (No try..catch blocks? Seriously?), no type-hinting, no foreach statement, etc. PHP5 is so much easier to work with, and honestly most sites should've made the switch a few years back if they haven't already.

  • Fact check please? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jack9 ( 11421 ) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @10:35PM (#24551363)

    With eight years of legacy code out there, it is likely that there are going to be a fairly large number of systems that will not migrate to PHP 5 in the near future, and a reasonable proportion of those that will not make the migration at all.

    I question the validity of these assumptions. My first salaried job was programming PHP/FI 2 (1998). I cannot find a single product I have been involved with or even used in the past (which contains PHP code), that hasn't upgraded. Systems written in PHP could only benefit from the improvements in 5 and there's almost nothing written in PHP that's so critical* that it wouldn't be upgraded by the current developers or new developers trained in 5.

    *This is both a side effect of the language design and the people who write it.

    Can someone give some examples of products stuck in 4.0?

  • by sabernet ( 751826 ) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @10:37PM (#24551383) Homepage

    Where did you get your php info? foreach was introduced in PHP4, eval as well for error catching.

    The object support was nasty, but still better then the pseudo-object crap that perl has. Neither has private objects and vars outside of normal scoping but at least php didn't require passing extra arguments and shifting them out via a pseudo-constructor.

    Also, you could type cast in php4 as well.

  • by brianez21 ( 945805 ) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @10:54PM (#24551483) Journal

    And python on the web? No thanks.

    FYI - Google uses Python extensively on the web.

  • You know what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ambush Commander ( 871525 ) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @10:56PM (#24551491)

    You know what? I'm sick and tired of the fact that every PHP related post to Slashdot ends up sludgefest of old jokes, one-line jabs at PHP, and misinformation.

    Official ending of PHP4 support is a big thing in the PHP community. If you're a reader of Planet-PHP, you'll know this; for almost all of 08/08/08 there was nothing but end-of-life celebrations from the bloggers. The community has done an exceptional job at getting developers, open-source projects and hosters alike to migrate to PHP5 for such a heavily used language. And we will have to surmount even bigger difficulties for PHP6 and Unicode, which unlike PHP5, breaks backwards compatibility with any project that treats strings as binary data. Migrating PHP4 to PHP5 is not difficult; often it's as simple as an edit to the server migration. PHP6 will definitely demand code changes.

    For those of us who use and "have to deal with" (yes, we have our annoyances too) with PHP on a daily basis, this is good news. For the rest of you, please contribute something meaningful, or forever hold your peace.

  • by XorNand ( 517466 ) * on Sunday August 10, 2008 @11:07PM (#24551525)
    So you're not personally familiar with python-based web development. There are a great many people out there that are though: Django [], Pythons [], Turbogears [], Zope [] are all great places to start.
  • by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <> on Sunday August 10, 2008 @11:26PM (#24551605) Homepage

    I went to PHP5 quite a while back. I started with 4 and had already been programing nice (long tags in html, program with globals off, etc.) so there was no issue for me, everything just worked on 5. I do have one script I found on sourceforge (dead project) that doesn't work on 5, probably used something deprecated from 3 slated for removal after 4. I don't expect conversion of that to be too serious either.

    I think a lot of the FUD is being placed on ISPs who run PHP4 servers and may have outdated cpanels or other pre-set PHP apps. I would think maybe a weeks worth of work for most mom and pops to get the upgrade complete (a lot it setting up automating on any data upgrade conversions) but it's surely not the end of the world.

  • Go PHP 5! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrouchoMarx ( 153170 ) on Sunday August 10, 2008 @11:28PM (#24551617) Homepage

    For those wondering how many projects will be left out in the cold, here's your answer: []

    Over 100 PHP projects and products and over 200 web hosts that have been committed to PHP 5.2 and no earlier for over a year. GoPHP5 launched before the PHP development team announced an EOL for PHP 4. While I don't believe for a second that it was the only reason they made that decision, I also don't believe for a second that it didn't have a big influence on it.

    The push to drop PHP 4 support came from people using PHP in production in the first place. Those of us who get paid to write PHP code are cheering at the top of our lungs, because now we can actually get real work done.

    Go PHP 5!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2008 @12:08AM (#24551821)

    I sell PHP scripts, and I'd estimate 30-50% of my customers are still using PHP 4. Many of them have told me they tried PHP 5, but it broke some other ancient script they were using. Or some are still using four year old versions of my scripts and refuse to update.

    The users aren't programmers. You can't tell them it's easy to fix the little problems in their legacy scripts, because they struggle to upload files, let alone write code. They're going to stick with PHP 4 until they're dragged forward kicking and screaming... and even then they'll probably just switch to a web host that offers PHP 4.

    As a result, even if I optimize for PHP 5 I have to keep compatibility with PHP 4 indefinitely in order to avoid losing customers.

  • Re:Obligatory post (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WhyMeWorry ( 982235 ) on Monday August 11, 2008 @12:27AM (#24551891)
    Copiers would be a better term. The original article has the same problem. What was their excuse?
  • Migration woes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 11, 2008 @01:49AM (#24552337)

    I see a lot of people saying that they're surprised anyone's still using PHP 4, when PHP 5 has been out for so long. Well, I can guarantee you there's a lot of legacy PHP 4 codebases out there; converting to 5 is not always as easy as going over what's in the migration page on []. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude, we have tends of thousands of code files spread across numerous systems; our live web pool is around 100 machines, and we cannot take the website down in order to update it. (I can't tell you why.) So updates have to be made live. We don't have a proper staging environment, either, but we have come up with a number of (horrible) mechanisms for dealing with this situation.

    In our particular (unfortunate) case, we had about half a dozen custom PHP extensions that were all written by our former CTO, who left the company about a year and a half ago. He wasn't really big into documentation, and our technical management was very poor; we had a guy go through our 65,000-file codebase and make all the little tweaks necessary for a vanilla 4-to-5 migration, but it took us six months of wrangling with all these extensions to get them to work well under 5.1 (we're still having trouble with 5.2).

    Plus, it's not just a matter of dealing with the technology; like a lot of companies, management here doesn't like to put resources into things that don't have visible benefits -- and cleaning up the codebase/rebuilding the dev environment just isn't something they see a lot of value in. (We've finally convinced them it's important and needs to be done; we're operating without source control for about 99% of our code. YES, I KNOW.) We didn't even seriously start pushing to get things up to PHP 5 until January, and it took until July to actually make it happen.

    The point is, mismanagement and bad development environment/codebase design early on (several years ago) have meant that we're upgrading to PHP 5 years later than we should have. It's not that we didn't know how to do it once we decided to.

  • Re:OOP is Overyped (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daemonburrito ( 1026186 ) on Monday August 11, 2008 @01:53AM (#24552365) Journal

    OOP is not overhyped. Just misunderstood. PHP4's object model really was a bit nasty, as evidenced by the projects that jumped into using it before they understood how it was meant to work (e.g., oscommerce).

    Decent example of php5 (zf, in fact) e-commerce (bleh): Magento [], 2008 sourceforge best new project.

    The reason that there is a lot of procedural php4 code out there is that the older api's don't make sense in php5's paradigm. With the millions of people used to writing to api's like Drupal's or Wordpress's, the change was glacial.

    But it is totally clear: PHP5 better than PHP4. OOP good.

    Note: I am a former Dijkstra devotee. I've heard every argument you can imagine against OOP.

  • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) on Monday August 11, 2008 @01:57AM (#24552379) Homepage

    Please don't let anyone get away with calling the internet the cloud!

    Traditionally, when network engineers and administrators draw diagrams of networks, they represent the connection to the Internet as a big bumpy object not unlike a child's drawing of a cloud. I have heard old hackers who used to work in the telecommunications industry during the 80's and 70's describe this object as 'the cloud', meaning the Internet.

    This term predates the current usage by several decades, and is in fact the source of the current usage

    This is a gentle but pedantic reminder that, if you're going to make an absolute assertion, make sure it is the correct assertion.

    I know where the term came from, that's one of the reasons I find it so annoying. :-(

    We don't call resistors "jagged lines" and inductors "curly loops", so why call the internet "the cloud"?
    It isn't actually a cloud, and saying "cloud" isn't any shorter or clearer than "internet" (in fact less clear).

    It's just a new IT business fad which lets IT staff make something familiar sound new, I think.

  • by daemonburrito ( 1026186 ) on Monday August 11, 2008 @01:59AM (#24552389) Journal

    Even though it's a shit language, I always thought it had a certain charm in its crudeness and the fact that there's a (redundant) function for everything imaginable.

    Does not compute. If you are using PHP5 to its potential, then most of your coding should be abstracted away from the old built-in (and inconsistently named) functions. You should never have to touch them.

    PHP5 is not a shit language, in any way, and it even manages to be a superset to the older versions (which were, admittedly, crude).

  • Re:OOP is Overhyped (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday August 11, 2008 @02:03AM (#24552411) Journal

    Decent example of php5 (zf, in fact) e-commerce (bleh): Magento, 2008 sourceforge best new project.

    What specifically does OO make better about it? What's an example?

    Note: I am a former Dijkstra devotee. I've heard every argument you can imagine against OOP.

    That would make you well suited to describe and illustrate what changed your mind. Dijkstra was mostly pre-relational, so he may hold a RAM-centric view of data structures. OO is missing a foundation in set theory, and this is what relational adds. OO is anti-set IMO, and this is largely why it bothers me. It's also anti declarative for the most part. Declarative and set theory is a good thing, at least it better fits the way I think (model the app world). OOP is also too pointer-centric, creating a big messy RAM graph.

  • Re:OOP is Overhyped (Score:5, Interesting)

    by daemonburrito ( 1026186 ) on Monday August 11, 2008 @02:53AM (#24552663) Journal

    What specifically does OO make better about it? What's an example?

    There are many 1000+ page books on the subject. I think this question is beyond the scope of a slashdot comment. But, as a taste: More literate and intuitive api's. Type safety. MVC.

    Specifically about Magento: It uses a framework that has been systematically tested (another advantage of oop) and is based on the MVC + Front Controller paradigm for web apps. It went from whiteboard to working in 3 months. It's simple to extend.

    Regarding what changed my mind about OOP: I learned to use OOP techniques. I never had any negative feelings towards OOP, I was just in love with single-in/single-out purity of the old ways.

    OOP is great for my shop. Of course you can accomplish the same result, theoretically, with any two complete languages/paradigms. The question is whether you want anyone else to read your code (or whether you want to be able to read it in 6 months), how long you want to take writing/researching it, what your requirements are for code quality, and what kind of environment you want to work in if you're on a team. Obviously, if it's just you and you have eternity to write and debug your application, then oop doesn't offer any advantages.

    My advice is just to try it out. You can use your Dijkstra-fu inside of methods and in novel data structures, while at the same time experiencing the convenience and consistency of magic axiomatic things like "programming to an interface." It took me a few months of mind-destroying pain to change the way I built a program, but it is very much worth it. Apologies if you've heard this advice before.

    Btw, you sound like you probably know a lot more about Djikstra than I do. :) There are so many ways... OOP is now just a another tool for me. The paradigm that has taken its place as my ocd target is functional languages like Haskell.

  • PHP 6? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thue ( 121682 ) on Monday August 11, 2008 @05:37AM (#24553297) Homepage

    I wonder when we will see PHP 6 (which will have unicode support).

    PHP 6 has been in development forever, but there doesn't seem to be any roadmap online that I can find.

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