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The Future Of PHP

Posted by on March 12, 2010

There’s been a significant decision reached recently concerning the future of PHP, in particular for the development of PHP 6. Yesterday, the PHP Internals group reached what seems to be a tentative agreement to postpone implementation of a Unicode PHP engine, and instead focus on developing PHP 5.3 as the main PHP development branch.

This is a significant shift in thinking. Previously, the focus of PHP 6, in large part, was to be on the implementation of the PHP engine as a Unicode-compliant engine. However, recently development on PHP 6 had stalled, and this had prompted some people to question whether or not such a plan was a wise one.

The plan at this point will be to branch the current trunk (PHP 6) into it’s own development branch. PHP 5.3 will then be merged into the trunk, and some of the features from PHP 6 will be added (like the removal of register_globals, for example). Development will continue in order to bring PHP to a stable, releasable next iteration.

In the meantime, the PHP Internals group will begin a discussion to determine what Unicode implementation satisfies the needs and desires of the majority of the group. Right now there are a number of great ideas that are more palatable to many members of the PHP community, about the type of Unicode support that PHP should offer, and one or more of these proposals is likely to gain enough traction to make it into the final version of PHP 6.

The future version of PHP is still very much up in the air, but it looks as though the internals group has made significant progress at moving development forward. While the features may ultimately change between now and the release of PHP 6, it’s a safe bet to assume there will be continued innovation for some time to come.

Marco is the keeper of keys and Chief Garbage Collector at Blue Parabola. He can be found on Twitter as @mtabini.
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Responses and Pingbacks

So glad to here this. I appreciate you shedding some light on the evolution of PHP. We have been using it for years and plan to continue.

I don’t really think it’s a good news. What it means is that unicode development have failed to some extent and future of its code base is uncertain.

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