Like many other efficient programming languages, PHP has gained for itself a reputation. Today PHP is one of the most popular languages in the world. Nearly 80 percent of the web is driven by the PHP, its most notable and widely used contenders being Facebook, Wikipedia, WordPress.com etc.
Multiple versions of PHP have been launched since its initial release in 1994. The most recent upgrade being PHP 7. First released in 2015, the latest edition vastly outperforms its predecessors in ways that we will be discussing in this article.
Before we start with the features of PHP7 developments and what makes it better than the rest, let’s address the false notion common among the ordinary people. People normally think that these tech innovations are useful only for tech professionals be it programmers or IT specialists, whereas PHP7 has time to time displayed its key to success for the enterprises too.
With php7, you can create high-quality, well-functioning websites for your business firms be it a start-up or a well-established firm. With its excellent performance, PHP allows you to serve multiple users concurrently without adding any additional hardware. This makes PHP the first choice of many successful enterprises around the world to run their business in the online sphere.
THE LEAP FROM PHP5 TO PHP7:
The year 2004 marks the release of PHP 5.x series. After over a decade we went from version 5to version 7. But was there an intermediate release? Well, there was an attempt to the release PHP 6 series during the period 2005 – 2010, but the project never took off the ground. Even the books and explanatory articles were written on how to work with PHP6 at some point between those years, but the project ultimately failed due to some complex issues and the version was thereby never officially launched.
WHY PHP 7 OUTPERFORMS THE PREVIOUS VERSIONS?
The conversion from PHP 5 to PHP 7 is characterized by remarkable performance improvements thanks to its powerful newly redesigned engine – the Zend Engine.
The engine was first introduced in the 5th version, it is however redesigned to uplift the performance by multiple times in this newer version. The advantage of 7th version over the past ones can be broadly summed up in the following points:
- Quick website response, the speed is increased by 2-3 times.
- This version is memory friendly, with about 30-50 percent improvements in the memory consumption.
- With its Ability to serve multiple concurrent users, it can now handle up to 3 times as many requests per second.
A LOOK AT EXCLUSIVE FEATURES:
1. The new Zend Engine:
The Zend Engine II when first introduced in the previous PHP 5 versions improved its functionality and also added an extensible object model. PHP 7, however, has a completely new designed version called PHP # NG or the Next Generation. Not only does it forces your source code to run faster, thereby delivering speed, it also helps you to reduce the number of servers required to serve the same number of clients anyway.
2. Error processing:
The error processing was a big problem for the PHP coders due to the poor mechanism of error messaging in the previous versions. This issue has now been resolved in the newer version. Now one can even replace the errors with exceptions. However, if your programme fails to catch the exception, it will be eventually converted to a fatal error and will be processed the same way as the errors were in previous PHP versions.
3. Available on 64-bit Windows systems:
The traditional environment of PHP is Linux, thus the previous versions like the 5.x series were not equipped for the Windows 64 bit systems. It was thus not possible to run the previous versions on those systems. PHP 7 has however resolved this problem by providing a consistent 64-bit support. Therefore one can now use it on both Linux or the Windows environment with ease.
4. Backward Compatibility:
One of the reasons why there has been a slow transition from PHP 5 to PHP 7 is its compatibility issues. Before switching to version 7, one should check for the compatibility issues of their website because once you switch you cannot pull out as it is not backward compatible. This is why making the move to PHP 7 is a big decision and is considered as an elective and not mandatory.
HOW TO CHECK IF YOUR WEBSITE IS READY FOR THE LEAP TO PHP 7?
If you’re looking for some serious performance gains in the form of speedy response, efficient memory utilization etc. Then PHP 7 is for you. Switching to it is something you should definitely consider. However, before upgrading your site to PHP 7 one should check the compatibility which largely depends on themes and plugins. You can use the ’’PHP Compatibility Checker plugin” to check your site’s compatibility. It helps you detect what parts of your site are compatible with PHP 7 and which aren’t.
How To SWITCH TO PHP 7?
Upgrading to PHP 7 is simple. You can simply contact your hosting company and ask them to upgrade your account. However for this to function your hosting company should themselves use PHP7 too. While some companies offer smooth transition some might take time, you can switch you hosting platform accordingly. Because of a large number of advantages PHP 7 offers, the companies are switching to this new trend and thus implementing this technology won’t be very difficult.
If you self-administrate your website, then you can carry out the upgrade yourself using the command line. Just make sure that your site is compatible with this update and you will be good to go. However, as a precautionary step, creating a back up for your website is also recommended.
Now to wrap up this discussion, one should keep in mind that upgrading your site to this latest version of PHP is a smart move, one that will benefit you in a number of ways. However if not carried out with the above-mentioned precautions it might result in some noncomprehending loss. PHP 7 has proved its potential among those who have adopted it, and as for the future it something you should definitely consider for your enterprise.
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