PHP’s new avatar – PHP 5.3 is here!

PHP 5.3 was released not too long ago and the good news is that many of the features originally planned for PHP 6 have been back-ported to PHP 5.3.

Before we go ahead and dive into the technical details, let’s get you acquainted with what PHP is. PHP is a general-purpose server-side scripting language originally designed for Web development to produce dynamic Web pages.

What this means is that you need to have PHP enabled on your server for your web pages to load dynamically.

So what’s NEW in PHP 5.3?

There are a considerable number of key features that are included in the new update; making this release a major improvement over the 5.2 version

  • Support for namespaces
  • Late static binding
  • Lambda Functions and Closures
  • Support for jump labels
  • Under the hood performance improvements
  • Optional garbage collection for cyclic references
  • Optional mysqlnd PHP native replacement for libmysql
  • Improved Windows support including VC9 and experimental X64 binaries as well as portability to other supported platforms
  • More consistent float rounding
  • Several enhancements to enable more flexibility in php.ini
  • New bundled extensions: ext/phar, ext/intl, ext/fileinfo, ext/sqlite3, ext/enchant
  • Over 140 bug fixes and improvements to PHP, in particular to: ext/openssl, ext/spl and ext/date

This release also drops several extensions and unifies the usage of internal APIs.

Although most existing PHP 5 code should work without changes, you should probably keep the following backward incompatible changes in mind –

  • The newer internal parameter parsing API has been applied across all the extensions bundled with PHP 5.3.x. This parameter parsing API causes functions to return NULL when passed incompatible parameters.
  • clearstatcache() no longer clears the realpath cache by default.
  • The new mysqlnd library necessitates the use of MySQL 4.1′s newer 41-byte password format.
  • The trailing / has been removed from the SplFileInfo class and other related directory classes.

Too much information? Check out the official PHP site for more details.

How will this update affect me?

All the sites hosted with Host Byte now support PHP 5.3. Our servers are compatible with PHP 5.2, but you can request for PHP 5.3 to be installed and use the updated features

And all you Tech Geeks out there, give us your comments on PHP 5.3. What did you like about the update, what you didn’t like and what you’d like to see in the next update.