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PHP 8 Launching Date Closing in Fast: What’s New in PHP 8?
PHP is among the most popular programming languages. Its application encompasses web applications, and both, static and dynamic websites. The acronym most frequently associated with PHP is Hypertext Pre-processor.
PHP is an open-source and a general-purpose programming language. One of the key benefits offered by PHP is that it can be embedded in Hyper-Text Markup Language (HTML). A PHP web developer is hence empowered to use HTML for the front end of their websites, while they use PHP for the back end. PHP manages how the domain runs over the server.
PHP 8 is all set to release later this year. This is great news for the PHP website development community. They have a chance at fine-tuning their PHP skills before PHP 8 is released. This will put them at an advantage when PHP 8 is released.
Let us take a look at the features we can look forward to when PHP 8 is released:
1. JIT Compiler
Just-in-time (JIT) compiler is among the top upgrades that the PHP web development community has been looking forward to for long. JIT compiler can potentially speed up the execution time for PHP. With the JIT compiler in use, PHP will become a direct competitor of offline languages, such as Python. JIT compiler will make PHP as powerful as Python.
Overall, the JIT compiler will enhance the usability and performance of PHP. A compiler is a must for PHP. PHP, being an interpreted language, requires its codes to be translated into a language that other machines and the CPU can understand at runtime.
The introduction of the JIT compiler will speed up the translation processes. The compilation code will be executed at runtime, and the machine will not be required to interpret everything again. This will be more like a cached version of the code that has already been interpreted.
When PHP 8, featuring JIT is introduced, it will enhance the potential of PHP to be used at more places than ever before. Its utility for CPU intensive, non-web developments will enhance.
2. OPcache Extension
OPcache is an extension aimed at boosting the language’s performance. JIT compiles the translated code, and OPcache saves the script bycode in the shared memory.
Therefore, the need for the system to first load and then parse codes, each time when there is a request is done away with. Within this feature, the cached version prepared by the JIT compiler is stored.
Typically, the processes for PHP execution involve four steps:
Lexing – Lexing is sometimes known as tokenizing. A string of PHP source codes is turned into a string by this section. They further act as identifiers for a specific value.
Parsing – Thereafter, the inputs are taken by the language. These are the tokens derived from the first step. The validity of the token owner is confirmed through them.
In the Parsing stage, an abstract syntax tree (AST) is also generated, which is the source code’s overview. This is used in the following step.
Compilation – In the compilation stage, there is a recursive traversing of the AST. A few of the optimizations are also involved. This includes the resolution of functional calls with the use of literal arguments. Similarly, constant mathematical formulas are folded as well.
Execution – In the execution stage, the codes are interpreted by the system. The outputs are derived based upon PHP commands.
Upon enabling the OPcache extension, the PHP interpreter goes through the entire process just once. Thereafter, it is in shared memory that the compiled version is stored. It can be executed at any time upon request while bypassing the three stages.
The functionality of this feature is not limited to caching OPcodes. When it passes over the script, it optimizes the codes as well.
3. Union Types 2.0
In the upcoming PHP version PHP 8, an update for union types is also available. Using the same, developers are empowered to state a variable in multiple types.
When we consider the prior version, union types are specified in phpdoc annotations only.
However, PHP 8 will make support available for union types in function signatures. This will take away developers’ dependence on inline documentation. This function will instead now become definable through syntax.
Let’s take a look at a few of the primary benefits of supporting union types:
- types are enforced properly
- catching mistakes are easy to identify in the early development process
- odds of overlooking edge cases and displaying outdated information are lower
- Union types can be checked during inheritance
- Syntax provides more flexibility than phpdoc
4. Constructor Property Promotion
In terms of syntax, an important feature that PHP 8 will have is the Construction Property Promotion. This empowers the developers to access syntax that is updated and more concise. Property declaration hence becomes less redundant and more straightforward.
As of the current version, each of the properties should be repeated multiple times before being used with objects. They should furthermore be displayed with property assignment, constructor parameters, and property declaration.
This process had a need for improvement, particularly in the case of classes that have several properties and a large number of descriptive titles.
With the Constructor Property Promotion update, developers will have a shorter way for the promotion of properties. Being more readable, it mitigates the odds of errors. This is with the reduction in the boilerplate code that developers use for value objects.
5. Attributes v2
Attributes are sometimes known as annotations as well. They are metadata forms in a structured format and can be utilized for the verification of properties of various files, elements, and objects.
The new attributes that PHP will roll out will be addable to code declarations. This includes verifying constants, parameters, methods, functions, properties, and classes. The tags are placed before declarations. They may alternately precede or follow doc-block comments.
The PHP developer community is in anticipation of PHP 8 release. JIT compiler is cited to be the most looked forward to feature of the release. By collating a cached version of the code, the JIT compiler shortens translation and execution processes.
Among the other functions that are being awaited are more support for attributes, Constructor Property Promotion, Union Types 2.0, and OPcache extension.
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