Introduction to PHP 8
PHP version 8 will be released on November 26, 2020.
The release of this major version means significant changes, new features but also performance improvements.
The development of PHP 8 is ongoing and has accelerated at the moment because its final release is closer and closer, especially since the release for the general public of its alpha 1.
In short, PHP 8 will bring its share of new features such as the JIT compiler for example, and many others.
Let’s see what this new version will bring by the end of the year
Top 5 Features of PHP 8 for Web Development
Let’s start by talking about the new features announced for this version 8 without forgetting that the latter is still in development, so this list may grow as the features are announced.
1. Union Types
Union types can be useful in a variety of cases and are a collection of two or more types that indicate that either can be used.
This will also allow several types to be defined for the arguments received by a function, as well as for the value it returns.
We are going to talk about the most acclaimed feature of this PHP version 8 is the just-in-time (JIT) compiler, which promises significant performance improvements. However, these improvements should not be very noticeable in the context of web requests.
To be more precise, the JIT translates the extreme parts of the intermediate code into machine code.
By bypassing compilation, it would be able to make huge improvements in performance and memory usage, thus allowing optimal use of PHP.
3. The OPcache Extension
Being an interpreted language, PHP needs an interpreter which leads to increased use of computer resources but also takes a lot of time.
CPU resources are often the most strained.
OPcache will overcome this concern because it will be able to improve the performance of PHP by allowing it not to load or even analyze for each request.
With the preloading, a new OPcache feature was added with PHP 7.4.
Storing a number of scripts in OPcache memory before any application code is executed will help an IoT in development, but will not improve performance.
5. Weak Maps
Based on the weak refs RFC that was released for PHP version 7.4, this version under 8 is going to be implemented.
Weak Maps contain references to objects, which does not prevent these objects from being collected in the garbage.
This will allow a better way of managing and processing its objects. All this will increase productivity by reducing the waiting time for a request for example.
Apart from JIT and other added features, many developments and improvements will take place with PHP 8 making it more reliable and efficient for developers.
Many of these changes were deprecated in previous PHP 7. * versions, so if over time you’ve been following this development, it shouldn’t be too difficult to upgrade to PHP 8.
At the moment, alpha versions are already released and accessible to the general public but not recommended in a production environment.
Final Words of Latest Version PHP 8
Finally, in this article, we have mainly covered the features and changes that are expected with this major release of the new version 8 of PHP.
The most anticipated feature is certainly the Just in Time compiler, but more is to come as the year goes on until its release.
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