In his latest post Anthony Ferrara talks about PHP version requirements and how it's a bit of "chicken and egg" problem. If hosting providers are slow adopting even PHP 5.4, can we realistically bump up the minimum to PHP 5.4+ and potentially shun users not at that level yet?
Most people agreed with me [saying new software with a PHP requirement <= 5.2 is beyond irresponsible, it's negligent], saying that not targeting 5.4 or higher is bad. But some disagreed. Some disagreed strongly. So, I want to talk about that.
[...] Now, these are pretty interesting arguments. It boils down to making the logical argument that if hosts don't support 5.4+, then moving to require 5.4+ would leave the users who use those hosts abandoned. And some projects don't want to abandon users. It's a warm and logical idea; Open your arms to everyone, and include them all. Don't leave anyone behind. Really, it's a good argument. The problem is, is it based on a flawed premise...?
He suggests that it sounds somewhat like an appeal to emotion and that by enforcing a bump up like this would be "abandoning the users". He gets into some of the statistics he worked up regarding PHP versions, WordPress usage and how, because of these large numbers, hosting companies would make the move if only for business reasons. He talks about the "Go PHP5" initiative and the impact it made on versions supported across the board. He also looks at some of the reasons why keeping up with these versions is good for the hosting companies too: security, education of users and the new features that come with later versions.
So I put this to you, WordPress, CodeIgniter and every other CMS and Framework still supporting PHP 5.2 and 5.3 (and earlier versions): Step up and lead. Step up and be the change you want to see. Don't follow and react, lead and be proactive. After all, if we can move forward together, we can all benefit. But if we walk separate paths, we build walls and we all lose...