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thePHP.cc:
PHP breaks backwards compatibility
January 28, 2015 @ 10:41:22

In this new post on thePHP.cc blog Stefan Priebsch talks about some of the backwards compatibility breaks that will be coming with PHP's next major version, PHP7.

According to the PHP project's current time line, PHP 7 is scheduled to be released later this year. The version number 6 will be skipped for good reasons. As is expected of a new major release, there will be some breaks in backwards compatibility. Such breaks are always a double-edged sword: some have been eagerly awaiting the removal of legacy features, others expect that existing software keeps working without modifications. The PHP project is notorious for keeping some sins of the past dating back to PHP 3 in an effort to ensure backwards compatibility. Now, with the release of PHP 7, the decision has been made to remove some features that have been marked as "deprecated" in PHP 5.

He talks about how PHP will be "re-engineered" for this major release including a uniform variable syntax and some of the things this could break (like Magento 1). He also mentions the removal of the mysql (not mysqli) extension and a major issue - that PEAR has stopped working in recent versions of PHP7 (built from the current codebase) because of how it calls non-static methods statically.

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php7 break backwards compatibility deprecated

Link: http://thephp.cc/news/2015/01/php-breaks-backwards-compatibility

Tony Marston:
Please do not break our language
January 15, 2015 @ 09:40:25

Tony Marston has posted a plea to the core developers of the PHP language when it comes to some of the changes happening with constructors in classes: "please do not break our language."

This post is addressed to PHP's core developers who are proposing to break our beloved language yet again in the next major version of PHP (version 7) by removing functionality which has worked perfectly for years simply because it does not fit in with their ideas of how it should be done today. I am talking about PHP RFC: Remove PHP 4 Constructors (and this post on php.internals) which proposes that all code with PHP 4 style constructors be made invalid in favour of the "correct" method which was introduced in PHP 5. This is despite the fact that both types of constructor have lived quite happily side by side for over a decade and that large volumes of code, including PEAR libraries, were written in the PHP 4 style.

He suggests that this kind of change would require quite a bit of code to be changed, causing headaches for a large audience out there using older PHP code. He then gets into some of his opinions and thoughts about who "owns" PHP - is it the core development team working on the language itself, the community that uses the language (or a combination of both)? He proposes two definitions of "improvement" in respect to the needs of developers using the language and core developers. He suggests that the core developers are changing the language "just because they can" and that breaking backwards compatibility with something like this is a big mistake.

He then shares some of the comments from the php.internals mailing list on the subject of the constructor change, both for and against. He also points out a few other places where backwards compatibility was broken and the resulting changes that had to be made by developers. He suggests a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of approach

If there is a choice between a lazy or incompetent core developer doing only half a job and leaving the 240 million members of the greater PHP community to clear up his mess, then it should be obvious to anyone who has more than two brain cells to rub together that it is the core developer who needs to put in the extra effort so that the greater PHP community does not have to.
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language opinion backwards compatibility break constructor php4 php5

Link: http://www.tonymarston.net/php-mysql/please-do-not-break-our-language.html

NetTuts.com:
PHP 5.6 What's New
October 02, 2014 @ 10:58:59

On the NetTuts.com site there's a new article posted talking about some of the new stuff that comes bundled in PHP 5.6 (the first stable version of which was released at the end of August 2014).

It's been a long time coming, but we finally have a new version of PHP. With it comes a some nice, new features, improvements to existing features, as well as features that have been removed or marked as deprecated. Let's dive in and take a look at everything that's offered by the latest version.

There's several items on the list, broken up into various sections, each with brief explanations:

  • Backward Incompatible Changes (ex: json_decode, mcrypt)
  • New Features (including constant scalar expressions, argument unpacking, phpdbg)
  • Deprecated Features (call to static from non-static context, removal of HTTP_RAW_POST_DATA)

They also link to the list of all of the changed and new functions updated in the PHP 5.6.0 release and moving forward.

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php56 new feature deprecated backwards incompatible break

Link: http://code.tutsplus.com/articles/php-56-whats-new--cms-22101

Mattias Noback:
Backwards compatible bundle releases
September 29, 2014 @ 12:31:09

In his latest post Matthias Noback talks about a problem common to Symfony bundles (and, well, software in general) - dealing with backwards compatibility and breaks that could be introduced with new changes.

With a new bundle release you may want to rename services or parameters, make a service private, change some constructor arguments, change the structure of the bundle configuration, etc. Some of these changes may acually be backwards incompatible changes for the users of that bundle. Luckily, the Symfony DependenyInjection component and Config component both provide you with some options to prevent such backwards compatibility (BC) breaks.

He breaks the post up into a few different kinds of backwards compatibility breaks that could happen and code examples of each:

  • Renaming things
  • Changing visibility
  • Changing values

Each topic also includes methods for preventing issues with older users who maybe aren't using the new features. This includes things like sane default values for new settings, renaming services and creating new extensions for working with new properties.

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symfony bundle backwards compatibility changes prevent rename visibility values

Link: http://php-and-symfony.matthiasnoback.nl/2014/09/backwards-compatible-bundle-releases/

Derick Rethans:
On Backwards Compatibility and not Being Evil
August 22, 2014 @ 09:20:55

Derick Rethans has shared some of his thoughts on how to not be evil when it comes to making changes in languages like PHP. He suggests that any backwards compatibility break should be treated with the weight it deserves and not just thrust upon users.

This is a repost of an email I sent to PHP internals as a reply to: "And since you're targetting[sic] the next major release, BC isn't an issue." This sort of blanket statements that "Backwards Compatibility is not an issue" with a new major version is extremely unwarranted. Extreme care should be taken when deciding to break Backwards Compatibility. It should not be "oh we have a major new version so we can break all the things"

He talks about the two kinds of backwards compatibility breaks: obvious things where features are removed or changed in a major way and subtle changes in how the underlying code for PHP works ("subtle changes"). He points out that most of the frustrations from users comes from the second type, making for a slower adoption rate and maybe not even adopting at all.

Can I please urge people to not take Backwards Compatibility issues so lightly. Please think really careful when you suggest to break Backwards Compatibility, it should only be considered if there is a real and important reason to do so.
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evil backwards compatibility break major version opinion

Link: http://derickrethans.nl/bc-dont-be-evil.html

Reddit.com:
Just a warning, 5.5.13 introduces a backwards incomaptability
June 02, 2014 @ 11:56:16

In this recent post to Reddit.com, they point out a recent change in the core of PHP that could cause problems with backward compatibility: a change in the serialization handling to check for implementation of the Serializable interface.

Strings requiring unserialization of objects are now explicitly checked whether the object they contain implements the Serializable interface. This solves the situation where manipulated strings could be passed for objects using Serializable to disallow serialization. An object implementing Serializable will always start with "C:" in the serialized string, all other objects are represented with starting "O:". Objects implementing Serializable to disable serialization using zend_class_unserialize_deny and zend_class_serialize_deny, when instantiated from the serializer with a manipulated "O:" string at the start, will most likely be defectively initialized. This is now fixed at the appropriate place by checking for the presence of the serialize callback in the class entry.

The change corrects a bug that has been used, in certain cases, as a work-around to create objects without calling the constructor. The correct fix for it, if you're using it in your own applications, is to call ReflectionObject::newInstanceWithoutConstructor.

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backwards compatibility break serialize

Link: http://www.reddit.com/r/PHP/comments/26w42x/just_a_warning_5513_introduces_a_backwards/

Anthony Ferrara:
An Opinion On The Future Of PHP
March 10, 2014 @ 09:41:40

In his latest post Anthony Ferrara shares some of his personal opinions about the future of PHP and how some of the pieces in play now might fit in.

There's been a lot of buzz in the community lately around PHP and its future. The vast majority of this buzz has been distinctly positive, which is awesome to hear. There's been a lot of talk about PHP6 and what that might look like. There's been a lot of questions around HHVM and its role in the future of the language and community. Well, let me share with you some of my thoughts in this space...

He covers a few different topics including backwards compatibility, the suggestions of a complete engine rewrite and turning the SPL all OOP. He spends most of the post talking about HHVM (the HipHop VM), how it compares to "plain old PHP" and why it's not exactly "magic".

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opinion future language hhvm hack engine backwards compatibility

Link: http://blog.ircmaxell.com/2014/03/an-opinion-on-future-of-php.html

Till's Blog:
A case for PEAR and PHP4 (Or, why BC is important!)
September 23, 2009 @ 11:11:34

In this new post to his blog till argues his case for PEAR and why support for PHP4 is a good thing when it comes to making things "just work."

Every once in someone likes to argue that PEAR is all fugly PHP4 code and why you should not use it, and instead go and use another framework or component library. Most of those people also say that they looked at or used PEAR x years ago and then act all surprised when someone else disagrees.

He talks about some of the rules around the major/minor PEAR releases and backwards compatibility breaks which, thankfully, a lot of other projects seem to adhere to. He points out that some packages have been started for different PHP generations (Mail_Queue2 vs Mail_Queue) and a few reasons why the PHP4 EON doesn't automatically mean PEAR should follow suit.

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pear backwards compatibility php4


Cyberlot's Blog:
Another PHP BC break
November 21, 2005 @ 05:45:50

On cyberlot's blog today, he mentions some additional backwards compatibility bugs that PHP 5.1 and 4.4.1 are adding into the mix.

As of PHP 5.1 and in seems 4.4.1 are adding another BC break one that could break anyone using a object based database library within there custom session handler, and also make any registered shutdown function useless if it relys on objects, although the bugs focus on the session aspect of things.

This isn't something you can just "Document" away like they are trying to do.

Basically they are saying any user made or PHP made object is useless during the shutdown phase of PHP.

I could definitely see this issue causing some headaches for a lot of people out there. For more information on this issue, check out the bug report he refers to...

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backwards compatibility break 5.1 4.4.1 backwards compatibility break 5.1 4.4.1



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