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Kinsta.com:
Real-World WordPress Benchmarks with PHP5.5 PHP5.6 PHP-NG and HHVM
July 30, 2014 @ 12:26:51

The Kinsta.com blog has a new post with the results of some benchmarking they've done around WordPress comparing PHP 5.5, PHP 5.6 (PHPNG) and HHVM in response time (well, time taken for the request).

If you remember we wrote an article a good couple of months ago when WordPress 3.9 came out that HHVM was fully supported beginning with that release, and we were all happy about it. The initial benchmark results showed HHVM to be far more superior than the Zend engine that's currently powering all PHP builds.

[...] Obviously you have to compromise based on your (or rather your sites') needs but is it worth it? How much of a performance gain can you expect by switching to HHVM? [...] Today I finally took the time to set up a test environment and do some tests to compare a couple of different builds with a fresh out of the box WordPress install and one that has a bunch of content added plus runs WooCommerce!

The testing was all done locally on virtual machines (using Vagrant setups) and two different kinds of test WordPress installations. They share the results in the post, showing the differences between the HHVM installations and the plain PHP ones. The results also show the differences between having the opcode cache on and off. Curious to see how it would perform outside of a local system, they also pushed the same configurations out to a DigitalOcean instance with some slightly different results.

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wordpress benchmark php55 php56 phpng hhvm compare results

Link: https://kinsta.com/blog/real-world-wordpress-benchmarks-with-php5-5-php5-6-php-ng-and-hhvm/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
PHP 5.6 End of Beta
June 09, 2014 @ 12:08:15

The SitePoint PHP blog has a new post from editor Bruno Skvorc looking at the final beta for PHP 5.6, the latest bugfix release for this upcoming version. He talks about some of the major changes, security upgrades and other fixes included in the release.

On June 5th 2014, the PHP group announced the fourth and final beta of the 5.6 version. This milestone ends the beta program and begins the RC program (currently planned for June 19th), which will from now on focus exclusively on making sure the version is stable enough for release. As is customary with a beta program, no new features were added since beta 1 - all the releases were bugfix and improvement patches only.

New features coming in PHP 5.6 include exponentiation via the "**" operator, the change of the default character set to UTF-8 and several security updates (based on releasely released vulnerabilities in underlying libraries PHP uses). There are a few backwards compatibility breaks that come with the new release as well as deprecated features and various other smaller updates.

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beta php56 changes features bugfix release

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/php-5-6-end-beta

Lorna Mitchell:
PHP 5.6 Benchmarks
May 19, 2014 @ 09:32:18

Lorna Mitchell has put together a set of benchmarks for PHP 5.6 comparing them to the three previous minor versions, PHP 5.5, 5.4 and 5.3 based around the same setup as her previous benchmarks of PHP 5.4.

A while ago I did some benchmarks on how different versions of PHP perform in comparison to one another. This isn't a performance measure in absolute terms, this was just benchmarking them all on the same laptop while it wasn't doing anything else, and averaging the time it took to run the benchmark script. Recently I ran it again for versions PHP 5.3 through PHP 5.6 and I thought I'd share my results.

There's a steady drop in execution time over the series of versions, with PHP 5.6 coming in the shortest. She also includes the actual numbers of the results in case you'd like to chart them out yourself.

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php56 benchmark previous version execution time

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/php-5-6-benchmarks

PHP.net:
PHP 5.6.0beta2 released
May 02, 2014 @ 12:17:35

The PHP development group has officially released the latest beta in in the PHP 5.6.x series - PHP 5.6.0beta2. This is a development release and should not be used in production.

The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.6.0beta2. As we entered the feature freeze with beta1, this release is almost exclusively a bugfix-only release. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs in the bug tracking system.

Among the new features added in this new beta are things like the watchpoint support for phpdbg and a new fetching mode for mysqlnd which uses less memory but implies more memory copy. For more information about the other changes included in this release, check out the evolving documentation or the full NEWS file. You can download this beta from the QA download page (or for the Windows users, here).

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beta release php56 language update

Link: http://php.net/index.php#id2014-05-02-1

Lorna Mitchell:
PHP 5.6 and the Splat Operator
March 17, 2014 @ 09:05:36

Lorna Mitchell has a new post to her site looking at a feature of the upcoming PHP 5.6 release, the splat operator (three ellipsis...).

We have a couple of new features coming in to PHP 5.6 with names that sound much less exciting than the features they actually represent: "variadic functions" sound positively academic, and "argument unpacking" isn't exactly catchy. However they both use a new operator in PHP which looks like an elipsis (three dots ...) and is referred to as either the splat operator or the scatter operator. I included them in a recent version of my "Upgrading PHP" talk so I thought I'd share the examples here too in case anyone is interested.

She includes an example of it being used in a variadic function, one that lets you define an optional number of parameters without having to resort to func_get_args. She also talks about "argument unpacking" or the passing in of an array of values with the splat to have it handled like a string. An example with the mail function is included.

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php56 splat operator variadic function argument unpacking

Link: http://www.lornajane.net/posts/2014/php-5-6-and-the-splat-operator

PHP.net:
PHP 5.6.0alpha2 released
February 14, 2014 @ 10:22:48

The second alpha (not for use in production) of the PHP 5.6.x series has been officially announced on the main PHP.net site today.

The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.6.0alpha2. This release adds new features and fixes bugs. All users of PHP are encouraged to test this version carefully, and report any bugs in the bug tracking system. [...] PHP 5.6.0alpha2 comes with a number of new features, including: peer certificates are now verified by default when connecting to SSL/TLS servers, an exponentiation operator has been added: **, and output encoding handling [that] has been simplified by using default_charset as the default character encoding.

If you're looking for more information about what's involved in migrating up to this version, check out the upgrade guide or for just the full list of change take a look at the NEWS file. You can download this alpha release from the PHP QA site (Windows binaries here).

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php56 alpha2 release migration guide news download language

Link: http://php.net/index.php#id2014-02-13-1

Pádraic Brady:
PHP 5.6 and SSL/TLS Getting Better But Will PHP Programmers Actually Use It?
January 31, 2014 @ 11:24:32

In his latest post Pádraic Brady looks at a new addition to PHP (well, to be included in the next release) related to the SSL/TLS handling it provides in streams. He's happy to report that things are improving. This commit integrated an RFC allowing for TLS perr verification in PHP streams.

The RFC reverses PHP's course and provides PHP streams with defaults that enable both peer verification and host verification. The patch implements the RFC and it lets PHP leverage the local system's own certificate stash (e.g. Debian's ca-certificates) where possible to avoid PHP having to distribute a bundle of its own and while also assisting in backwards compatibility. [...] Once we have a PHP streams/sockets system with a passable level of default security, the rest will be left to programmers on the ground to change their practices.

With this new functionality coming in PHP 5.6, he strongly encourages developers to change how they're currently doing things and embrace this new verification to keep their code safer.

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ssl tls php56 programmer peer verification rfc

Link: http://blog.astrumfutura.com/2014/01/php-5-6-and-ssltls-getting-better-but-will-php-programmers-actually-use-it/

SitePoint PHP Blog:
New Features in PHP 5.6
January 14, 2014 @ 12:56:39

On the SitePoint PHP blog Bruno Skvorc has posted a guide to what's new in PHP 5.6, the upcoming release of the language.

It's been a while since the release of PHP 5.4, and new versions have been coming out faster and faster ever since. When 5.5 hit and introduced some unexpectedly great features, the PHP community breathed a sigh of relief and regained hope of a more dedicated, structured and smart core development. Whether or not we'll actually get this remains to be seen, but the future does indeed look promising, especially if one looks at the PHP 5.6 changes made so far.

He goes through the list of things (so far) that will be in the upcoming release:

  • MIME types in the CLI web server
  • Internal Operator Overloading
  • Uploads of over 2GB are now accepted
  • POST data memory usage decreased
  • Improved syntax for variadic functions
  • Constant Scalar Expressions
  • PHPDBG bundled by default
  • Zip improved
  • Importing namespaced functions

Each item on the list comes with either some sample code to show its use or a brief explanation of the features it adds or updates.

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new feature upcoming language release php56

Link: http://www.sitepoint.com/new-features-php-5-6

PHPClasses.org:
Lately in PHP podcast episode 42 - New PHP 5.6 Developments
December 17, 2013 @ 12:02:40

The PHPClasses.org site has released the latest episode of their "Lately in PHP" podcast series with episode #42, "New PHP 5.6 Developments".

s the release of PHP 5.6 gets closer to happen in first semester of 2014, more new features are already being implemented including a new PHP debugger. The latest PHP 5.6 developments is one of the main topics discussed by Manuel Lemos and César Rodas in the episode 42 of the Lately in PHP podcast.

They go through some of the things that have been discussed to be included in PHP 5.6 including

  • the Expectations proposal
  • ** as Power Operator
  • Assigning Variables Automatically in the Class Constructor
  • PHPDbg, a New PHP Debugger

You can listen to this latest episode a few different ways - either through the in-page player, by grabbing the mp3 or you can watch the video of the live recording.

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latelyinphp podcast series php56 upcoming feature

Link: http://www.phpclasses.org/blog/post/222-New-PHP-56-Developments--Lately-in-PHP-podcast-episode-42.html

Christian Weiske:
PHP 5.6 Large file upload support
December 11, 2013 @ 11:09:47

Christian Weiske has posted information about a feature in the upcoming PHP 5.6 version of the language - large file upload support. This new feature allows files over 4GB to be uploaded correctly.

PHP version 5.6 brings support for file uploads larger than 2GiB. We can say "thank you" to Ralf Lang for the initial patch that fixes bug #44522 , which was open since 2008. During testing uploads of files with a size of 4 - 11GiB on my PHP-CGI setup, I noticed that files above 4GiB did not get uploaded correctly. Michael Wallner was quick to fix that bug, and now 5.6 has fully working support for big files.

PHP 5.6 is still in development and some other new features are slated to be added to it. You can find some of them listed in the RFC section of the PHP wiki.

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php56 large file upload bug patch

Link: http://cweiske.de/tagebuch/php-large-file-uploads.htm


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