PHP 8 is the latest major version of the widely-used open-source scripting language, released on November 26th 2020. It comes with a range of exciting new features and improvements, designed to improve the user experience and make it easier to create powerful web applications. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at what’s new in PHP 8 and how it can be of benefit to developers.
The most notable new feature of PHP 8 is the addition of Just-In-Time (JIT) compilation. With JIT, as the name implies, code is compiled just as it is needed rather than being pre-compiled before its execution. This can result in a significant improvement in speed and efficiency for applications, allowing them to run faster and smoother. With PHP 8, the JIT compiler is enabled by default, but it can also be disabled for compatibility reasons if needed.
PHP 8 also brings with it a host of other improvements and features, including:
• Union Types: This new feature allows developers to specify that a parameter or return value may be of one of several types, rather than a single type. This can be useful for ensuring compatibility with a wide variety of types, while still ensuring that the code is type-safe.
• Constructor Property Promotion: This feature allows developers to save time when creating classes by automatically promoting certain constructor parameters to class properties. This is a great way to reduce the amount of boilerplate code that needs to be written and make classes more concise.
• Null Coalescing Assignment Operator: This operator allows developers to assign a value to a variable only if the variable is currently null. This can be useful when dealing with optional values, as it enables developers to check for a null value and assign a default if needed.
• Strings: PHP 8 comes with a range of improvements to strings, such as the ability to compare strings based on their length, rather than their contents. This can be useful when sorting strings, or when checking for string equality.
• Weak Maps: Weak maps allow developers to store references to objects without preventing their garbage collection. This can be useful for ensuring that objects that are no longer needed by the application can be freed up for use by other parts of the system.
• HTTP/2 Server Push: This feature allows web servers to push additional resources to clients before they are requested. This can be useful for improving web page load times, as it allows clients to start downloading assets as soon as they connect to the server.
• Match Expressions: Match expressions allow developers to easily compare a value against a set of possible values and execute different code depending on the result. This can be useful for simplifying if/else statements and making code more readable.
• AST-based optimizations: The abstract syntax tree (AST) is an internal representation of a program’s code. PHP 8 includes a range of optimizations that make use of this tree, resulting in faster and more efficient code. This can be especially beneficial when dealing with large applications.
• Improved type safety: PHP 8 introduces a range of improvements to type safety, such as the ability to specify that a function can only be called with a specific type of argument. This can be useful for ensuring that code is robust and predictable.
• Improved error handling: PHP 8 introduces a range of improvements to error handling, such as the ability to throw exceptions when an error occurs. This can be useful for ensuring that errors are handled properly and that code is more robust and reliable.
• Deprecations: PHP 8 introduces a number of deprecations that are designed to help developers transition to newer and better ways of doing things. This includes the removal of a number of functions, and the deprecation of several global variables.
• Performance: One of the major differences between PHP 8 and PHP 7 is performance. With the release of PHP 8, the performance of the language has been greatly improved. PHP 8 is significantly faster than PHP 7, with the most notable improvement being a 30% speed increase on average. Additionally, the new JIT engine (Just-In-Time Compiler) helps to further improve the performance by providing an optimized execution path for certain code.
PHP 8 is a major upgrade from PHP 7
These are just some of the new features and changes in PHP 8. There are many more new features, deprecations, and improvements, and it’s worth taking some time to explore them in more detail. Overall, PHP 8 is a major upgrade from PHP 7 and introduces several new features that can make the language easier to use and more powerful. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced developer, these new features can help to make your development process faster and more efficient.
As you can see, PHP 8 brings with it a wide range of exciting new features and improvements. From JIT compilation for improved performance, to improved type safety and error handling, there are plenty of benefits to be gained from upgrading to the latest version of PHP. So if you’re looking to take your web applications to the next level, PHP 8 is definitely worth a look.