Just to clarify my feelings for PHP4

I think my earlier post has been misunderstood.  I am in no way advocating keeping support for PHP4 by the PHP team alive.  I voted +1 to kill support for it on the mailing list. I warned the Phorum users about it months ago.  I did the same for MySQL 4.1.

My main concern is with the tone of the GoPHP5 movement.  As I said in a comment on the previous post, I guess I never realized that a project like Drupal would be a slave to a particular PHP version.  Maybe that is what this is all about, finally freeing these projects from the bondage of legacy PHP versions. Because we don’t use OOP, we have had the luxury of coding for the current PHP versions and having the code work with a large range of PHP versions.  Phorum 5.1 has been in bug fix mode for months now too.  So, we have not had to worry about PHP changes in a while.  We don’t code for PHP4.  We code for PHP and whatever works works.  The minimum of 4.3.0 (now changed to fit the new definition of “requirements” that the community has adopted) on our home page means that it works, not that we code for that version.  I never considered ensuring compatibility with a 6 year old version of PHP.

If all that GoPHP5 means is  that we won’t pander to the PHP4 whiners, then sure sign us up.  I will change the front page right now as a matter of fact (done).  I have no interest in testing Phorum in PHP4.  If version 5.2 works in PHP4, I guess those lazy slackers get lucky.  If not, tough.  Does that qualify for “Make an announcement on your site that by February 5, 2008 you will accept PHP 5.2 features into your codebase and will no longer provide support for lesser PHP versions?”  Heck, I will accept 5.2 features now.  I am just not sure what PHP 5.2 feature I am supposed to be that excited for.  I guess input filter is ok.  Not sure what it does really.  All the stuff I have read make it sound like a really complicated way to escape HTML in GET and POST data.  Maybe I am reading the wrong stuff.  Does someone have a good example of filter that explains why I need to use it intead of urlencode and/or htmlspecialchars?

And what does  “stop supporting all lesser PHP versions by February 5th, 2008” mean?  If someone comes to our support forums and is using PHP 5.1 do I have to refuse him support?  That seems a little rude.  How about “stop ensuring compatibility with less PHP versions”.  That sounds better IMO.

Now, killing register_globals, magic_quotes, safe_mode and adding mysqlnd (I know, its going into 5.2 now) is something to get excited about.  Hmm, so maybe I should post a notice that I am accepting PHP6 code into Phorum!  Yeah, GoPHP6.org.  Darn!  The domain is taken by a squatter.  No one thought to grab it now?  It will be useful in about 2 years.  Maybe I should grab up 7 thru 10 now. =)

Death to PHP!  Long live PHP!

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3 Responses to Just to clarify my feelings for PHP4

  1. Regarding the filter extension, I think one of its strengths is having lots of people using a consistent API.

    In a way, its value is similar to that of the session extension. Implementing session management can be done without it, but the session extension improves consistency among PHP applications and helps developers avoid some (but not all) common mistakes. Hopefully the filter extension can also encourage good habits and help people avoid mistakes.

    Regarding your semantic points, I agree.

  2. mmalone says:

    Yea, I don’t think anyone really wants to alienate PHP4 users, or intentionally break PHP4 support. It’s more a matter of relieving developers of the burden of supporting PHP4. Like you said, the idea is to target a reasonably current version of PHP (say 5.2) and not worry about supporting old version that may or may not support all of the language features you use. You don’t have to get excited about any feature in particular, what’s exciting is that you no longer have to worry about supporting a 6 year old, out of date product.

    There are some very useful features of PHP5 that I frequently use and often cause problems when people try to use some of my software in PHP4. For example, a lot of the tools for working with XML (SimpleXML, and the DOM functions), along with utility functions like file_put_contents are new in PHP5. Not to mention all the OOP features which you may not use, but many developers (myself included) use regularly.

  3. […] Phorum first and then convert to MySQL5 (for now I see no problems with that). But Brian has announced that he doesn’t care about PHP4 and MySQL4 either as we are all developing on MySQL5 and […]

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