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Monday, August 4, 2008

New PHP Features Coming v5.3

<Skip to the run down>

  PHP(Wiki) is becoming a popular web development language with the recent boom of LAMP(Wiki) servers.

  In general, PHP is a script language with very similar syntax to C/C++. It uses type safe(Wiki) variables that support arrays and tuples(Wiki)(associative arrays), much like Perl and Python.

  PHP is typically embedded into HTML pages (with the .php extension) on a web server. When a PHP page is requested, the PHP content is parsed server-side and only the resulting HTML is replied to the requesting browser.

  PHP 5.3 alpha <was released>(Aug 1, 2008). Version 5.2.6 was recently released in May and was the first release in a couple years. Version 5.2.6 was mostly security and bug fixes. Version 5.3 sports the most new features and improvements seen in a long time. The expected date for a stable PHP 5.3 is mid October 2008.

A quick rundown of some new features in PHP 5.3 Alpha:

 Namespaces(Wiki) - This should allow much shorter class names and grouping flexibility.

 Late Static Binding(Example) - For some more robust class inheritance.

 __callStatic( -  __call is a built in class member function that allows you to define behavior for calls to non-existent member functions. __callStatic extends this functionality to static member calls.

 Lambda Functions( - Quick, throw away, inline functions.

 Closures( - Associate a list of the parent scope's variables to be imported into a function. This also make Lambda functions much more useful.

 __DIR__ - This constant will replace the commonly used dirname(__FILE__) statement to retrieve the current script's directory.

 Phar - A PHAR file is a compressed archive and can contain a complete PHP application. Similar to a Java's JAR files, a Phar file could allow large multi-file PHP scripts to be distributed and used as one, compressed, file.

 PHP goes Windows 2000 and up only

<PHP.NET 5.3 Alpha1 Release announcement>(Aug 1, 2008)

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