ifacethoughts

Adoption Of PHP 5

Ryan Boren discusses adoption of PHP 5 for WordPress. I see two factions here – the developers who like the goodies in PHP 5 and want to use them, and the application developers who want to make sure that it does not hurt the end users. Both of them are right in their own place, in my opinion.

It is quite true that popular applications, especially in the open source space, drive adoption of new technologies. These migrations or adoptions or ports are never one-time activity, they happen over time. They happen with collaboration between developers across projects, bridging libraries and supporting each other. If not, the new technology is as good as being obsolete, it does not get used.

I believe there are two reasons for the clash –

  • PHP 5 is not something that the end user will ever demand. A non-techie blogger will hardly bother about it. And PHP 5, by itself, does not carry any features, if you will, that directly impacts the end user. But I believe that the advancements will help the user, even if indirectly.
  • An allround adoption seems to be lacking. For PHP 5 to get into mainstream it has to be adopted by all the players – the developers, the community and the ISPs.

We have seen similar impacts in case of MySQL 5. In spite of beating the older version with advantages like stored procedures, views, triggers and information schema, MySQL 5 has still not been able to replace its older counterparts.

There has to be a combined effort from the community to adopt the new technologies. PHP 5 has some good features, especially in working with XML and enabling pull parsing. Maybe a transition phase can help, where these tools support both the older and newer versions. That is one of the reasons, I feel, Habari can be good. I think all CMSs, not only WordPress, should gradually start adopting the developments, it will directly or indirectly help the user.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Shannon Whitley said:

    I think 3 years is enough time to at least start planning for a move to PHP 5. I created a .NET (SOAP) interface to WordPress (http://www.voiceoftech.com/swhitley/?page_id=232). It was released as a plugin, but it would be nice to have it added to the WP core. Unfortunately, it depends on a PHP 5 extension. I’m not asking anyone to drop PHP 4 tomorrow, but I would like to see a plan in place so that people get serious about migrating.

  2. Matt said:

    No one had used MySQL for stored prodecures, views, and triggers. There are plenty of DBs that have done that for years. Everyone liked MySQL because it was crazy-fast, stable, and free, and to some extent they’ve damaged all of those. (Though I think MySQL does a far better job and will get better upgrade adoption than PHP, it’s an example of not really understanding what your audience cares about. They listened to the loudest, not the largest, part of their userbase.)

  3. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Shannon, yes I agree with you, a plan to migrate can help.

    Matt, MySQL definitely is better than a lot of other DBs because of its inherent qualities. However, would a MySQL with stored procedures be better than one without? Not that this will always apply, but benefits of the new version are unavailable if we avoid it.

    About PHP 5, it is possible that most of the benefits are targeted towards the developers and not the end users directly. However, I believe that better development does help the end user somewhere, maybe in varying degrees.

  4. The PHP Rift | iface thoughts said:

    […] feel that PHP 5 has betrayed them because of the backward compatibility issues. PHP 5 has failed in adoption, a lot of PHP developers have specifically avoided […]

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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