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PHP7 – Features unleashed for your next PHP website development project

03 Jul. 17
1.51 K VIEWS

The whole PHP community and the people linked PHP website development are all excited to welcome the biggest release for PHP in decades. PHP 7 surely adds more versatility to the existing language.

What makes PHP 7 so special?

Following are the improvements that makes PHP 7 more versatile compared to other PHP releases.

1. Speed Improvement

In order to increase performance and reduce memory, the PHP developers worked really hard to refract the PHP website development. And they did succeed.

PHP 7 is benchmarks for consistently showing speeds twice as fast as PHP 5.6 and many times even faster. Thought there results are not guaranteed for your project, benchmarks were tested against major projects, WordPress and Drupal, so these numbers don’t come from abstract performance in PHP website development. But trusting the statistics, 25% of the web being run on WordPress, this is great thing for everyone.

2. Type Declarations

Type declarations simply means specifying which type of variable is being set instead of allowing PHP to set this automatically. PHP is considered to be a weak typed language. In essence, this means that PHP website development does not require you to declare data types. Variables still have data types associated with them but you can do radical things like adding a string to an integer without resulting in an error. Type declarations can help you define what should occur so that you get the expected results. This can also make your code easier to read. We’ll look at some specific examples shortly.

Since PHP 5, you can use type hinting to specify the expected data type of an argument in a function declaration, but only in the declaration. When you call the function, PHP website development will check whether or not the arguments are of the specified type. If not, the run-time will raise an error and execution will be halted. Besides only being used in function declarations, we Scalar Type Hints With PHP 7 we now have added Scalar types.  Specifically: int, float, string, and bool.

By adding scalar type hints and enabling strict requirements, it is hoped that more correct and self-documenting PHP website development programs can be written. It also gives you more control over your code and can make the code easier to read.

  • Why?

The new Type Declarations can make code easier to read and forces things to be used in the way they were intended in PHP website development. Some people prefer to use unit testing to check for intended use instead. Having automated tests for your code is highly recommended, but you can use both unit tests and Type Declarations. Either way, PHP website development does not require you to declare types but it can definitely make code easier to read. You can see right at the start of a function, what is required and what is returned.

3. Error Handling

Handling fatal errors in the past has been next to impossible in PHP website development. A fatal error would not invoke the error handler and would simply stop your script. On a production server, this usually means showing a blank white screen, which confuses the user and causes your credibility to drop. It can also cause issues with resources that were never closed properly and are still in use or even locked.

In PHP 7, an exception will be thrown when a fatal and recoverable error occurs, rather than just stopping the script. Fatal errors still exist for certain conditions, such as running out of memory, and still behave as before by immediately stopping the script. An uncaught exception will also continue to be a fatal error in PHP website development in 7. This means if an exception thrown from an error that was fatal in PHP 5 goes uncaught, it will still be a fatal error in PHP 7.

4. New Operators

Following are the operators introduced in PHP 7

  • Spaceship Operator

PHP 7 also brings us some new operators. The first one we’re going to explore is the spaceship operator. With a name like that, who doesn’t want to use it? The spaceship operator, or Combined Comparison Operator, is a nice addition to the language, complementing the greater-than and less-than operators. The most common usage for this operator is in sorting.

Spaceship Operator: < = >

  • Null Coalesce Operator

Another new operator, the Null Coalesce Operator, is effectively the fabled if-set-or. It will return the left operand if it is not NULL, otherwise it will return the right. The important thing is that it will not raise a notice if the left operand is a non-existent variable.

5. Easy User-land CSPRNG

What is Easy User-land CSPRNG? User-land refers to an application space that is external to the kernel and is protected by privilege separation, API for an easy to use and reliable Cryptographically Secure Pseudo Random Number Generator in PHP website development.

Essentially secure way of generating random data. There are random number generators in PHP, rand() for instance, but none of the options in version 5 are very secure. In PHP 7, they put together a system interface to the operating system’s random number generator. Because we can now use the operating system’s random number generator, if that gets hacked we have bigger problems. It probably means your entire system is compromised and there is a flaw in the operating system itself.

Secure random numbers are especially useful when generating random passwords or password salt.

There are quite a few other features added in PHP 7, like unicode support for emoji and international characters. Another big area that could cause trouble, are features that have been removed. This should really only be an issue if you’re working with an older code base, because the features that have been removed are primarily ones that have been deprecated for a long time. If you’ve been putting off making these necessary changes, the huge advantage in speed with PHP 7 should help convince you, or management, to take the time needed to update your code.

Your ideas deserve to be served aptly. LetsNurture is the right place where you can see your ideas turn into reality. Email us your PHP website development requirements at info@letsnurture.com.

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