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How to Upgrade PHP7 to PHP8: PHP-Supported Versions 

Author Image By ashu masih

Last Updated: April 18, 2024

9 minutes

For a long PHP has been directing with its annual release tradition whereas it has been releasing new versions by the end of each year and finally has reached to the latest one, PHP 8.3.

On November 23, the inventor of PHP (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor), Rasmus Lerdorf launched its latest version “PHP 8.3” which allows you to run your code so smoothly with innovative features. 

In this article, we will aware you of the new brings of PHP since its last release 8.2 including all new additions, deprecations, features, and so on. Therefore, put your eyeball to the content mentioned a little down and upgrade your knowledge as well as pursuance. 


Introducing PHP8

PHP8 is the most awaited version of PHP, an open-source server-side scripting language, which carries a lot of improvement in PHP programming. This latest branch of PHP language has brought forth many new features since its previous generation PHP7, PHP5, PHP4, and PHP3 has ended up now. 

Alongside of innovative features of PHP8 that offer a smoothen and finest phase to its developers, PHP 8 offers much more extra.  


Why PHP 7 is risky to operate now?

PHP works on EOL (End of Life) status, which indicates that each and every version of PHP  programming language will run only for two years since its initial release. After the completion PHP lifespan period, a life of 2 years, the running version of PHP will direct to vulnerability and will expose you to viruses, unpatched security, and risk of attack even in its 3rd year. 


What issues you may have to face after (EOL Status) End of Life period of PHP 7 version:

php Supported Versions

  • Security Vulnerabilities: 

ASAP the PHP 7 will reach its end of life, you will not be able to receive security patches and updates from the PHP development team. That means, if any new vulnerabilities occur in PHP 7 then that will not be fixed. 

Plus, leaving websites and applications running on PHP 7 will expose them to potential security threats. This simply means, Hackers that who actively search for vulnerabilities in outdated software versions can easily make your PHP versions unsupported and a prime target for exploitation.


  • Compliance Issues: 

As you will operate an unsupported version like PHP 7 then you may have to face compliance issues, especially if you’re in an industry with strict regulations. Along with using an unsupported PHP version may result in non-compliance and potential legal consequences.


  • Performance Optimization: 

In the running time of PHP 8, if you will still use PHP 7 then you may have to face performance enhancement issues in comparison with the the newest versions, such as lower execution times, high memory consumption, and more. By sticking with PHP 7 instead of upgrading to a supported version like PHP 8, you will miss out on performance optimizations that could enhance the speed and efficiency of your applications.

  • Compatibility Concerns: 

As PHP evolves, newer frameworks, libraries, and tools then it is highly possible that it may not be fully compatible with PHP 7 or may not offer support for it. This will limit developers’ ability to leverage the latest technologies and advancements in web development and will lead to outdated & less efficient codebases. Plus, it can be so challenging to integrate with modern APIs and services that require newer PHP versions.


  • Lack of Official Support: 

PHP doesn’t support outdated versions which means you will not get official support for PHP while using its previous or outdated versions. Additionally, have to struggle in finding resources, documentation, and community support too. As a consequence, you may face slow problem resolution, downtime incresement, and difficulty in maintaining and scaling PHP 7 applications effectively.


How to Migrate From PHP7 to PHP8?

From here you can check out the essential prerequisites that you need to have for migrating your code from PHP7 to the PHP8 version to experience more smoother working environment. 


Checklist for Essential Prerequisites

  • As Function arguments need to be strictly followed with required parameters first and then optional, for this, follow the mentioned function:

Not allowed:

function abc($x =false , $y)

Allowed:

function abc($y  , $x=false)

  • Basically, the count function strictly requires a valid array, hence If any other data type would get supplied for the count then it could be a fatal error. Therefore, Your code needs to be updated with the safe_count function written below:

function safe_count($variable){
  		  if (is_array($variable) || $variable instanceof Countable) {
      		  return count($variable);
   	 }
    return 0;
}
  • Datatype mixing is no longer allowed. Consequently, if the datatype gets changed during the process of code execution, it can lead to a fatal error.
  • Generally, the Associative array index needs to be in quotes:

For example, 

$x[abc] is not allowed, 

$x[‘abc’] is the correct way.


Warning

If you are operating PHP 8.3 version on Linux and on version 18.04 or below, then you must think about upgrading to your OS first.

Windows:  https://windows.php.net/download#php-8.3

Linux :  https://www.php.net/distributions/php-8.3.6.tar.gz


Note:

First, you need to test your PHP application thoroughly, and if all features seems well working then only think to move on the latest PHP version.


The Reason Behind Upgrading to PHP 8: Features of PHP 8.3

Upgrading to PHP 8 from the previous one you are still using can give you better performance and speed up your working level on your web-based application. Plus, will offer you security and prevent your application from being vulnerable on the web. These are just the basic benefits you will get by upgrading to PHP 8, to be aware of the advanced benefits, let’s jump a little down.

(JIT) Just-In-Time Compilation

PHP 8.3 introduced Just-In-Time Compilation (JIT) to improve code execution performance. In another word, using the PHP 8.3 version, you can run your code in more rapid way and can execute your function more smoothly. 

Typed Class Constants 

PHP 8.3 has come with noteworthy enhancements in the form of typed class constants. Within this addition, developers can now declare types for class constants, ensure type compatibility as well as can reduce unintended deviations from the initial declaration. This improvement extends to interface, trait, and enum constants as well.

When you will work with child classes then it will get derived from base declarations that require the use of typed class constants to preserve type consistency. Plus, include the avoidant of unintentional type changes that could cause compatibility problems which is only possible by using PHP 8.3.


<?php
interface ConstTest {
    const string VERSION = "PHP 8.3";
}

// Illegal:
interface ConstTest {
    const float VERSION = "PHP 8.3";
}
?>

json_validate() Function

Prior of using PHP 8.3, it need to determine the syntactic validity of a JSON-encoded string that involved the usage of json_decode() as well as to check out the errors.

However, within the new version of PHP 8.3, you can carry on the json_validate() function that simplifies the process by validating the JSON syntax without any need to construct associative arrays or objects, thereby conserving memory. This function does particularly supportable for validating JSON payloads before storage or delivery in a request-response.


[php]
if (json_validate($maybeJSON)) {
    // Do something with $maybeJSON
}
[/php]

Dynamic Class Constant and Enum Number Fetch Support

In PHP 8.3, you are more flexible in fetching out the class constants and enum members with variable names. This is because, in PHP 8.3, the inconvenient usage of the constant() function has been replaced with a more intuitive syntax and enhanced code readability. This enhancement makes dynamically accessing class constants and enum members easier.


<?php
$constantName = 'THE_CONST';
$memberName = 'FirstMember';

echo MyClass::{$constantName};
echo MyEnum::{$memberName}->value;
?>

gc_status() Now Returns Additional Information

The gc_status() function will support you in getting garbage collector statistics and receiving an upgrade in PHP 8.3. Along with this, you are allowed to have in-depth details about the running status, protection status, buffer size, and more. This additional function will assist developers in having a more comprehensive view of the garbage collector’s behavior


<?php
$gcStatus = gc_status();
echo "Running: " . $gcStatus['Running'];
echo "Memory usage before collection: ".$gcStatus['memoryUsageBefore'];
echo "Memory usage after collection: " .$gcStatus['memoryUsageAfter'];
?>

New \Random\Randomizer::getBytesFromString Method

PHP 8.3 offers an innovative method,  the getBytesFromString in the \Random\Randomizer class, that will enable the generation of random sequences based on a specified string of characters. Within these additional and innovative benefits, you can generate secure random bytes from a predefined set of characters that will help add flexibility to random data generation to specify the source material for random byte selection.


<code>
<?php
$rng = new Random\Randomizer();
$alpha = 'ABCDEFGHJKMNPQRSTVWXYZ';
$rng->getBytesFromString($alpha, 6); // "MBXGWL"
$rng->getBytesFromString($alpha, 6); // "LESPMG"
$rng->getBytesFromString($alpha, 6); // "NVHWXC"
?>
</code>

New \Random\Randomizer::getFloat() and nextFloat() Methods

The generation of random float values is more seamless now within the two latest methods of PHP 8.3. The first one is to getFloat() and the other one is nextFloat(). Using these methods, you can enhance the precision and control over the generation of random floating-point numbers. These methods provide developers with more options for obtaining random float values within specified ranges.


<?php
$rng = new Random\Randomizer();
// Generate a float value between 0 and 5
$random_float = $rng->getFloat(0, 5); // Example: 2.3937446906217
echo "Random Float: " . $random_float;
?>


Fallback Value Support for PHP INI Environment Variable Syntax

Operating the PHP8.3 version can specify fallback values for PHP INI settings when certain environment variables are absent then it will provide default values for greater configurability. As a consequence, configuration will be managed simply by allowing graceful handling of missing environment variables.


// Fallback to 'Foo' if SESSION_NAME is not set
session.name = "<?php echo isset($_ENV['SESSION_NAME']) ? $_ENV['SESSION_NAME'] : 'Foo'; ?>";

// Fallback to 'info@example.com' if MAIL_FROM_USER or MAIL_FROM_DOMAIN is not set
sendmail_from = "<?php echo (isset($_ENV['MAIL_FROM_USER']) ? $_ENV['MAIL_FROM_USER'] : 'info') . '@' . (isset($_ENV['MAIL_FROM_DOMAIN']) ? $_ENV['MAIL_FROM_DOMAIN'] : 'example.com'); ?>";

PHP CLI Lint Supports Linting Multiple Files at Once

One significant enhancement in PHP 8.3 is the capability to perform multiple file lintings with a single PHP CLI linting request. By streamlining the linting method, this improvement increases efficiency when examining many files for syntax issues. PHP 8.3 version makes it possible to lint many files at once, which enhances the developer experience.


<pre>
<code>
bash
php -l file1.php file2.php file3.php
</code>
</pre>


class_alias() Supports Aliasing Built-in PHP Classes

PHP 8.3 adds the ability to alias built-in PHP classes to the class_alias() method. That means, now class_alias() can be used to generate aliases for fundamental PHP classes and developers are more flexible for code organizing and naming standards. Furthermore, developers are allowed to write more clearer and expressive code.


<?php
class_alias(\DateTime::class, 'MyDateTime');
$customDateTime = new MyDateTime();
?>

New stream_context_set_options Function

A new function called stream_context_set_options has also been added in PHP 8.3 by releasing the current stream_context_set_option function. This means, that in PHP 8.3, you can expect the original function would be replaced with a new one that will assist in offering several alternatives. With this update, stream context manipulation is improved by offering a more flexible and future-proof API.

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