[wp-docs] New page - Moving to PHP 5

Lorelle VanFossen lorellevan at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 02:35:07 UTC 2009

I took a long hard look at the Switching to PHP 5 article and I have some
concerns and advice. I'm making my points public so they will help others
following this mailing list and help us improve the documentation of

The article is well written and clear. This is a critically important
document as it addresses serious concerns many have had about this issue. It
tells the story of PHP 4 and 5 and WordPress, which is great, but
inappropriate for the WordPress Codex documentation. Let me tell you why.

The purpose of such a document is to match intent with content and title.
The title is about switching to PHP 5 in compliance with the move by
WordPress development. People need to know how to switch, and they want to
get to the how, not the why. They get the why. PHP 4 is finished. So how do
they make the move.

What are the questions that are most important to the user? Why would they
click or link to an article about moving to PHP 5? Here are mine right off
the top of my head.

   - How much work does this mean?
   - Will I have to redo my whole site over?
   - Will it break my WordPress Theme?
   - Will it break my WordPress Plugins?
   - What do I have to know to make the move?
   - Can I ask my web host to do it for me or do I have to do it myself?
   - What if my web host doesn't offer PHP 5?
   - What about all the code I use that isn't related to WordPress, like
   gadgets, widgets, Javascripts, and other custom PHP scripts? Will they work?
   - How much time will this take?
   - How much money will this cost?
   - If my host doesn't upgrade, does this mean my WordPress site will break
   in the future or be vulnerable to security exploits if I can't upgrade my

Look familiar? These are like the questions we ask ourselves every time
there is a development change in WordPress. We want the facts. We want the
step by step instructions. We want reassurance that it won't change things.
Most of all, we want reassurance, and the confidence, that it won't break

Another big concern is the Web Hosting Switch List. Like many similar issues
(and recent discussions), support for such a list requires a lot of work to
maintain. Think timeless documentation.

Asking others to share their "experiences" transitioning opens a door we
don't want to open. It really requires an expert with the passion to
constantly check web host positions and status on this issue. If you have
that, go for it, but realize it will be a page to babysit intimately.

Could you give this another go? I have very specific advice, but I'd like to
see you rip and tear this into a functional document that answers those
questions concisely, giving users confidence in the move, and in WordPress.

When I attend WordCamps and WordPress and blogging events, this topic comes
up all the time. People want answers, and I think we're in a prize place to
finally answer them. You're our rock star. Go for it. :D

lorelleonwordpress at gmail.com
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.automattic.com/pipermail/wp-docs/attachments/20090804/768e8c67/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the wp-docs mailing list