[wp-hackers] PHP 5 any time soon?

Jared Bangs jaredbangs at gmail.com
Mon Jan 25 22:31:28 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 9:34 AM, Austin Matzko <austin at ilfilosofo.com> wrote:
> There's always (rightfully) talk of how end users will be affected by
> requiring PHP 5+, but I think it's imprudent to ignore PHP 4's
> wet-blanket effect on developers.  What kind of developers are
> attracted to a project if forced to write in a dead language,
> excepting those who have an existing commitment or financial
> incentive?

I appreciate that perspective, and agree that it could be a factor
affecting the number of people willing to submit core code to WP. That
being said, it's also fortunate that there is no restriction on doing
PHP5-only plugins, which is what I've been doing for quite some time.

I think the best way to "encourage" the PHP5 upgrade (for those of us
interested in seeing it happen) is to insist on only creating PHP5
compatible code in plugins and even themes. If there are enough
high-quality plugins and themes out there that only work on PHP5, that
will hopefully provide incentive for users to pursue an upgrade path
with their hosts. Which brings us to...

> Matt Mullenweg used to say that we'd increase the minimum requirement
> to PHP 5 once PHP 4 use fell below 10%.  I think we need to stick with
> that criterion to keep from stagnating.

While I fully understand that this is unlikely to change anytime soon
(and have no interest / energy to campaign for it), using this as a
criteria on its own seems like it could end up taking quite a while.

It would be interesting if we could see a graph of the PHP4 decline,
based on the stats being collected (since I assume that's what this
number is being based on). I suspect that it's possible that the trend
could plateau after a while (once everyone who is likely to put any
energy behind upgrading their platform has done so) and I could easily
see this happening at above the 10% mark, with a very slight gradual
decline from that point onwards.

Ultimately, while seeing this data would be interesting, I think it's
probably pointless to talk about it too much, and probably much more
effective to spend time doing things that will contribute to
encouraging people to adopt 5 as soon as possible.

For WP developers, I think the best way to do this is releasing
PHP5-only WP plugins / themes. Perhaps some of the more mischievous
hackers (on the list or elsewhere) should try to pump out as many
security exploits against PHP4 as possible, to provide a more
"attractive" / urgent motivation to get the heck off of it, since it
isn't being patched anymore. :-)

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