Innovations in the new PHP 8 main version

Karl Gorman
php 8 release 1

The PHP 8 release date is November 26, 2020. This last important update suggests many new functions and significant optimizations for software solutions compared to the previous versions. The 8th version of PHP focuses on the creation of new tasks. Named Arguments, Attributes, Constructor Property, and JIT are some of the new main features.

We will explore these new features and what they mean for both users and PHP programmers in this article.

Named Arguments

Named Arguments are order-independent and self-documented and allow to skip optional parameters. They also refer to parameters when calling a function. This function is already available in other programming languages.

Named arguments developers can only use to substitute the default values they want to change. This way, you no longer have to indicate all of the default values. Besides, Named Arguments combine with the positional arguments.

JIT: Just-In-Time Compilation

The abbreviation JIT decodes as “Just in Time”. As part of the performance improvement, PHP 8 performance includes two JIT compilation instruments: Tracing JIT and Function JIT. Typical application performance is similar to the previous PHP version, but efficiency also increases for CPU-intensive applications.

JIT compilation, also known as “dynamic translation,” is a perfect way to improve productivity. It consists of the computer code implementation that compiles directly during the program performance. It requires significantly fewer resources. The JIT compiler increases productivity by more than 45 percent.

Attributes

This new feature enables a PHP programmer to add structured metadata with the proper PHP syntax without using PHP annotated documents. Attributes apply to classes, functions, and interfaces, and so on. A similar concept already exists in other programming languages.

Union Types

Union types allow us to replace more information about types from PHP annotated documents into function signatures.
The usage of union types is very beneficial. The syntax is simplified and optimized, the risk that type of information is outdated is now low, and you can recognize errors more quickly. However, arbitrary union types are not currently supported.

Constructor Property Promotion

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As a result of an ongoing discussion about improving ergonomic objects in PHP, the Constructor Property Promotion RFC proposes a new and detailed syntax that simplifies property declaration and speeds up program creation. This suggestion only applies to the promoted parameters as parameters with public, private, or protected visibility characteristics.

PHP 8 Weak maps

PHP has a garbage collector that deletes the objects. It simplifies programming and increases productivity. This function also prevents the program from consuming unnecessary memory.

The weak map is a collection of data (objects). The garbage collector can delete them, and they appear only in complex applications. They make no matter for simple PHP programs.

Now it is possible to use references that do not prevent the garbage collector delete objects.

Trailing Commas in Parameter List

Trailing commas are commas that refer to lists of items in various contexts. PHP 7.2 introduced trailing commas in list syntax, PHP 7.3 introduced trailing commas in list syntax. PHP 8 now introduces trailing commas in parameter lists with functions, methods, and terminations.

Zero Safe Operator

The zero safe operators is a new syntax in PHP 8.0 that provides PHP with an optional chaining function. The operator? – zero-safe can help to reduce excessive isset () and ternary checks.

Type annotations in PHP 8 release

In PHP 8, correct type annotations exist for all internal functions and methods.

Conversion of dates and times

PHP supports many different types of dates and times. The PHP 8 performance innovation only affects dates of the types DateTime and DateTimeImmutable. It is now possible to convert a date of the DateTime type into the DateTimeImmutable one and vice versa.

A new classification for program warnings

So far, many errors reflect a warning or a message. It is now updated. To see a full list of the new PHP error messages, check out the documentation.

New PHP Features PHP 8 release adds several new features to the language:

  • str_contains
  • str_starts_with () and str_ends_with ()
  • get_debug_type

Additional RFCs

Here is a shortlist of other web development improvements that PHP 8 performance delivers:

  • Stringable Interface: This RFC introduces a Stringable interface that the classes appoint to implement the __to String () method. The main goal here is to use the string | union type Stringable.
  • New DOM Living Standard APIs in ext/dom: This RFC proposes implementing the current DOM Living Standard in the PHP DOM extension by introducing new interfaces and generally available properties.
  • Static return type: PHP 8 introduces the exploitation of static as a return type along with native and parent types.
  • Variable Syntax Optimizations: This RFC fixes some inconsistencies in PHP’s variable syntax.

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