PHP 5.3 is days away; development merge restrictions are in place
By cj on Jun 25, 2009
PHP 5.3 is currently due to go production on Tuesday 30th June 2009. The release managers are working hard to get all the final pieces in place.
In the PHP core development community there has been a tiny bit of good-natured grumbling about a clamp down on code merges. The experienced developers actually recognize the need for this restriction.
Restricting what can be merged prior to release is important. Why? Because any code change has the potential for unforeseen destabilization or could introduce a whole new set of problems. Also any change distracts the RMs (and others) from review and testing of more critical areas. The voice of experience speaks.
Think about the worst case: merging a brand new feature. If this happens just before the production release, then there is no time for the feature to be evaluated, documented, tested . . . . New features typically aren't allowed to be added after the Alpha release of a project (PHP is actually a little lax about Alpha/Beta terminology here). As the production release date approaches, bugs must be increasingly more critical in order for fixes to be merged.
On the other hand, merge restrictions introduce one big problem: somehow the team needs to revisit changes merged by eager developers to the other PHP branches (PHP 5.2, PHP 6). Someone has to come back and merge them into a future 5.3 patchset. This is one of the reasons programs need good source code control reporting and tooling.
What can you do for PHP 5.3 today? Test it. Snapshots of PHP are at http://snaps.php.net/ .
Start by reviewing the UPGRADING guide. And give a yell if you come across a feature change that isn't documented or if something breaks. The PHP bug database is at http://bugs.php.net/.