Yes, PHP 5.3 is here. What does that mean?

Yesterday PHP 5.3 was released. It can be downloaded from the PHP site. This release has been the product of combined efforts from all areas of the community. While core PHP language developers may have the public profile of soccer goal-scorers, the project requires every position work together including release management, documentation and QA, packaging and building. And off the field other work such as mentoring students and the migration from the CVS source code control system is just as important in driving the PHP project forward. My thanks to all of you.

What is in PHP 5.3 for Oracle users? My regular blog readers will know that it includes the OCI8 1.3 code by default (PHP 5.2 users can get this version from http://pecl.php.net/package/oci8 Windows DLLs are at http://downloads.php.net/pierre/). They also know where to find the list of changes in the 1.3 branch. (The main features are connection pooling and increased availability).

And what is coming downstream for PHP? PHP 6 (with Unicode support) has a new breath of air due to the release manager now being able to devote more time. Whenever bugs are fixed in PHP, the PHP 6 branch is kept in sync. So, while there is a lot to do on key pieces, work is not starting from scratch.

There is some discussion about a PHP 5.4 release, and also whether PHP 5.4 should appear after PHP 6 so it can have further compatibility features to aid migration from 5.x to 6.x. (There are already a couple of forward compatibility features in PHP 5.2, such as the binary string prefix syntax).

There are two conflicting goals: having new features available soon (meaning in a 5.4 release) and keeping developers focused on PHP 6 so it has some cool features that users want and so its development does not languish. How these two desires will balance out remains to be seen. As always it will be contributor driven. So, if you are a PHP user, get involved.

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About

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I'm a Product Manager in Server Technologies, working on scripting languages and developer-access.
Email: christopher.jones@oracle.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ghrd
Links: OTN Node.js Developer Center
OTN PHP Developer Center
Book: Free PHP Oracle book

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