7 things you can do with PHP 7

PHP 7 is here, but is the hype deserved? We’ve put together 7 things you can do with PHP 7 to show just how much of an upgrade it is.

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Go twice as fast

Compared to PHP 5.6, PHP 7 offers up to twice the speed and 50% improved memory consumption. In practice, that means 2x faster loading times for your website and the ability to serve up to 3x as many requests from even more users.

Push your apps harder

PHP 7 enhances the performance of your CMS and eCommerce apps, achieving 3x as many Magento transactions compared to 5.6 in Zend benchmarks. Zend also found that Drupal runs 72% faster, and with WordPress, CPU instructions per request are reduced by 75%.

Tighten up shonky code

By taking away a lot of hassle, PHP 7 can help make your code faster to write, easier to follow, more efficient and more secure. There are now more opportunities to prevent page-breaking errors and fewer places for bugs to hide. For example, the new null coalescing operator makes code easier to manage and more robust.

Upgrade your toolbox

What would a new version of PHP be without new features? PHP 7 delivers a whole range of brand new tools, including scalar type declarations and return type declarations. New anonymous classes also remove the need to define new classes for one-off use.

Treat legacy code with respect

The majority of existing code will work perfectly with PHP 7. However, it’s always worth checking that you don’t rely on any deprecated features or removed extensions, e.g. old style constructors from PHP 4 or the original MySQL API.

Migrate with confidence

Migrating to PHP 7 is simple, but there are a few basic steps you can take to ensure it goes smoothly. For instance, you should update your CMS to the latest version and test your site with PHP 7 before going live. You’ll also need a web hosting platform that supports PHP 7 – such as Cluster from Fasthosts.

What happened to number 6?

Good question. PHP 7 is the first major release since PHP 5 in 2004, with PHP 6 development abandoned in 2010. But don’t mourn PHP 6 too much, all the good stuff was backported into 5.3 and 5.4. And now, PHP 7 has arrived.

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