PHP 5.5 has been released in beta with new features including the integration of the Zend Optimizer+, support for non-scalar iterator keys, and an array_column function.
The inclusion of the Zend Optimizer+, by way of the Zend Opcache extension, is a relatively recent decision. As we reported in February, Zend CTO Zeev Suraski put forward a proposal on the PHP wiki for integrating the Zend Optimizer+ component into the Open Source PHP distribution.
His RFC (request for comments) said that Optimizer+ offers a consistently better performance than its main rival, APC, with improvements of between 5 and 20 per cent in terms of requests per second. Zend Optimizer+ improves the speed of PHP execution through opcode caching. It improves server performance by storing compiled PHP bytecode in shared memory, so when used a second time the code doesn’t have to be read from the disk or compiled.
New features added to PHP 5.5 include support for generators and a new password hashing API. This will enable developers to generate a secure salted password hash using Bcrypt in a single line of code:
A salt is not needed as it will be auto-generated by the API if not present and added as a random component to the password. Using the Bcrypt hash method makes long passwords difficult to crack as it is computationally intensive and requires a lot of memory.
Other improvements in this version include:
support for finally in try/catch blocks
support for list() in foreach
constant array/string dereferencing
support for using empty() on the result of function calls and other expressions
Libratus, an artificial intelligence developed at Carnegie Mellon, is currently taking on four of the world's best professional poker players in a 20-day match at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, [ ... ]