PHP 7.4 Gets Foreign Function Interface
Written by Alex Armstrong   
Monday, 02 December 2019

The latest version of PHP has been released with improvements including typed properties, arrow functions, and a foreign function interface. 

PHP's migration from a simple scripting language designed to build web pages programatically to a very general server side web language means that this open-source runtime now serves eight out of ten websites using server-side code. 

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PHP 7.4.0 comes with numerous improvement, starting with typed properties meaning that class properties now support type declarations. Arrow function support has been added, providing a shorthand syntax for defining functions with implicit by-value scope binding. This is designed to make code using simple closures easier to read and understand.

Limited return type covariance and argument type contravariance support has been added, though full variance support is only available if autoloading is used. Support has also been added for unpacking inside arrays. Other improvements include the ability to separate numeric literals by using an underscore between digits; weak references so you can retain a reference to an object that does not prevent the object from being destroyed; and exceptions from __toString() are now permitted. Previously this resulted in a fatal error.

The performance of this version of PHP has been improved, partially due to support for Opcache preloading code. With an opcode cache, files are compiled once (on the first request that uses them), and are then stored in shared memory.  Their contents are then permanently available to all subsequent requests that will be served by that server. All the functions and classes defined in these files will be available to requests out of the box, exactly like internal entities (e.g. strlen() or Exception). This does mean the files can't be changed without a server restart.

PHP 7.4 is available for download from the PHP downloads page.    

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Last Updated ( Monday, 02 December 2019 )