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PHP 5.4 Hits RC1

phpFrom the 'Not Far Now..' files:

The first Release Candidate (RC 1) for PHP 5.4 is now out, marking the end of the feature development phase of the next generation of PHP.

"No new features will be included before the final version of PHP 5.4.0," the PHP 5.4 rc1 announcement states. "The release candidate phase is intended as a period of bug fixing prior to the stable release."

I've been tracking PHP 5.4 development for awhile and from early on it's held my interest for at least one critical reason: performance. In November of 2010, Andi Gutmans, CEO of Zend said that PHP 5.4 could lower PHP's memory footprint by as much as 35 percent.That's a really big deal that will have immediate impact on the millions of PHP users out there.

Additionally PHP 5.4 marks the end of Magic Quotes (don't let the door hit you the way out!)

In PHP 5.4, developers will also be able to turn the MB string on and off, so the multibyte support will be available without having to recompile PHP. According to Gutmans, that will provide a significant advantage to companies that want to have a common build. As opposed to PHP 5.3 which debuted in 2009, PHP 5.4 is more evolutionary and will also likely be easier for developers to adopt and benefit from.

"With PHP 5.3, if you want to take advantage of the namespace support, it essentially mandated a rewrite, or at least substantial changes," Zeev Suraski, CTO of Zend told InternetNews.com in an interview last month. "PHP 5.4 will be more evolutionary than PHP 5.3, so it won't mandate a rewrite of code."

It's been a long road for PHP 5.4, but now that it's at the release candidate stage, it's finally nearing general availability