As a developer, your job is to follow the latest web development trends to ensure you employ the latest strategies and tactics to create a reliable and fast website. That being said, if you are following the news, you will know that the latest PHP version, PHP 8, was released last November. At this point, if you have not upgraded your WordPress website to PHP 8 yet, you might be wondering if you should.
You’ll want to make the most out of the new improvements, features, and functions the latest PHP version has to offer, but a little more knowledge and learning is necessary. In this article, we’ll share with you the significant changes that PHP 8 has presented to help you judge whether to update your website:
1. Enhanced Performance – PHP 8 for WordPress
One of the best changes that PHP 8 has introduced to its users is the boost in performance thanks to its JIT compiler. Short for Just-in-Time, the JIT compiler takes the source code written in PHP and converts it into something a computer can read easily. However, the difference between JIT and its old compiler is the fact that the JIT compiler only does this process when needed. This allows the website to perform much more efficiently and effectively.
Note that if you are using a WordPress website, the speed boost may not be too significant. This is because WordPress uses so much more than just PHP to run. However, a boost is a boost, and this is an improvement anyone will welcome.
2. Introduction of WeakMap – PHP 8 for WordPress
WeakMap, introduced by PHP 8, expands the support for weak references included in PHP 7.4 and makes it much more helpful. With WeakMaps, you can create objects from arbitrary values without worrying that the things treated as keys will not be garbage collected. In other words, any object that is used as the key will still be removed from the map.
If you’ve worked with weak references previously, you will know just how challenging or near impossible the feature was to use. As such, PHP 8 aims to rework the entire idea to make it more useful.
3. Brand-New PHP functions – PHP 8 for WordPress
PHP 8 introduces a whole host of new functions that make searching a lot simpler. For instance, “str_contains” is a new function that will help to search a needle within the given strings much quicker. Another example would be “get_debug_type”, a function that returns a specific type of variable. It is similar to “get_type”, but the newer iteration allows you also to fix class names.
There are plenty of other functions introduced by PHP 8. However, this means that you have access to new functions that are all intended to make PHP 8 much easier to use and the functions themselves more useful!
Everything from the introduction of named parameters down to implementing Attributes v2, PHP 8 promises a whole lot of exciting and valuable tools that will help you manage your website better and quicker. There still are a lot of plugins and WordPress code that needs to catch up with PHP 8 but we predict this happening very quickly over the next three to six months.
That said, note that some of these features aren’t backwards compatible, and the latest version of WordPress may not yet fully work with PHP 8. For this reason, we highly recommend creating a testing site to try out PHP 8. This way, you can check to make sure everything is working as intended before making the final move. We can do this for you with the service below.
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