GoPHP5 - Transition from PHP/4 to PHP/5

(July 6, 2007)

GoPHP5 has published a – so far rather short list – of PHP projects whose developers have agreed that “… effective February 5th, 2008, any new feature releases will have a minimum version requirement of at least PHP 5.2.0”. The list contains names like Drupal, Typo3, or phpMyAdmin. The goal of that campaign is to speed up the transition from PHP/4 to PHP/5.

The problem is that PHP/4 is still installed on many shared web hosts because a lot of PHP scripts still require PHP/4. Script developer on the other hand can’t drop support for PHP/4 because many users don’t have access to PHP/5 on their servers. A vicious circle that GoPHP5 is attempting to break.

But the ways and means to achieve the goal are questionable. Users and web hosts are to be forced to upgrade to PHP/5. Not really nice, is it.

The campaign will probably be joined by more open source and freeware projects. Those are the ones who can afford to lose users. The question is: Will there be commercial projects to join the list?

Update: Question answered. I just noticed that the campaign only targets Open Source projects.

It won’t be a lighthearted decision for them, though. Only few are in the position to dictate the server requirements to their users. And very few users are able or willing to meet those requirements. Commercial developers will not be able to drop PHP/4 support until the number of users has decreased to a level where the loss of that user group doesn’t hurt financially.

Instead of annoying their customers, developers of commercial PHP scripts will probably choose a more moderate route. Instead of abandoning backward compatibility, they will rather promote that their products are compatible to future versions. Most likely with big logos: “Suitable for PHP/5” or “PHP/5 Ready”.

Nevertheless, the time for PHP/5 has come. Three years of transition are more than enough. And even more so with the development of PHP/6 in progress.

And by the way. All GentleSource PHP scripts are “PHP/5 Ready”. :-)